Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Please, February, a little rain before you go

(Disclaimer:  The purpose of today's post is to share the art of Tomoharu Kairaku and try to coax the rain back to Los Angeles.  Oh, to have that power.)

My closet is a museum.  The only umbrella we own, an ancient, pop-open compact contraption resides somewhere beneath or beside a navy blue bathing suit, the very model of defeated elastic,  overlooked in the recent purge, and a prehistoric flat-bed scanner bigger than a couch cushion.  Rain is forecast for Southern California, beginning today and perhaps lasting, on and off, through Sunday.  They are preparing the lifeboats.  I believe it is foolish to be too hopeful.  We stand in costly, dangerous drought. 

I hope, if the much-touted precipitation arrives in any quantity, that I get to spend some of the time in bed, like Tomoharu Kairaku's cheek-to-cheek companions below, listening to what I think of as February sounds.  Living on the second floor, if the weather is more showery, the sound is tire whoosh on the street.  Anything heavier splashes on the walkway and drips from shamelessly patched gutters, plinks against the vent above the stove.
I love rain and I love February, month of my birthday, month of elementary school classroom fun with Presidential silhouettes and Valentine exchanges, month of recess spent indoors playing Steal the Bacon, month of taking myself out on a wet holiday from work to shop for heart stickers and patterned ribbon, never too old to make my own cards, my own envelopes.  The February of my memory is brimming with rain - for the bus ride downtown to shop with birthday money, for grown-up birthday dinners reached via glistening freeways and puddled roads.  I am counting on February, miniature month, to set us on the path to restoration.

Think good thoughts for us, for farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and all agricultural areas, for ski resorts and lakes in which boat docks and water are dozens of yards apart, for firefighters and native creatures whose quests for food and water have them roaming back yards and city streets.
Think us a little bit of winter, our version of it, thank you, not the likes of which other parts of the country have endured, if you don't mind.  Sunny days will return soon enough.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Repost: Because it is so good, it's back. My words, later.

Monday, February 21, 2011

From hard-boiled fiction, this...

"In Love With Raymond Chandler" by Margaret Atwood (poetry reading)

I claim Philip Marlowe as a fictional crush and his Hollywood world of the thirties and forties as part of my imaginary biography. Margaret Atwood's poem builds a wing, or two, onto what I thought I saw in Raymond Chandler. I'm just going to sit over here and be delirious.


Claire Beynon said...
Sitting and delirious with you, Marylinn. xo
Marylinn Kelly said...
Claire - I'm glad for the company, thank you. xo
Laoch of Chicago said...
I liked Raymond Chandler but always thought that Dashiell Hammett was a better writer.
Antares Cryptos said...
Thank you for sharing this. :)

I need to go and hug some furniture.
Vespersparrow said...
Marylinn, where do you find these delightful things? A wonderful piece of Atwood. Sigh. Quite wonderful. xo
Marylinn Kelly said...
Laoch - Now I have to revisit them both to see what I've overlooked.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Antares Cryptos - You are welcome. Truly, what is more gladdening than being shown what ELSE is to be found in favorite works?
Marylinn Kelly said...
Melissa - It was pure chance, a sign for me that this was a day of good aspect. It has me sighing as well.
Kass said...
I love this on so many levels. From the opening Edward Hopper, through the enthusiastic enchantment with furniture to the seductive Vettriano pose, this Tom Bodlam does a great job.
Kass said...
I meant Tom O'Bedlam of the Spoken Verse channel on YouTube. Quite interesting, in the light of what Melissa has been posting.
Robert the Skeptic said...
Wow, that was... erotic.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Kass - Thank you for letting me know more about this...I knew the Hopper but not the ending art, nor who was doing the reading. I found the piece by chance among other things. Now I will look further into the Spoken Verse channel. Tom O'Bedlam,hmm... yes, in light of Melissa's work.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Robert - Will furniture ever seem the same again?
Donna B said...
Holy Smokin' innuendos!!! Consider me delirious with you and Claire...

As to Laoch's comment about Dashel Hammett, wasn't he living with Lillian Hellman? I remember their story in the movie, Julia.

I really enjoyed this. It was delicious. I am going to listen to it again, only this time, with my eyes closed!
Marylinn Kelly said...
Donna - I'm so glad you enjoyed it. One of the many things I wish I'd written...aren't we glad someone did so we can be delirious over it. (fans self)
Radish King said...
Marylinn, this is absolutely wonderful. I'm sorry this is the first chance I've had to listen to it (busy week.) Erotic and funny and rich with description. I longed for more images and less text since my brain was reading the text ahead of the voice but nonetheless what a terrific piece.

I agree with you about Hollywood of the 30s and 40s a time that needs more scrutiny more (research?) that needs more light shed on it. Such a fierce and weird almost baroque era.

ps. Have you read the book Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates? I bet you'd love it. It's by Joyce Carol Oates. I guess you could call it an historical novel about Marilyn Monroe but it is such a great period piece about Hollywood and the big studios.
Jayne said...
Can't blame you one bit!
Marylinn, you have great thing going on over here. Glad I stumbled in. ;)
Radish King said...
ps. Sorry for repeating myself repeating myself in my post. Too early for thinking much less typing!
Marylinn Kelly said...
Rebecca - Happy that you got to hear/see it...all the unknowns, just waiting to delight us...I had no idea. I have not read BLONDE and will look into that, too.

In the 50s an earlier Hollywood still existed and we seemed to drive over there a lot. Reading Chandler and immersion in my aunt's old Photoplay magazines hooked me for life. xo
Marylinn Kelly said...
Jayne - Hello, welcome. I'm so glad you stumbled in. You picked a choice day. The only credit I can take is happening upon the clip.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday: Nourish Your Dreams Day

When I am not in swoon-induced trances brought on by letter forms or illustrators who use copious amounts of red or simply leave me awestruck for so many reasons, I dizzy myself with thoughts of and attempts at creating pattern.  A generously educational blog for such matters is Print and Pattern.  They are also the creators of three books bearing the name, introduced here with voluptuous illustrations.

Any of us who have carved stamps have experienced the pleasure of repeated patterns.  Looking at samples of professionally-produced objects with striking surface designs can send (some of) us diving under the bed for that box of inky rubber images.
Top two photos, Print and Pattern.  Lower two, mine.
A Kaleidacolor ink pad makes us instantly more decorative.

I think the message today, for me and for anyone else in whom these, or other creative themes resonate, is do not give up on your dreams.  Our art destiny may circle us like a shy suitor of junior high school vintage, beginning its approach almost out of sight, gradually spiraling in closer until we are face to face and somebody has to say something.   When asked if we would like to dance, the word YES makes a lovely answer.  There is everything to win, really nothing to lose.  So many choice and, I hope with all my heart, time to explore them all.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Matters, occupational and other, in Billington's Cove

"Do you perceive you live your life through love or fear? They are very different manifestations. My favorite quote is by the English novelist Iris Murdoch. She said, “Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real.” I like the idea that all that love is, is acknowledging another’s reality."
Milton Glaser in How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
via Brain Pickings, Literary Jukebox.
James advised The Reading Man that until his foot was completely healed, he hoped TRM would be able to fill in doing small, odd jobs around The Cove.  It had somehow become one of the services offered by the shop, though the community was filled with handy persons who could fix anything, everything.  "Use my toolbox," James offered.  "If it can't be fixed with what's in there, I suggest they call a specialist."  Robert thanked him and said, if there were any house calls to be made that day, he would need to borrow the tools.  Otherwise, he could bring what he'd brought with him on his open-ended coastal holiday.  Robert had found over the years that rental cottages often benefited from tightened hinges, unstuck window latches and caulked shower tiles.  No rental agent had ever complained.

On the counter near the register, James offered a limited array of snacks - boxed candies of the non-melting kind, packets of cheese and crackers, bags of pretzels and chips, Slim Jims and beef jerky, that was about it.  Customers often grabbed an assortment to take on board.  Robert thought something freshly baked would have more appeal.  As he wanted to tell Gloria about his present occupation, while he was visiting he could suggest the possibility.

He worked about three hours that first day, never much of a lull between transactions, and gave silent thanks for his daily walks.  Had it not been for them, he suspected he would have been the worse for wear by the times James' son arrived to help out.

With the hope of savory lunch items yet uneaten, The Reading Man arrived at Gloria's front door and saw his favorite table was vacant.  Fiona peeked around from the kitchen and came out immediately.  "Not your usual time of day," she said.  "I know there's mushroom quiche."  His reply was, "Whatever you have.  I've become a working man again."

Gloria delivered the plate with green salad on the side, a cup of tea and eyebrows raised in question.   "Helping at the hardware store," he said as she waved him to go ahead, start eating.  "Saw the sign James put out and figured I could make myself useful.  So far, so good."   Between bites, he said in as off-hand a way as he could muster, that the snack department would benefit mightily from fresh baked goods and did she think that would be possible, packaged, perhaps, in cellophane bags, just a few to start.  He'd buy any leftovers and have them for dinner, he promised, not that there would be leftovers.  "You really are determined to eat your way into a pair of those fisherman's pants, aren't you?"  "It has become my goal," he told her.

Putting a hand on his shoulder, she told him, "You may be the kindest growing boy I've ever known."  Robert placed his hand over hers and said, "Thank you.  I suspect I am the luckiest."

Creeping unease in French television

Based on the recommendation of my son's friend who has never led us in anything but the right direction, we have now seen two episodes of the eight-episode first season of the French series LES REVENANTS, known in English as THE RETURNED.  In it, some of the dead return.  That is all we know, for now.  A review here may give a tiny bit away.  It is enough to know that it is unrestrained praise, which is how I would review it, based on two hours.

It is a treat to see actors whose faces are not familiar, to enjoy spoken French while subdividing the brain to read the subtitles.  Of the actors, Yara Pilartz who plays Camille, has a look, a face, from a painting, that timeless, expressive beauty.
My son called the program "like Stephen King at his best" from the very beginning.  There is much reading to be found about the making of the show, based on a movie, but for now, the less I know the better.   Its atmosphere reminds me of another series we liked, TOP OF THE LAKE.   No way to tell what is really going on.  American television is nearly ready to debut its remake, about which I am not hopeful and will not watch.  I will never understand the why of remaking anything that was done exquisitely the first time.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Letter lust

Oh, our passions, our obsessions, enthusiasms. They are not voices that shriek or whisper for no reason. They call us to ourselves.  Hand-lettering as a form of expression is hissing at me in its outdoor voice.  It is the match no dating service could top - words and drawing.  And, of course, pens or pencils.  Not really a couple, more like a small tribe of perfect things brought together.  Love objects and the wild happiness of being their playmate.
Hand-lettered art by Lisa Congdon, from her 365 Days of Hand-Lettering.  Some work included in her newest book, due April 1.
As a junior in high school, I felt my career vision derailed by an imperfectly executed (so I was told) commercial art assignment of words and brush lettering.  I switched to journalism where the encouragement was more robust.  A good choice.  Yet here I am, 53 years later, lusting and hankering and sketching in the small hours, scribbling in the dark phrases like "giant billowing underpants" so I don't forget them when I am marginally more alert.  Don't ask me what sort of home the underpants would find but don't let me see it turn up elsewhere.  I claim it as my own.

In Facebook roaming a few days ago I found a statement from Azucar Magazine, "There is an awakening going on.  You know that."  At first I took it as a reference to the spiritual, then watched it widen to mean all matters of the spirit and heart and mind and hand.  Yes, I do know that.  I live it, the transformation of a discouraged art-class drop-out into a model of five-alarm besottment with what had always appealed to me.

Today I may practice writing "captivated" and "ensnared" and "infatuated," though I do believe it is beyond those.  It is true love, misidentified too often before, this time here to stay.