Wednesday, 16 April, 2014

Singer, by Valzhyna Mort

A yoke of honey in a glass of cooling milk.
Bats playful like butterflies on power lines.
In all your stories blood hangs like braids
 
of drying onions. Our village is so small,
it doesn’t have its own graveyard. Our souls,
are sapped in sour water of the bogs.
 
Men die in wars, their bodies their graves.
And women burn in fire. When midsummer
brings thunderstorms, we cannot sleep
 
because our house is a wooden sieve,
and crescent lightning cut off our hair.
The bogs ablaze, we sit all night in fear.
 
I always thought that your old trophy Singer
would hurry us away on its arched back.
I thought we’d hold on to its mane of threads
 
from loosened spools along Arabic spine,
same threads that were sown into my skirts,
my underthings, first bras. What smell
 
came from those threads you had so long,
sown in, pulled out, sown back into the clothes
that held together men who’d fall apart
 
undressed. Same threads between my legs!
I lash them, and the Singer gallops! 
 
And sky hangs only the lightning’s thread.
Like in that poem: on Berlin’s Jaegerstrasse
Arian whores are wearing shirts ripped off
sliced chests of our girls. My Singer-Horsey,
 
why everything has to be like that poem?

Tuesday, 8 April, 2014

Tikhii angel proletel

Russian. Trans. A quiet angel flew past

A common Russian expression when a group becomes aware of a long silence since the last person spoke.

Wednesday, 2 April, 2014

From Elements of Style, by Suzan Lori-Parks

the NEA hoopla
Overweight souther senators are easy targets. They too easily become focal points of all evil, allowing the arts community to WILLFULLY IGNORE our own bigotry, our own petty evils, our own intolerance which—evil senators or now—will be the death of the arts.

history
History is time that won’t quit.

dance
If you’re one who writes sitting down, once before you die try dancing around as you write. It’s the old world way of getting to the deep shit.

humor
A playwright should pack all five, all six—all 7 senses. The 6th helps you feel another’s pulse at great distances; the 7th sense is the sense of humor. Playwrights can come from the most difficult circumstances, but having a sense of humor is what happens when you “get out of the way.” It’s sorta Zen. Laughter is very powerful—it’s not a way of escaping anything but a way of arriving on scene. Think about laughter and what happens to your body—it’s almost the same thing that happens to you when you throw up.

action in the line
The action goes in the line of dialogue instead of always in a pissy set of parentheses. How the line should be delivered is contained in the line itself. Stage directions disappear. Dialogue becomes rich and strange. It’s an old idea. The Greeks did it and Shakespeare too, all over the place. Something to try at least once before you die.

sex
People have asked me why I don’t put any sex in my plays. “The Great Hole of History”—like, duh.

a (rest)
Take a little time, a pause, a breather, make a transition.

Thursday, 27 March, 2014
James Wyeth, Pumpkinhead (Self-Portrait), 1972

James Wyeth, Pumpkinhead (Self-Portrait), 1972

N. C. Wyeth, Nightfall, 1945
(via)

N. C. Wyeth, Nightfall, 1945

(via)

Andrew Wyeth, Winter, 1946

Winter 1946 is one of the artist’s most autobiographical works, painted immediately after the death of his father, the celebrated illustrator N. C. Wyeth. According to the artist, the hill became a symbolic portrait of his father, and the figure of the boy, Allan Lynch, running aimlessly “was me, at a loss—that hand drifting in the air was my free soul, groping.” Even without this story, the image is troubling: a dark, jagged form set awkwardly against an oceanic swell of brown. A skilled dramatist, Wyeth eliminates all distracting elements from the scene. The boy and his thoughts are visually isolated, his eyes averted. Further deepening the physical and emotional alienation of the boy, the artist has us look down upon the scene from an improbable height. The heightened clarity of the picture results from Wyeth’s use of the egg tempera medium: ground earth and mineral colors mixed with yolk and thinned with water. Wyeth once admitted he likes tempera for its “feeling of dry lostness.” —ncmoa.org

(via annearchal)

Andrew Wyeth, Winter, 1946

Winter 1946 is one of the artist’s most autobiographical works, painted immediately after the death of his father, the celebrated illustrator N. C. Wyeth. According to the artist, the hill became a symbolic portrait of his father, and the figure of the boy, Allan Lynch, running aimlessly “was me, at a loss—that hand drifting in the air was my free soul, groping.” Even without this story, the image is troubling: a dark, jagged form set awkwardly against an oceanic swell of brown. A skilled dramatist, Wyeth eliminates all distracting elements from the scene. The boy and his thoughts are visually isolated, his eyes averted. Further deepening the physical and emotional alienation of the boy, the artist has us look down upon the scene from an improbable height. The heightened clarity of the picture results from Wyeth’s use of the egg tempera medium: ground earth and mineral colors mixed with yolk and thinned with water. Wyeth once admitted he likes tempera for its “feeling of dry lostness.” —ncmoa.org

(via annearchal)

Wednesday, 26 March, 2014
Andrew Wyeth, Public Sale, 1943 (via New York Times)
"[I]nspired by an estate auction in Lancaster County, Pa., following the death of a farmer’s wife. It evokes the end of a family-run farm."

Andrew Wyeth, Public Sale, 1943 (via New York Times)

"[I]nspired by an estate auction in Lancaster County, Pa., following the death of a farmer’s wife. It evokes the end of a family-run farm."

Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World, 1948 (via MoMA)

Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World, 1948 (via MoMA)

Thursday, 20 March, 2014
This is what Tolstoy has to say in his novel Resurrection: “One of the most usual and widespread superstitions is that every person possesses only his own clear-cut qualities, that a man is good, evil, intelligent, stupid, energetic, apathetic, etc. People are not like that. We can say of a man that he is more good than bad, more often intelligent than stupid, more often energetic than apathetic, or vice versa: but it will be untrue if we say of one man that he is good or clever, and of another that he is bad or stupid. Yet we are always dividing people. And that is not right. People are like rivers: they all contain the same water everywhere, yet each river at times will be narrow, swift, broad, smooth-flowing, clear, cold, muddy, warm. So it is with people. Each man carries within himself the germs of all human qualities, and sometimes he manifests the one or the other and is often quite unlike himself, while still remaining the very same person.” — From “Types of Actors,” Stanislavski’s Legacy.
Thursday, 13 March, 2014

[S]ome objects do seem to retain the pulse of their making. This pulse intrigues me. There is a breath of hesitancy before touching or not touching, a strange moment. If I choose to pick up this small white cup with its single chip near the handle, will it figure in my life? A simple object, this cup that is more ivory than white, too small for morning coffee, not quite balanced, could become part of my life of handled things. It could fall away into the territory of personal story-telling; the sensuous, sinuous intertwining of things with memories. A favoured, favourite thing. Or I could put it away. Or I could pass it on.

How objects are handed on is all about story-telling. I am giving you this because I love you. Or because it was given to me. Because I bought it somewhere special. Because you will care for it. Because it will complicate your life. Because it will make someone else envious? There is no easy story in legacy. What is remembered and what is forgotten? There can be a chain of forgetting, the rubbing away of previous ownership as much as the slow accretion of stories.

— Edmund de Waal, The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance 
Wednesday, 12 February, 2014

The significance of plot without conflict

stilleatingoranges:

In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other. The standard three- and five-act plot structures—which permeate Western media—have conflict written into their very foundations. A “problem” appears near the end of the first act; and, in the second act, the conflict generated by this problem takes center stage. Conflict is used to create reader involvement even by many post-modern writers, whose work otherwise defies traditional structure.

The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.

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Saturday, 25 January, 2014
Fieldwork (at North Melbourne)

Fieldwork (at North Melbourne)

Wednesday, 1 January, 2014

New years’ morning, by Carl Adamshick

A low, quiet music is playing—
distorted trumpet, torn bass line,
white windows. My palms
are two speakers the size
of pool-hall coasters.
I lay them on the dark table
for you to repair.

Tuesday, 24 December, 2013
Detail - Chelsea Road (at Ransome)

Detail - Chelsea Road (at Ransome)

Wednesday, 13 November, 2013

Lily Allen - ‘Hard Out Here’

Inequality promises
That it’s here to stay
Always trust the injustice
'Cause it's not going away