More short fiction plus Campbell

More short fiction plus Campbell

We’ve added a short story by William Kitcher to the Spinozablue mix, and some more paintings by yours truly. As always, your comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Finished Campbell’s fine collection of lectures and informal talks, Goddesses, and had some additional thoughts to share.

First off, I imagine my main takeaways are not the same as other readers, and what stands out for me now may not resonant with the majority. This is likely the case, as they probably wouldn’t have resonated all that much with my younger selves. I remember focusing more on the mythological stories as stories in their own right, their beauty, strangeness, and mystery, mostly delinked from current concerns or implications. When very young, I think I read them at least in part to escape from the present, not to find those links.… Click to Continue “More short fiction plus Campbell”

Joseph Campbell and the Feminine Divine

Joseph Campbell and the Feminine Divine

I’ve been reading Joseph Campbell since I was nine. He was foundational for me, along with Robert Graves, Lady Gregory, and Jane Harrison, sparking a greater love of world mythology, its roots, its scope and diversity. Going back to him as of late, I’m uncovering things I either forget about or missed entirely the first go round, and it has me rethinking more than a few things these days. Nearly halfway through his posthumously published book on goddesses, and I’m hooked again.

Goddesses (2013) is basically a collection of his lectures and talks between 1972 and 1986, with a focus on the Female Divine in myriad incarnations — Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Hindu — and a few mentions of its tragic, world-altering suppression along the way.… Click to Continue “Joseph Campbell and the Feminine Divine”

Free Will, by William Kitcher

Free Will, by William Kitcher

1

She returned home and, as usual, put her keys on the hall table and walked to the back of the house carrying a book she had just bought, to the study, where, as usual, he was sitting at his computer, writing.

He turned and smiled, and went back to his writing. She kissed him on the top of his head, squeezed his shoulders lightly, then flopped onto the sofa.

He looked at her again, and smiled with recognition at her predictable and comforting way of stretching out on the sofa, book in hand. She smiled back at him and opened the book.

After a few minutes, she put the book face down on her lap, and said, “Huh,” as a sign of odd understanding. She looked over at him.Click to Continue “Free Will, by William Kitcher”

The Transitory Nature of Envy

The Transitory Nature of Envy

Jealousy, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.

 

Jealousy II

I’m jealous of Jimmy Stewart’s time
With Kim Novak in Vertigo
Looking at her looking at him
Through all the doubling of characters

Hitchcock and Freud
Judy and Madeleine
The dated dynamics
The bald confessionals

It would have been something
To have rescued her from the Bay
And then the Set
And then the downward spirals

I’m jealous of Zhivago’s time with Julie Christie
And Sharif’s time with Lara
Not so much because their love
Nearly froze to death

While the howling wolves applauded

But because War and Revolution
Snow and ice and balalaikas
Were no match for their technicolor
Passions — wrong or right

I’m jealous too of all the people
Who said wise things to the Buddha
To change his Way
To change his Path

Knowing they’d never get the credit
They deserved or the royalties
     Not that he ever did
Or will

But most of all I’m jealous
Of the waves
Because they see everything
Carry stories on their backs

Like Homeric dolphins
Just far enough
To finally reach Ithaca
And then some

 

 

by Douglas Pinson

The Disruption of New Music in the Age of Covid

The Disruption of New Music in the Age of Covid

New music, as a concept, has taken a bit of a hit lately. As in, it’s not all that apparent any longer when that label should be attached to a song, a record, a musician’s work, or when it needs to be qualified with lengthy explanatory notes to nowhere and fools on the hill. Because of the pandemic, and the relentless uncertainties attached, more and more musicians seem to be “dropping” their singles months before their albums, and may miss the due dates for the latter. Finding any kind of logic in the gaps now escapes me, and my sense of time was already pretty much shot to begin with, three decades into the Age of the Pandemic.

I’m not exactly certain when all of this started, when the Erratic became the Norm, when scheduling Release Dates became entirely futile, but I imagine it was long, long ago, and far, far away.… Click to Continue “The Disruption of New Music in the Age of Covid”

Arlo Parks and Lucy Dacus, in dialogue.

Arlo Parks and Lucy Dacus, in dialogue.

Well, not really. As far as I know, they’re not holding forth about this and that with one another, at least not yet. But I do think Ms. Parks would make a fine addition to the Boy Genius lineup of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Ms. Dacus. The current (sometime) lineup seems incredibly unified, the voices, the vibe, the same potential for volcanic eruptions after thoughtful, nearly shy expressions of angst. And those depths. The oceanic quivers of recognition and response, the crashing, concussive waves, the veering off-kilter just when you thought you knew there would be no more veering.

Arlo Parks would be the transatlantic, London partner to the Virginian Dacus, the Californian Bridgers, and the Tennessean Baker.

They’re all in their twenties, with Parks being the youngest at 21 — a peak time for dark questions in search of luminous answers, or the upside-down of that.… Click to Continue “Arlo Parks and Lucy Dacus, in dialogue.”

The Zen of functional and non-functional things

The Zen of functional and non-functional things

The bowl, the shoe, the house, the tree. Nourishment planted, arranged just so to soak up the light. Fitted for us, preferably by us, to serve. This and that, to keep us dry in the rain, warm in the snow, fed when the clock sings in our bellies three times a day.

Non-contrivance can’t be taught, much less manufactured. Zenish contexts can’t be formulated, controlled, or white-papered. The functional can’t be faked. The space within the vase, the beer mug, the bucket, the cool air in the bear’s ancient cave, the negative answer to positive forms and non-forms within the canvas — all of these things must be inevitable, not artificially simulated. Our fields bring us life. We exchange only what’s useful about them for what is also useful in another context, if we want to make ten.… Click to Continue “The Zen of functional and non-functional things”

New paintings, and further thoughts on “things.”

New paintings, and further thoughts on “things.”

I have an issue with things. There are far too many of them. We have things everywhere, inside and out, up and down, sometimes upside down and rarely right-side up when we need them to be. Rarely what’s needed, though. Rarely what is most useful. Almost always what’s imminently disposable, replaceable, land-fillable.

Too much, too often, too close, and not far enough away, by any means. Away with things!

So how did this happen, this being overwhelmed by “stuff”? Long, long ago, in a land, far, far away — unless, of course, you actually live there — we started producing stuff for “the markets,” and soon enough those markets dominated us, everything about us; followed us everywhere too, and oh-so impersonally. They decided for us what would be produced and consumed, how, when, why, where, and for how much, and so on.… Click to Continue “New paintings, and further thoughts on “things.””

New Poetry and Recent Reads

New Poetry and Recent Reads

Spinozablue welcomes new poetry from John Grey and Alessio Zanelli.

 

Michael Gorra’s The Saddest Words (2021) is an intellectual griffin of sorts: a serious literary biography, a thoroughly researched history of an era, and a thought-provoking, fearless, and moral accounting of our past.

Departing from most biographies of Faulkner, Gorra focuses primarily on how the Civil War, slavery, and its aftermath influenced his major novels and best short stories. In close readings of his work and life, he demonstrates how Faulkner was generally more successful in dealing with each issue through his fictional characters than in his own day to day existence. Gorra also adds the necessary foundational material by bringing in dozens of relevant historical voices, from Civil War generals, to poets, novelists, abolitionists, Civil Rights leaders, and Klansmen, and pulls no punches.… Click to Continue “New Poetry and Recent Reads”

New Poems by John Grey

New Poems by John Grey

COMING UPON A FUNERAL

I saw people suffer
where the street ran near to quiet
and I heard them weep in Cantonese.

I have taken to flicking the light-switch
on and off, on and off.
And grabbing the cheapest haircut I can find.
I am looking for a way to say that I too am sorry.

A Chinese restaurant is floating red kites from its roof.
The colors are so bloody here,
I no longer speak to the horizon.
At a pause for reflection,
water bends my face.

 

THE BUTCHER

I do not see the deaths of animals,
their skins made into shoes.
The thistle whiteness explodes my eyes.
My hair blows like a raucous sea.

So I am blind and incapacitated.
And you’re a spark climbing the dark stairs.… Click to Continue “New Poems by John Grey”