Monday, September 22, 2008

The bluebird of happiness

A still life is a study in what is known, what is seen, and what is necessary to see. I have done several versions of this, each progressively more "finished". In this case, that means smoothing the surfaces, filling in blanks between tones to establish continuity. I hesitate to overdo it, however, as the dappled sense of light and color is really the motivation for the work. To a certain extent, being as old as I am helps me judge what I want to leave in, what I don't mind working over, what I can stand and can't stand. But not as much as I would have guessed in my twenties. I think my conclusion is, work harder in your twenties, don't worry what others think. No matter what happens, you will still tend to think about and care about the same things at the end of the decades. Perhaps to your surprise.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The meaning of life

The digestive system has more neurons than the central nervous system, according to a recent article in the New York Times. The ancients believed the seat of thought was in the belly, not the head. I imagine that by painting vegetables I am getting closer to understanding the meaning of life. The irony, of course, is that neither vegetables nor my digestive system care about the meaning of life।

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lao Tzu gives advice on diet and exercise

Know contentment
And you will suffer no disgrace.
Know when to stop
And you will meet with no danger.
You can then endure.

D.C. Lau translation
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Lao Tzu on identity crisis

Know the male
But keep to the role of the female
And be a ravine to the empire
If you are a ravine to the empire
Then the constant virtue will not desert you
And you will return to being a babe.
Know the white
But keep to the role of the black,
and be a model in the empire.
Then the constant virtue will not be wanting
And you will return to the infinite.

D.C. Lau, translation
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Lao Tzu on interior design

Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room. Adopt the nothing therein to the purpose at hand, and you will have the use of the room.

Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that it can be put to use.

Book XI
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Lao Tzu comments on American produce

Hence the Sage is for the belly,
Not the eye.
Therefore he discards the one and takes the other.

Book XII
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Questions from Lao Tzu's job interview

When the gates of heaven open and shut
Are you capable of keeping to the role of the female?
When your discernment penetrates the four quarters
Are you capable of not knowing anything?
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The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.
Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe the secrets of the Tao.
But allows allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.
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Lao Tzu considers what is left when life has passed on.

To retire when the task is accomplished is the way of Heaven.
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A cloud doesn't look in the mirror

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wood kiss stone

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Love is a marsh

There are collaborations in love, like light and water, wood and air, blue and green, that could astonish you if you quit thinking about yourself for one minute.
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yes and no

Yes and no are the same word. It depends on whether you approach it from the front or the back.
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Old hippies

Doug, on the right, is now Edwin and has never lost his beauty. He sings and tells stories, fixes things, and reminds everyone of the love right in front of their noses. I carry an old leather gut full of unfinished riddles under my shirt, and when I have indigestion, you can hear the words slosh around and expel the methane of fermented dreams.
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The tombstones create an x-ray diffraction pattern in the space above the soldier's bones. We look into the moire pattern, trying to read the approval of some god, or some principle, in the revealed geometry.
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Life stone, tomb stone

On memorial day, we found this birth announcement on a granddad's grave at the Ft. Snelling cemetary.
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My love shows her face

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Something fell down by my house. A ton or more of white oak branches fell in the gap between Florenzio's house and our's. It took out part of his deck, and left an arm-thick branch dangling on the roof over our bedroom. The wind blasted this improbable slotting, this insertion of the stuff of disaster in a space where no disaster is, or will be. It was a noumenal wind, existing only in the mind of the tree. It blew straight down, and in all directions at once. like Pico Della Mirandola's definition of God, its center was everywhere and its circumference was no where.

Our space was tagged by the infinite, and we felt more finite than ever.
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A poem written in bone time

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Temp worker takes a break

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My love shows her face

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wittgenstein's eyes

This is not a sentence about Wittgenstein.

While there is a manga quality to the exaggeration of eye size, it is the subtle change of expression from patient auditor to surly interviewer that interests me.