Monday, February 17, 2014

Calico Thoughts for Your Monday

--It was a delightful week-end, in a way, for me, but not for my sick spouse.  It's amazing how much I can get done on writing projects when I'm staying put and when my spouse is sleeping a lot.

--My spouse spent Saturday watching a variety of Westerns.  I expect to write a poem soon with the words calico and bonnet in it.

--Is there a word more delightful than calico?  And I have loved many a calico fabric too.  And calico cats have their own charms.

--Interesting to have the Westerns on in the background, with at least one show revolving around making do when the doctor can't come.  And my spouse is sick, and even with our high tech medicine, there's nothing much more to do on a Saturday than to monitor him and hope that his fever doesn't spike.

--If his fever does spike, the cure is similar to that of 150 years ago:  keep the body submerged in cool water until the fever comes down.

--Of course, we have aspirin and penicillin now.  Aspirin was helpful this past week-end.  We didn't try the penicillin; it's not something we keep on hand in the family medicine cabinet.  And on Sunday, my spouse's temperature had returned to normal, and so, it appears we will not be needing antibiotics.

--And now, it's time to head back to the disorder of the office.  Actually, only one office is in disarray.  The one that the Corporate folks will see during their visit on Wed. and Thursday is in good shape.

--Do you need a writing or discussion topic?  Think about this.  On this day in 1913, the first comprehensive show of modern art opened in the U.S.  Here's what The Writer's Almanac site says about the origin of the show:  "At the time, American art was dominated by the ultra-conservative National Academy of Design, which had no interest in nonrepresentational or experimental work. In 1912, a group of artists had gotten together and formed the Association for American Painters and Sculptors. One of these artists was the painter Walt Kuhn, who wrote to his wife: 'My idea about the new society is this: a big broad liberal organization embracing every kind of art, even those which I do not like, one that will interest the public ... the thing must be started so that it can grow and be as big or bigger than the academy within two or three years.'"  And so, the group brought artists to their show, and these artists are household names today:  Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent Van Gogh--hard to believe these artists were once considered too radical to be part of an exhibition.

--What art/expression would be banned by a National Academy of Design today?  Would it be something we'd find on social media?

--I've been thinking about this essay by Hannah Stephenson.  She talks about artists and social media, but her guidelines are good for us all.  I particularly like this one: "Social media is a tool for communication (both sharing and listening). It is not a replacement for human connection. It is another way to speak to other humans."  And this one:  "The purpose is not to sell work, to shout like the loudest infomercials about ourselves. We would not behave this way in public; thus, it behooves us to be mindful about our presence online. Online = in public. The point is never about getting numbers, sales, or recognition."  Oh, who am I kidding?  I love the whole piece.

--I wonder what our students would say--what instructions would they add?

--I've also been thinking about this piece and this piece that alerted me of the move amongst some to read 14 books by 14 women in 2014.  How am I doing so far?   I've read these books by women:  Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, part of The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, Blowout by Denise Duhamel, Paula Huston's A Season of Mystery Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor, Flannery O'Connor's A Prayer Journal, which almost feels like it shouldn't count because it's so fragmentary and short.  And that's just the list of what I'm remembering.  Clearly, reading 14 books written by women will not be a problem, unless I lose consciousness for the better part of a year.

--Interesting that I once would have read primarily fiction, and now there's only one piece of fiction on the list.  It's not because I'm reading lots of books of fiction by males.  I'm just not reading much fiction these days.

--It's interesting that when I have a low-key week-end at home, I write.  When I have a low-key week-end away, I read.  I only recently started using my laptop.  I wonder if that will change as I get in the habit of taking my laptop everywhere.

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