Most of my life has been traveling, as AF brat, at lacrosse player, as USAF navigator, as businessman. I’ve kept journals of most of the times and trips and once in awhile something newsworthy would stimulate me to draw “cartoony”things to go in the journals. Lots of fun. Had forgotten about most of this.
Here’s a bunch:
Sorry about the off-the-air spell. Some work being done at the hosting site, and there was some sort of shortcoming at this end, but I think it’s now fixed. Sheesh
I offer today Cezanne’s Rules. I’ll come back to this another day and note exactly what I think relates to writers.
Creative people, I believe, approach their art in similar ways and I’ve always found the thoughts of painters useful for writers. Here are The 19 Rules of Paul Cezanne and afterwards a photograph of the kind that acts to inspire a story.
1. Find kinds of nature that suits your temperament.
2. Observe motif (dominant theme) more for shape and color than drawing.
3. Don’t tighten the form that can be obtained without it.
4. Precise drawing is dry and hampers the impression of the whole.
5. Do not define too closely the outlines of things: it is the brushstroke of the right color and value which should produce the drawing.
6. In a mass, the greatest difficulty is not to give the contour in details, but to paint what is within.
7. Pain the essential character of things, try to convey it by any means whatever, without bothering about technique.
8. When painting, make a choice of subject, see what is lying to the right and left and work on everything simultaneously.
9. Don’t work bit by bit, but paint everything at once by placing tones everywhere with brush strokes of the right color and value, while noticing what is alongside.
10. Use small brush strokes and try to put down your perceptions immediately.
11. The eye should not be fixed on one point, but should take in everything; while observing the reflections which the colors produce in the surrounds.
12. Work at the same time upon the sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it.
13. Cover the canvas in the first go, then work at it until you see nothing more to add.
14. Observe from the aerial perspective well, foreground to horizon, reflections of sky, foliage.
15. Don’t be afraid of putting on color, refine the work little by little
16. Don’t proceed according to rules and principles but observe what you observe and feel.
17. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best no to lose the first impression.
18. Don’t be timid in front of nature: one must be bold, at the risk of being deceived and making mistakes.
19. One must have only one master – nature. She is always to be consulted.
Gone gone gone…the Super Boil has been lanced and what a sad commentary on America, so many caught up in a meaningless event manufactured 48 years ago to increase league revenues.
Not exactly the People’s Event is it? People were sitting in average price seats of $3,480, cheap seats of $1,816 and, the most expensive, at a min-boggling $449,645). Were any actual human beings in the stadium? This was once again, more like the Expense Account Bowl. The Super Bowl, I calculated last night, has been around now for 48 of the country’s 237 years, or 20% of the time, which seems sad to me. Renee Fleming singing the National Anthem? Awful. Wonderful soprano, but not on that song, not by a longshot. And who the hell is Bruno Mars? Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever heard the name. Total blank. And the hyperbole: Legion of Boom? And all the interest in advertising, just more evidence of the true subject of the game – money. Winning QB Russell Wilson’s comment, “Got is so good?” Mr. Wilson do you really think God gives a whit about the outcome of a football game? Seriously, God lets soldiers and children die, but actually cares who wins a football game? That’s sick. Super Bowl XLVIII, Man am I glad we get to use Arabic numbers instead of Roman numerals. That’s right, Arabic. How about that? Or all the ads on cars that talk about rebates and not a mention of price? Or, Wallyworldmart ads, these from the world’s largest employer of low-wage personnel. Advice from the expert football panel: Expect the Expected and They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know. Can someone draw up a boil on a bull emoticon? I’ve never “done” acid, but the effect much be much like looking at a “staged for-profit” event such as the SB. We switched to a Wallander mystery at halftime. Done with it for another year: Yay. BTW, I loved playing football (albeit only at h.s. level) ; I loathe all the phony baloney, trumped up angst over the professional game. To all pro football fanatics: Baaaaah. Get a life. Arggh.
We accuse our politicians of not listening to, or talking to each other, but are most of us much different than that and are we different now than when this country was founded and launched? French historian-political philosopher Alexis de Toqueville visited the US in 1831 and in 1835 and 1840 published a two volume report Democracy in America. According to Marshall McLuhan in Gutenberg’s Galaxy, “Alexis de Toqueville, whose literacy was much modified by his oral culture, seems to us now to have had a kind of clairvoyance concerning the patterns of change in the France and America of his time. He did not have a point of view, a fixed position from which he filled in a visual perspective of events. Rather he sought the operative dynamic of his data. Wrote the Frenchman, “But I go no further and seek among these characteristics the principal one, which includes almost all the rest. I discover that in most of the operations of the mind each American appeals only to the individual effort of his own understanding. America us therefore one of the countries where the precepts of Descartes are least studied and are best applied…Everyone shuts himself tightly up within himself and insists on judging the world from there.”
Mea maxima culpa. Have we changed so little in almost two centuries? Are we less self-minded and self-focus now vs. then?
I’m working on the next collection of short stories, this one featuring all female CO protagonists and today I realized I’ve lost one of the manuscripts. So here’s what the lineup looks like, including the MIA Number 18. Ignore all the counts in Parens. I offer this as a lesson of how one can keep track of a story collection. The Title for this book is HARDER GROUND, STORIES FROM THE DISTAFF PLANET. A third collection UNCHARTED EDGES, is also underway, with eight stories in that portfolio. I could send them out one at a time to various mags, printa and electronic, but it’s more practical to put them all in collections. Over.
- T#1 First Day of the Last Day of The World. (10-16-13) [W-1,806] [T = 7/7]
- #2 Gravy (10-17-13) [HW=6/13]
- #3 Working the Problem (10-19-13) [HW-/xx]
- #4 The Roadrunner Should Make You Laugh. (10-19-13) [HW-9/34]
- #5 Static Line (10-19-13) [HW-8/42]
- #6 Poachers in the Dell (10-20-13) [HW-11/53]
- #7 Scenario (10-20-13) [HW-6/59]
- #8 FTO (10-22-13) [HW-8/65]
- #9 Midsummer Day’s Night (10-23/13) [HW-15/80]
- #10 Tom Mary Robert Frank (10-23-13) [HW-6/86]
- #11 Like Hymens and Soap Bubbles, Balloons Can Pop With Unpredictable Results (10-24-13) [HW-14/100]
- #12 Fishing For Glory (10-24-13) [HW-4/104]
- #13 Even the Queen Mother (10-25-13) [HW-5/109]
- #14 The Gulf of Goths (10-26-13) [HW-12/121]
- #15 Heads, Tails, and Other Vague Body Parts (10-26-13) [HW-7/128]
- #16 Dancing Hula in the Felony Forest (10-27-13) [HW-17/145]
- #17 Trailer Fly (10-27-13) [HW-7/152]
- #18 Three Hours in the Chair of Wisdom. (10-28-13) [HW-9/161]
- #19 Mary’s Little Junkyard Dog (10-29-13) [HW-7/168]
- T#20 Mile-High Humble Pie (11-6 -13) [W-5,404][T-19/187]
- T#21 Facing Perfection (11-6-13) [W3,318] [T-11/198]
- #22 Flier’s Club (1-16-14) [HW-19/217]
- #23 Hard As Nails (1-17-14) [HW-10/227]
- T#24 Just One More Second (1-23-14)[W2,410] [T-11/242]
- T#25 Omaha! Blue! (1-21-14) [W 4,077][T-17/259]
- T#26 Dogskin, The Olympian (1-23-14) [W-1,756][T-6/265]
- T#27 Game for Names (1-27-14] [W-2,611][HW-11/276]
- T-28 Camelflage [W1,500] [T-6/282
T = Typed, HW = Handwritten
Nobitchuaries from the participants going through the door. I’ve been collecting obituaries from newspapers for decades and it struck me as I was cleaning my office today that the headlines tell an interesting story of a strange and wonderful kind of global diversity. I list them as follows and hope it gives you a moment to pause and think about how many folks have done great or strange things and we have hardly known them. Most of these are out of NY, Detroit, Kazoo, and London papers. Seems to me that all sorts of short stories, novels and poems reside beneath these headlines.
Majel Patten, 111, matriarch of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and believed to have been the last living Apache to have known Geronomo, died Dec 12 in San Carlos, Arizona.Randolph Scott, Hero Of Western Films, Dies Enoch Powell, An Enigma of Awkward Passions Rational and Romantic were at War in him, and it Was not always the Romantic that won The sharpness of His glance was like A snake striking; Here was a Dangerous old man. Tim Flock, 73, a Successful And Colorful Nascar Pioneer He won 40 races, and sometimes rode With a monkey
Mae Questel, 89, Behind Betty Boop and Olive OylArkady N. Shevchenko, 67, A Key Soviet Defector, Dies Halldor Laxness Icelandic Writer who won The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, Died on February 8 aged 95. He was born on April 23, 1902 Carl Gorman, 90, Navajo Word Warrior, Dies A Marine code talker who befuddled the Japanese
Athelstan Spilhaus, 86, Dies; Inventor With Eye on the Future
Lawrence Treat, 94, Prolific Mystery WriterEsther Bubley, Photographer With a Sober, Poetic Eye, 76 Tenzing Norgay, 72 Conqueror of Everest Edward Lansdale, Prototype For ‘Ugly American,’ Dies
Wray McKenzie, Stalag 17 survivorHideo Shima, A Designer of Japan’s Bullet Train, Is Dead at 96 A fabulous and Speedy train system And lots of red ink to Show for it.
Camille Henry, 64, Small but Skillful RangerPaul R Smith, 86, Artist Who Taught Celestial Navigation A Kenyan Comes Home Again Tribe Buries Lawyer, Ending 5-Month Battle With Wife for His Body
Dead rabbi is a legend in BrazilR.V. Jones, Science Trickster Who Foiled Nazis, Dies at 86
Uzi Narkiss, Israeli Army General, 72Ion Cioaba, Self-Styled King Of All Gypsies Everywhere, 62
Clyde W. Tombaugh, 90, Discoverer of PlutoBricktop, August 14the, 1894 – January 31st, 1984 The last dawn for the one, the only, world queen of nightclubs
Lincoln’s ‘last kin’ Dies at 81William McElroy, Researcher Of Fireflies’ Flash, Dies at 82 Eugene Stoner, 74, Designer Of M-16 Rifle and Other Arms Gen. Noel F. Parrish Dies; Trained Tuskegee Airmen W.S. Arbuckle, Authority on Ice Cream, Dies
Age Was No Handicap for Gamblin’ Rose, 105Naomi Uemura, February 12th, 1941 – February 1984 Mt. McKinley defied an explorer Who despised impossibilities
Albert Wolff, last of the ‘Untouchables’J.M. Oesterreicher, Monsignor Who Wrote on Jews, Dies at 89
Air Force Officer returned medals
V. Galvani, 89, Designer of A-Bomb Trigger
Ruth Robinson Duccini, 95, Last Female Munchkin from ‘Oz’Col. Gains Hawkins Dies; Westmoreland Case Figure
William D. Montalbano, 57, Los Angeles Times Bureau ChiefRobert Switzer, Do-Inventor Of Day-Glo Paint, Dies at 83 Hallie C. Stillwello, a Rancher And Texas Legend, Dies at 99
Byron MacNabb, 87, an Atlas Rocket LeaderPaul Schmidt, 65, Translator, Poet and Actor A Slavic languages expert known for his Collaborations with Leading experimental Theater directors
Quach Tom, 65, CIA Agent Who Became a Prisoner of War
Frank Lloyd, Prominent Art Dealer Convicted in the 70s Rothko Scandal, Dies at 86 Promoting the work Of contemporary Artists to avoid Running out of stock. Galina Ulanova is Dead at 88; A Revered Bolshoi Ballerina Joseph Sobek, the Inventor Of Racquetball, Dies at 79 Edmund Asbury Gullion, 85, Wide-Ranging Career Envoy J.Blan can Urk, 95, Lover of High Life, Dies He held many jobs And made a fortune, But usually had Better things to do. That Tough Nut, Rickover ‘You [Bleeping] Idiot, Get the [Bleep] IN HERE RIGHT NOW!’ Sidney Stewart is Dead at 78; Bataan Death March Survivor
Harold E. Wilson, 76, Hero of the Korean WarVladimir Prelog, 91, Is Dead; Swiss Chemist Won the Nobel Colonel Bill Cook MC, MBE, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, ‘died on January 23 aged 79. He was born on January 18, 1919 Eleanor Shuman, 87, Passenger on the Titanic Aboard the last lifeboat to leave a sinking ship. Raymond-Leopold Bruckberger, Priest and Author, Dies at 90 A worldly cleric who Was a leader in the French Resistance Edgar Kaplan Is Dead at 72; Top Bridge Player and Writer
Eberhard Rees, Rocketry Pioneer, Dies at 89
William Schanz, 70;Founded a Cruise LineGold miner’s daughter used Talents as milliner, inventor
Dance Teacher believed In praising her students
Handicapped fire buff dies and fire fighters miss himBridge Builder Was firm enough To care for others.
Ford statistical analyst was proud of his Marine recordW. Averill Harriman Dead at 94
Chris Farley, 33, a Versatile Comedian-Actor
Milton Berger, Flamboyant Soul of Coney I, Dies at 81John Hoagland, June 15th, 1947 – March 16th, 1984 The last of an angry man; a war Photographer’s affair with danger
Marcine ‘iggy’ Wolverton; Designed arcade games
Sunday morning neuronal impulses (incomplete thoughts). As an aside, MSU played for crap last night, allowed a slow game which killed them in the end. Congrats to U of M.
Today, I am condensing a whole heap of non-basketball stuff for blog purposes. Though the basketball game got me to thinking about our universities, how they came into being, and what they are now: Athletic scholarships? Weird from all perspectives except thinking of the university as some kind of capitalist machine aimed at providing learned laborers to the overall system. On to more interesting stuff.
Until Gutenberg developed moveable type, books had to be handwritten and most of us think of cloistered monks sitting in a scriptorium copying away on vellum and other materials. Before Gutenberg, and even after. there was another way books were created and that was by students who would attend lectures and their teachers would read from their own books in a slow process like dictation. The students would copy what the teacher was saying so that by the end of the “course” or period of study, the student would have his own book. Indeed one of the reasons for attending university was to create your own book holding and indeed when one was finished and thinking of a career, the gatekeepers often required students to present their books, presumably of proof of the learning they were claiming. [Huh, I wonder if that’s why some old fogeys like me keep huge book collections?]
Most teachers, then as now, of course, wanted to leave their own imprint on the knowledge subject matter they were passing along so that while teacher A and teacher B might be talking about the same thing and even working from the same approximate text, each would be constantly modifying his own text as he went along, so that the students of A ended up with something distinct and different than they might have gotten with B. All of this was done in Latin, and until the printing press came along, all reading was oral, which is to say out loud.
[I still read everything I write out loud as a means of judging punctuation, story continuity and other factors. ]
Put a little differently by Istvan Hajnal (L’Enseignement do l’ecriture aux universities medievales), “Writing in the mode of dictation did not constitute a copying exercise as simple as might at first appear. It is a curious fact but it is precisely owing to this system that studies had been able to revive and a new literature was born in the heart of these Faculties. For every professor strove to give the matter taught a new form suited to its own assumptions and inherent conceptions; and mostly he dictated to his students the results of these personal insights. That is how the university movement, from its inception, appears to us now as really modern.
In essence books were thought of as “chained” to a particular individual, the professor or dictator of the information and, of course, to all the others who contributed to what the current professor was passing along. Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), “It is uncanny that the modern phone booth should also reflect another aspect of the medieval book world, namely the chained work of reference. And he then makes an interesting comment, “But in Russia, until recently quite oral, there are no phone books. You memorize your information – which is even more medieval than the chained book. But memorization presented little problem for the pre-print student, and much less for non-literate persons. Natives are often bewildered by their literate teachers and ask: “Why do you write things down? Can’t you remember?”
Reading this reminded me of samizdat, that it the hand-rendering of manuscripts by writers operating outside the reach of the Soviet nomenklatura. Books were written in hand and passed around like weed, and copies made, and those passed along. In many ways Russia USSR was still trying to emerge from the Middle Ages in the Twentieth Century. It is always said that the Russians were paranoid, that the three greatest events in the national memory were Ghengis Khan, who caused Russians to miss the Renaissance, the invasion of Napoleon, and later, in our time, the invasion of Hitler’s armies. Probably not germane to this little blog, but of interest.
As I understand it, we are talking about a sort of tutorial model with classes of one teacher and one student and this approach with writing had multiple purposes: scribal training, practice for composition, and introducing minds to new concepts and reasoning and ways to express these things. The student created his own text for future use as he learned what was going into it. Things are sure a lot easier today, but are books valued less because they are so common? Probably.
There are some who contend that perhaps the original cause that university teaching in the Middle Ages was more and more characterized by the practice of writing. It is not strange that in the fourteenth century (Quatricento) the practice of writing was considered the essence of university life in Paris.
Many great teachers did not commit their own thoughts to writing. They spoke and others copied, and Thomas Aquinas tells us that Socrates and Christ fit this category, that is, they did not connect any of their teachings to writings. Aquinas wrote in Summa Theologica, “…it is fitting that Christ did not commit his teachings to writing. First on account of his own dignity; for the more excellent the teacher, the more excellent his manner of teaching ought to be. And therefore it was fitting that Christ, as the most excellent of teachers, should adopt that manner of teaching whereby his doctrine would be imprinted on the hearts of his hearers. For the same reason pagans Pythagoras and Socrates, who were most excellent teachers, did not want to write anything.” Compare this to the modern publish or perish dictum that drives the academic life in some outposts of higher learning.
McLuhan tells us, “The story of writing as oral training helps to explain the early age of entry to the medieval university. For the proper study of the development of writing we must consider that the students began their course as the university at ages 12-14. In the Twelfth and Thirteenth centuries a student had to know Latin grammar, all courses being taught in Latin, and the Latin used had to be precise and according to the highest standards of use. “Latin grammar served above all to insure oral fidelity.” Oral fidelity, writes McLuhan, “was to the medieval man the equivalent of our own visual idea of scholarship as involving exact quotation and proofreading.”
There came a time then when books became more plentiful and available (and affordable in another sense). This would have made it possible for professors to move at a faster pace, but dictation remained in vogue. (Universities are not always bastions of change.) According to Hajnal, under a new approach, “the professor should speak fast enough to be understood, but too fast for the pen to follow him.” Students did not take kindly to this change for straight dictation where the prof spoke slowly and clearly and repeated everything 2-3 times so the students could capture the words. Some students naturally opposed this change and shouted or stamped their feet (or had their servants do the same) and such students were expelled for a year.
McLuhan says there are reports of students under ten years old in universities, no doubt the Sheldon Coopers of the Middle Ages) Enough “whimsy.” Anon, let us to work, or breakfast, whichever may be more easily assembled. Over.