Against the Odds 2: Books and City Councils

An unexpected victory? A snapshot of an unlikely moment? This week, show us something that defies the odds. 

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

How about books to help you achieve your dreams?

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Books to Straighten Your Thinking in 2017

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Daly City Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo: Filipinos make up a sizable portion of the Daly City population. They struggle against many odds.

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At the Most Recent Daly City Council Meeting, Feb. 13, these signs were held by members of the audience.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Outsider Art, Baltimore

ART AND THE ART OF LIVING

Statement, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

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Stan Wright’s “First Dance” (made out of telephone wire), a gift by the artist to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore

The ancients — the Greeks, Egyptians, Hopis and New Guinea tribesmen — were among earth’s most prolific art-making people. Yet none had any word for “art” in their respective languages. Rather, they each had a word that meant “well-made” or “beautifully performed.” Our American Visionary Art Museum believes that this view of what art really means is as perfect an understanding of art as ever was. It speaks to an art incumbent on all its citizens, pervasive throughout all the acts of our daily life. Its emphasis is on process and consciousness, not mere artifact.

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Aimee Nezhukumatathil (The Writer’s Chronicle, Sept 2016)

“I do think persona is helpful in however heavy or light the disguise, if only to announce to the reader that if my persona says or does something they don’t find agreeable, it’s just a character, not the person.”

— Aimee Nezhukumatathil, in her interview with Eric Farwell, The Writer’s Chronicle, September 2016

Books About Eleanor Roosevelt: Reviewed in The Economist, 29 October 2016

  • Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939 – 1962, by Blanche Wiesen Cook (Viking)
  • Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady, by Susan Quinn (Penguin)

It is tempting to think that in a different era, Eleanor Roosevelt could have become president of the United States. Widely loved, the longest-serving First Lady was on the right side of history on virtually every subject including civil rights, acceptance of European refugees and the need to end Empires.


“She understood his needs, forgave his transgressions, buried her jealousies, and embarked on her own independent career . . .  FDR encouraged her independence and when he silenced her did so for reasons of state.”

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

To the Last

Obama:  How do we make sure that we don’t change, even as we protect our people?”

— quoted in The Economist, 26 November 2016

Hillary

“I think that if you live long enough, you realize that so much of what happens in life is out of your control, but how you respond to it is in your control. That’s what I try to remember.”

#amreading: All Day, Poetry

The Sublime

by Joshua Gottlieb-Miller

(An excerpt)

He was worried he was growing
immune to his anxiety
medication when the bank called
to tell him his identity

had been stolen. He did some
quick calculations, then
They can keep it, he said,
and hung up. The sublime

is kindled by the threat
of nothing further happening,
the painter wrote, and he liked that
so he thought about it as he walked

into the woods. Creditors
from other branches of the bank
called to ask when he would put
more money in his checking account.

He was delinquent, they explained,
so he explained it was only
the account that was delinquent.
Not after Zen, not after quiet

determination, or equilibrium —
just a view from the overlook,
and to enjoy it, the forest being new
to him. He keeps going. Leaves

— published in Indiana Review, Vol. 34, No. 2

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, where he was a poetry editor for Gulf Coast.

Graceful: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 20 January 2017

  • Show us something that exists harmoniously with its surroundings.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

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Albion, California

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Albion, California

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Albion, California

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Ambience: Albion, California

According to Jeff Golenski on The Daily Post:

I find that light is one of the most important factors that influence my conscious enjoyment of a place. The warmer the light I see, the more comfortable I tend to be.

Self spent all day looking at a solitary cow on a hillside.

She just wants to say: there’s nothing more hypnotic than watching a cow chew cud. Honestly.

The sky in the following photographs is translucent. Like a sheer piece of muslin. Perhaps that’s why self was so mesmerized.

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Steep Hillside, One Cow

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More Level: Still Only One Cow

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Finally, a Clear Silhouette of Cow

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.


Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:

AUNT

No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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