Saturday, February 4, 2023

January 4, 2023: With gratitude to Rebecca Solnit / Reruns from January 30, 31 and February 1, 2, 3, 4, 2007: Mona Lisa and the Clown and the Cool Rain of the Law (1985), Woman Trying to Remember What She is Trying to Forget (1986), Painting in America (1986), Full Moon, Chair and Planter Rising (1986), Church of the Holy Contradiction, and Untitled Scene (1986)

Krista Tippett on Rebecca Solnit:

“When all the ordinary divides and patterns are shattered, people step up to become their brothers’ keepers,” Rebecca Solnit writes. “And that purposefulness and connectedness bring joy even amidst death, chaos, fear, and loss.” In this moment of global crisis, we’re returning to the conversations we’re longing to hear again and finding useful right now. A singular writer and thinker, Solnit celebrates the unpredictable and incalculable events that so often redeem our lives, both solitary and public. She searches for the hidden, transformative histories inside and after events we chronicle as disasters in places like post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.

Rebecca Solnit:

"... And then if you went south, there was a really great public library. And the minute I learned how to read, it was as though I’d been given this huge treasure. Every book was a box I suddenly knew how to open, and in it, I could meet people, go to other worlds, go deep in all kinds of ways. And I spent my childhood in the hills and in the books. So that was not maybe what people think of conventionally as spirituality, but that was my company, my encouragement, my teaching, my community ..."

"... And New Orleans, for years afterwards, had all these people — church groups — and I saw amazing Mennonite builders rebuilding houses, and Habitat for Humanity. And I kind of loved it. It was a whole spectrum, from Catholic charities to the Mennonites to pretty radical anarchists and people working with Common Ground, which was in some ways founded by the Black Panthers and young white supporters and became a project that did a lot of different things. And not all of it worked out perfectly, but some of it was amazing. And it became really a part of the conversation. But they founded the first really good clinic for people who needed emergency care, who needed their diabetes medicine or their tetanus shot or their wound disinfected. And that split off into Common Ground clinic, which is still going strong more than 10 years later. And that’s the kind of indirect consequences that I find so interesting to trace, is that here’s something that came out of Katrina that’s still helping people every day ..."

"... People in this culture love certainty so much. And they seem to love certainty more than hope — which is why they often seize on these really kind of bitter, despondent narratives that are they know exactly what’s going to happen. And that certainty just seems so tragic to me. I want people to tell more complex stories and to acknowledge that sometimes we win and that there are these openings. But an opening is just an opening. You have to go through it and make something happen. And you don’t always win, but if you try, you don’t always lose..."

(from the Rebecca Solnit interview from the On Being Archives under the topic of "Creative Life")


Now for the reruns.  During the last days of January and the first days of February 2007, I was not feeling well due to one of the frequent colds I used to get.  In my early days of blogging, I found that even if I didn't feel well enough to do anything else, I was able to post something on my blog, if only a drawing or painting.  It is a revelation to read what I wrote at this time in 2007, a year before R was in the last months of his life in the Palo Alto VA Hospital.  I had not yet heard of Rebecca Solnit.  It was a blogger from the Midlands of England (Solitary Walker) who introduced me to Rebecca Solnit through her book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking.  

In the fall of 2007, I had thought that I might be able to become a yoga teacher and attended a 2-week yoga teacher training.  I was wrong.  At that time I had been out of touch with R since August of 2002, but he never left my mind and heart.  During the yoga teacher training we had both had our 58th birthdays, having been born within 24 hours of each other in 1949.  He was born in Hackensack, New Jersey.  I was born in San Francisco. 

I found out in December 2007 that while I was in the yoga teacher training, R had suffered a brainstem stroke, been in a coma for two weeks, and was in a stroke rehab unit. 


Click on the dates if you are curious to know what I wrote about each drawing or painting.







Sabine said...

The last painting brought me back to the many hours I waited outside the large window of the Aikido Dojo where my teenage daughter went for her practice. She loved it for about 2-3 years then dance took over. Among other things, she did train as a yoga teacher some time ago. But motherhood and juggling her professional work leaves her with little time for it.

I love your artwork.

Pixie said...

I've never heard of Rebecca Solnit, so now I'm reading some of her writing. Thank you.