Why do I want to build this museum, anyway? Well, I found a beautiful collection of Jorge Luis Borges' poems at the Bookmill the other day. One of those strange, perfect days where everything is in alignment, plunged in the sparkling waters of the world up to my eyeteeth, the kind of day where the sky is splendid and small possessions long longed-for appear as if by magic. (Later I found a perfume I bought once, years ago, and have not been able to find anywhere else since -- a spicy, intoxicating scent of vanilla and chai and cardamom, all the way at the back of a bottom shelf of discount beauty products, half-fallen down behind. This is how the universe speaks: in secretive, nuanced jokes.) Why do I want to build a museum of joy? Listen. When I opened the book and glanced down at the page, this was the poem.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
|Have Faith in the Color Blue|
(microcollage amulet, 2011)
And here is something that walks a fine line between joy and the numinous: an amulet I made for a friend of mine who love tiny things as much as I do. So, okay. I've spoken about the numinous before, and how important it is to me. But I've never really put it side by side, exactly, with my concept of joy. How does the numinous fit into my desire to build a museum about joy? To ignore it, after all, is to ignore a side of existence that is not exactly dark, perhaps, but one where joy is not the primary principle. Will I rule out anything that's not full of laughter and happiness and glee and risk a two-dimensional portrait of the things that swell our hearts, or is there room for a shadow side in the daydreams of someday's miraculous collections?
Thursday, March 29, 2012
|Obligatory mildly embarrassing family photo, 2010.|
My mother (like my partner, Kevin Devaney) hates being referred to or introduced as "a poet" - she would prefer writer, or maybe person. She writes excellent prose (she's got a new book out!) and she's a professional editor (which has given me an unfair advantage in the writerly pursuit of proving ones worth through superior deployment of punctuation) but I would be lying if I didn't say that what I love best is her poetry. Thus, in recognition of her gifts and to express gratitude for her existence on this earth, I give you a heartfelt and genuine review of her two books of poems, Misappropriations and Self-Portrait as Ruth. Fulsome in my praise as I may be, I hope you will agree that my appreciation is not, in fact, misplaced or overblown: I am grateful to be the child of a writer I would one day like to emulate in clarity, thoughtfulness, and depth of longing.
into the spaces we breathe; perhaps the birds
will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, First Duino Elegy, trans. Stephen Mitchell
(Haven't you grasped it yet? Throw from your arms the nothing that lies between them
into the space that we breathe as an atmosphere --
to enable the birds, perhaps, in new zest of feeling
to hurl their flight through the expanded air.
trans. John Waterfield)
Admittedly, this is a post I left as a draft until it got a wee bit elderly, it being now late March instead of early January. But I still like what it says about the senses, and art, and flinging oneself open to the sky.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
|Webs New Inner Diction, 200|
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
|numinous things: astrolabe paper art...|
'Nostalgia for paradise' was a term also used by Mircea Eliade to help bring understanding to the numinous."
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
In pursuit of the magical museum, I write about other museums that have inspired, amazed, and astonished me. In this case, an exhibit from August 2011 at the wonderful Oakland Museum really pushed the boundaries of what I'd realized a museum installation could do - especially in a smaller collection. It's one thing for the Met to knock your socks off, but to see a local museum do it gave me this moment of "whoa! say, I could do that!" ...not without a hefty chunk of change, perhaps, but all of a sudden the idea of a mystical collection seemed that much more within my reach.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
|Erdhaus (Earth House) by architect Peter Vetsch|
In addition, the idea of being able to invite friends, family, and anyone who is interested to come and literally build a magical museum from the ground up seems like an extraordinary and wonderful way to begin. After all, one of the major attractions of natural building techniques is the fact that anyone can learn them!