Art and Literature

Entries about creativity in all its forms, plus original creative material.

Three Dreams

An excerpt:

The three nuclear bombs sent from Iran hit Israel simultaneously. The first, missed its mark slightly, hurtled into the port of Haifa, rather than into the city itself. Entire freighters were swallowed up in the fire and the water, incinerating and drowning at the same time. The light was so strong, so blinding that millions of people died without knowing what it was. Their last thought was that the messiah had come on the wings of a solar eclipse. They disappeared, leaving thin, accurately drawn traces of their silhouettes on cement walls, floors, things that remained standing. Every single leaf on every single carefully tended and manicured branch on every single tree in the Baha’i garden burned off in an instant. It looked like the moon, like an exquisitely designed garden of ashes and blackened sticks. The city shivered, shuddered, sank to its knees. Buildings near the port slid down the molten hills and into the seething sea.

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A World in a Grain of Sand

Hints about the Infinite

It’s interesting how life keeps drawing our attention to a special theme sometimes. Images and eternity seems to be my theme of the moment and life won’t let me leave it alone. I felt about as powerful in the grip of this idea as a doll in the jaws of a dog. I decided to give in gracefully and write another post about it.

Some reminders came in response to the post on the subject so they perhaps don’t count, though one was very valuable: it concerned ‘Auguries of Innocence.’ For some reason I had completely forgotten the opening lines of this poem by William Blake, so central though they were to my theme:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

Others were not prompted by me in that way though perhaps I sought them out

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Black Is Brilliant (Alain Locke)

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Alain Locke by Jack Coughlin for 'The New Republic.'

Alain Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher

By Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth (University of Chicago Press, 432 pp., $45)

In conversation in London with the British Conservative leader David Cameron this past summer, Barack Obama lamented the frantic over-scheduling that encourages micromanagement and with it the temptation to try and "solve everything and end up being a dilettante." Instead, he concluded, "the most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you're doing is thinking." His remark, not meant to be made public but caught on tape, did not make a big splash, but the importance that Obama accorded to the need to stop and think must count as one of the more revealing moments of his campaign, not least because it gives some substance to the tag "intellectual" that the media attached to him this past summer. Obama is a cunning professional politician, but he is also undeniably an intellectual, and that word--along with the cluster of others invariably summoned up: bloodless professorial elitist egghead--became a catchall term of opprobrium. But with his victory came a rehabilitation of "intellectual" as a term of pride: a New York Times columnist crowed that "the second most remarkable thing about his election is that American voters have just picked a president who is an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual." What would W.E.B. Du Bois say?

{josquote}Always a controversial figure ... Locke is now the subject of a first biography that rescues him from caricature and brings alive his distinctive fashioning of the role of black intellectual.{/josquote}

One of the great intellectuals of any color, the prodigious Du Bois comes to mind because, for him, a significant part of being an intellectual was tied up with what Obama spoke of in London--the capacity for, and the luxury of, stepping back from busyness to think. "I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not, " Du Bois famously declared, reflecting belief in the "kingdom of culture" as a space of freedom, a realm "uncolored," above the imprisoning veil of the color line. On a fellowship to Berlin in 1892 while pursuing graduate work in economics, history, and sociology at Harvard, where he would be the first black recipient of a doctorate, Du Bois was initiated into aesthetic experience: "I had been before, above all, in a hurry, I wanted a world hard, smooth and swift, and had no time for ... unhurried thought and slow contemplation. Now at times I sat still." He grew inward with Beethoven and Wagner, Rembrandt and Titian.

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Zombies, and Vampires, and Werewolves Oh My!

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The New York Times has a piece today which is right up the alley of monster lovers like me. Check it out:

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” — which bills itself as “The Classic Regency Romance, Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!” — has rocketed to the Top 10 on Amazon’s best-seller list by grabbing on to two hot trends.

The first, obviously, is zombies, which have been on the rise in recent years, and — perhaps as a result of the anxious times we are living in — seem to be more popular than ever.

“Zombieland,” starring Woody Harrelson, is scheduled for release in October. The screenwriter of the moment, Diablo Cody, fresh off her “Juno” success, is producing a romantic comedy entitled “Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament.” Left4Dead, a zombie-hunting video game, has sold more than 2.5 million copies since last fall.

Mashups are also big. The idea of combining two data sources into a new product began in the tech world (also think music remixes) and is spreading — including to book publishing.

The cover of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” features a primly dressed young woman with a decomposing face. As in Jane Austen’s original, a main setting is Netherfield Park, the estate of the wealthy bachelor Mr. Bingley. In this story, Netherfield Park is recovering from attacks in which a “household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.” (Read the whole thing here)

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As It Was In The Days of Noah

TIMES ARE TERRIBLE! BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS COMING SOON! Whatever is happening! The global devastation, associated with racism, tribalism, terrorism, anarchy, and bomb threats, plus a most dismal, and evidently long-lasting, global financial collapse, etc., etc., does indeed persist! But SURPRISE! The applicability of the Analogy of the 'Flood of Noah' for our times was predicted by Christ to be associated with His 'Return' (St. Matthew 24)! Interpretation suggests that the rising flood of trouble during the TERRIBLE '40 YEARS OF RAIN' IS TO END IN THE YEAR 2,011 AD - some three years hence from publication of this document - "As It Was In The Days of Noah". So the good news is that those terrible 'times of trouble' will likely begin to diminish from then on in accordance with the promise. You will find the underlying, very important details, intriguing!

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