Elephants Can Remember was cited in a study done in 2009 using computer science to compare Christie’s earlier works to her later ones. The sharp drops in size of vocabulary and the increases in repeated phrases and indefinite nouns suggested that Christie may have been suffering from some form of late-onset dementia, perhaps Alzheimer’s disease. Source: Elephants Can Remember - Wikipedia
Ostentatio genitalium (the display of the genitals) refers to disparate traditions in Renaissance visual culture of attributing formal, thematic, and theological significance to the penis of Jesus. That these images seem to have been created in good faith, with pious intentions, mystifies art historians, and many refuse to recognize the category as noteworthy or distinct from the nudity of angels and putti. Yet, as examples accrue, the conspicuous attention lent to Christ’s phallus cannot escape even the most disinterested gaze. “It is no exaggeration to say that this has probably been the most taboo topic in Christian thought for two thousand years”, writes Stephen Sapp. In contrast to classical sculptural conventions, which — with exceptions like certain herma and statues of satyrs — often showcase male genitalia in a state of flaccid modesty (akin to Michelangelo’s Risen Christ), these Renaissance images shock us because they are so frequently ithyphallic: Christ has risen, but not in the way we have come to expect.
Source: Ostentatio Genitalium in Renaissance Art – The Public Domain Review
Is there a German word for being surrounded by stacks of once-feted, now forgotten novels piled in a deeply haunted basement wondering, “What if this is where my book ends up?”
Three years of German in high school didn’t offer an ample enough vocabulary. Thankfully, English has a word for this: sadness.
Source: What Working at a Used Bookstore Taught Me About Literary Rejection ‹ Literary Hub
At a Tom Stoppard Q&A session at Duke University, a professor noted that Stoppard has said he can’t resist “fiddling” with a play when it’s being revived or restaged. The prof asked what constitutes “fiddling” and how much of it did he do?
Stoppard replied, “How much fiddling I do depends on how much of Rome is burning at the time.”
-from rescued notes made in the 1990s
“It’s fantastically exciting to discover something that’s been lost all this time, but I do think it is also worth simultaneously holding the thought that actually, the only reason these fragments have survived is because at some point, someone thought the manuscripts in which they appeared were not valuable as anything other than waste. There’s a sort of lovely tension in that, I think.”
Source: Fragment of lost 12th-century epic poem found in another book’s binding | Books | The Guardian
Note: One of the interesting curiosities of history is that most paper has survived by accident. And for all the benefits that digitizing old manuscripts has brought us, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned hands-on examination of the artifact.
Ostentatio genitalium (the display of the genitals) refers to disparate traditions in Renaissance visual culture of attributing formal, thematic, and theological significance to the penis of Jesus. That these images seem to have been created in good faith, with pious intentions, mystifies art historians, and many refuse to recognize the category as noteworthy or distinct from the nudity of angels and putti. Yet, as examples accrue, the conspicuous attention lent to Christ’s phallus cannot escape even the most disinterested gaze.
Source: Ostentatio Genitalium in Renaissance Art – The Public Domain Review
Today’s Pome was too good not to share:
Your dress waving in the wind.
is the only flag I love.
trans. Idra Novey and Ahmad Nadalizadeh (2020)
We are all outcasts; that is what drives advertising. All hoping to become swans, not knowing that we already are.
My heart was broken recently and I keep the pieces on the back step in a bucket. A heart can mend but unlike the liver it cannot regenerate. A heart mends but the break line is always visible. Humans are not axolotels; axolotels grow new limbs. A broken heart will mend in time, but one of the contradictions of being human is that we have so little time for the mending we must do. It takes years to know anything, years to achieve anything, years to learn how to love, years to learn how to let love go when it has worn out, years to find that loneliness is the name for the intense secret you can’t share. Years to share what you can share. Years to be hurt. Years to heal.
In downsizing my paper files, I’ve run across pages I’ve saved from various writing classes I’ve taken over the years.
Liz and I took a class at the late, lamented Duke Continuing Education program called “A Passel of Vignettes,” taught by Sharlene Baker, a wonderful writer and teacher.
In the class happened to be a distant cousin of mine, Tim Brown. He wrote a vignette titled “Everything Quiet Like a Church,” about a conversation on a city bus between a young man and an 80+ year old woman. At the end of the scene, he asks if her husband is still with her.
Here’s the last paragraph:
“I’m alone mostly,” she replied. “My husband passed on nine years ago.” She raised her head a little and looked out the window as we rode through the tree-lined street, houses with big yards. The bus was practically empty by now and I felt I was drawn inside her for a moment. All the distractions disappeared and I experienced her silent center. She smiled a grateful smile, and said, “These people we love, who make our lives what they are – they come live with us, love us, change our very chemistry. And they cannot stay.”
From an old notebook I found, from a News & Observer article on a portrait that had slipped out of the NC Museum of Art’s hands and was returned after 30 years.
“No work of art is ever what it seems, at least at first glance,” said John Coffey, the museum’s deputy art director. “All good pictures are haunted.”
I understand that it may not be considered good form to suggest that class issues are as important as issues of race, gender or sexuality, despite the fact that from my own perspective they seem perhaps even more fundamental and crucially relevant. After all, while in the West after many years of arduous struggle we are now allowed to elect women, non-white people and even, surely at least in theory, people of openly alternative sexualities, I am relatively certain that we will never be allowed to elect a man or woman of any race or persuasion who is poor.
“Hell is where time has stopped”
She opened her eyes. She was on her knees in a sea of weeds: in love with every drop and twig of the universe. Born again, probably not for the last time.
From the novel Cobalt Blue by Peggy Payne
A passage from the actor Terence Stamp’s memoir, Rare Stamps. There are the usual ups and downs of an actor’s life – from being celebrated when he first appeared onscreen, he was broke by 1984 – funny backstage moments, and lots of soul-searching as he travels to India trying to find the answer “out there.” The answers he finds seem to be the answers that are always there.
What can I tell you that I haven’t already told you? Only the essence of what artists finer than myself shared with me.
Engage in what life presents. It has its own reasons. Maybe it isn’t what you’ve hoped for, but hope is like honey. Don’t indulge in it. Just eat it when it’s on your spoon.
Be present and notice when you’re not. This being present and knowing when you’re present usually has its roots in a heightened state of work. Allow it to flow over into your life—anytime. It is the cog that only appears to turn; yet its radiant presence is the foundation for all the atoms in what we call our body.
Aim high; life will support you: It is resonating in your own heart. Have faith in it; be courageous.
Disregard your doubtful thoughts. As William Shakespeare wrote, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” Let doubts pass like clouds in the sky.
The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals
Dorothy Wordsworth and Pamela Woof
&c—The old woman was very happy to see us & we were so in the pleasure we gave. She was an affecting picture of Patient disappointment suffering under no particular affliction.
The Relationship Handbook by George Pransky
Emotions are never a statement about the world around us. They are always a statement about our momentary perspective on life. Emotions are a quality-control device that measures the quality of our thinking. They tell us whether or not we are viewing life dispassionately—and how sound our judgment is. When we experience black emotions like anger and despair, we know that we are taking things too personally and have lost touch with the big picture. When our feelings are positive and light we know we are viewing life with more wisdom and perspective. (Location 883)
The Underground Guide to Success
The Theory of Action as defined by me states that if something is moving, you are getting closer to your goals. This means your mouth is moving while you call prospective employers or clients, your feet are moving as you walk to an appointment you set up, your eyes are moving as you read a book to improve your skills, your fingers are moving as they type up a business plan you will present to investors to attract new capital to a business, your feet are moving as you exercise to lose weight. The corollary to The Theory of Action is equally as important. If something isn’t moving, you probably are not getting closer to your goals. (Location 3,398)
The Arnold Bennett Calendar by Arnold Bennett
A talent never persuades or encourages the owner of it; it drives him with a whip. (Location 1,080)
An Ignorant Highbrow via openlettersmonthly.com
So is that what architectural sophistication means – knowing what buildings you’re supposed to like and not like, according to people who know a lot more about the subject than you ever will? I hope not. Architecture merits close study, even if amateurs like me sometimes get it wrong and miss the finer points, for the reasons that all culture merits close study: to take nothing for granted, to resist complacency, to notice things, to be more awake, to be more alive. Close study of skateboarding may well provide the same advantages; I really couldn’t say. Maybe what matters as much as the things we love is the quality of attention we bring to the things we love.
How To Write The Great American Novel by Jim Behrle
And the only thing that’s interesting about most writers is just the tap tap tap of keys. Otherwise they’re just as boring as the rest of us.