Friday, December 19, 2008
Painting by David Grath
Waking this morning from a dream of antique stereopticon slides and an old charter fishing boat renovation (the connection was vague in the dream, too), for some reason I started thinking about books in terms of warm and cold. Sarah, realizing I was awake, came to tell me she needed to go outside, and my train of thought did not get much farther, but the idea is that setting is not the deciding factor, nor is genre. A book might be tragic or comic, set in the Arctic or in New Orleans, be a murder mystery or a multigenerational epic, and those facts about it would not tell you what you would only get from reading it. Maybe, like beauty or color, the temperature of a book is as much in the reader (the beholder) as in the story. Does this make any sense? Do you have a favorite book that is blanket and fire to you all in one? Have you read a book that chilled you through and through, regardless of its subject matter? Not necessarily chilled you with dread—it might lower your own internal thermostat like a cooling breeze. I don’t know if this idea will go anywhere, but I’m throwing it in the ring.
The image today is one of my husband’s paintings, a view of South Fox Island seen from the Leelanau peninsula. It was a comment from yesterday that made me think of posting this image. The person commenting wrote that the way I feel about doing photography is the way she feels about painting, and I guess that goes for me, too, and is the reason philosophy of art was so painful to me. I’m more than willing to analyze arguments, but please don’t ask me to analyze art! Immersion, identification, not intellectual distance, please! This painting warms me.
Besides photography and painting, sometimes for me—when I am far from home and have no obligations—there is drawing, approached in the manner of Frederick Franck as meditation.