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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Painting, Drawing, Writing, Being

Yes, here I go again with my beloved present participles! It only seemed natural, given the books I’ve been reading lately and other goings-on in my personal and bookselling life. For starters, I’ve been reading David McCullough’s The Greater Journey, all about Americans in Paris in the nineteenth century. Painters, sculptors, historians and statesmen, musicians and physicians—Paris was the Mecca to them all, with her museums and other cultural offerings not yet available stateside. The author does not ignore world history unrolling in 19th-century Paris, such as the dreaded Prussian siege of 1970-71 and the bloody events of the Paris Commune, both of which he makes come alive in all their horror, but in the end it is the artistic growth of Americans in Paris that stays in this (my) American mind.

On a much lighter note is Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge, by Laren Stover. It’s light entertainment but not as frothy as you might expect from the title. Even bound to a business schedule as I am, I see myself in other aspects of Stover’s descriptions of Bohemian life:
The Bohemian understands the historic, poetic and melancholy nature of dust. To the Bohemian, dust is powder from the wings of moths, ash of Vesuvius, cremains of Joan of Arc, atomic fallout, debris of bombed Berlin, soot brushed from the boots of blue-eyed, black-lunged pubescent chimneysweeps in nineteenth-century London... Dusting is, for the Bohemian, counterproductive, a thief of time. When the poem is read aloud or published in a literary journal, when the painting is finally hung on the wall, when the film is premiered, the dust that collected during creative days and nights is of no consequence...
Hear, hear! Another?
It is splendor in which the Bohemian lives, not squalor—the splendor of the creative mind—and it requires ingenuity, free-thinking and nerve.
I rest the author’s case!

As for drawing and meditating, after six months of discontentment with my stillness project blog I’ve finally pared its look down to bare bones. No more pastels. (Pastels do not suit me.) I wanted that blog to be uncluttered, and now it is even more so--purely black and white and grey--and I like it much better. See what you think by clicking here.

David Grath has reappeared with a gallery presence in Northport! Conveniently for both of us, the new gallery is a side room directly off the bookstore. If features paintings and posters both, so there is something for every art-lover’s budget.

Soon (but after the 4th of July, close upon us tomorrow) I’ll set up links in the right-hand column of Books in Northport to all of my Burger Shack stories so far published here in the blog, adding as the final three are posted. My current thinking (subject to change of mind) is that the final story will go up in early to mid-August. But we’ll see about that as the weeks whir by.

If you’re in Leelanau County these days, you probably saw the very nice feature piece in the Leelanau Enterprise about Bill O. Smith’s book, Chickadees at Night. “I always wondered about that,” said one of my bookstore customers as she brought a copy of the book to the counter for purchase. “What do birds do at night?” Smith’s book for children provides an imaginative answer, with charming illustrations by Charles R. Murphy. Smith does give a serious list of chickadee facts at the end of the book, for those who want “Just the facts, ma’am.” And don’t forget that Smith will be at Dog Ears Books next week, on Thursday, July 12. He’ll be here from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will do a recitation (“not a reading”) from his book. All are welcome, with parents, grandparents, kids and birders especially invited.

Thunderstorms, heat, humidity, fireworks. Does all that work together? I remember one summer it did, when we watched Northport’s pyrotechnic display from the beach in front of the home of friends, lightning and dark clouds cooperating rather than competing with the fireworks for a very memorable evening. Wherever you will be this Independence Day, on the road or on the water, be safe and enjoy the holiday.


Gerry said...

Now that is an interesting collection of news 'n' views. David's gallery looks splendid - the perfect setting for his work. Bill O. Smith came to Stone Circle and recited from his book--and I was busy over at the other end of things and missed that part. (So many mistakes, so little time.) I hope you have a fine week, both in and out of the bookstore and the gallery and the holiday celebrations.

Dawn said...

All good news! Especially that dust is acceptable in it's place. I agree totally! Love the new look of the blog which I am behind (again) in reading...and love that you have David's gallery so near! I too have wondered what birds do at night, so I will have to read the book to find out. Have a great week, it all looks fun.

P. J. Grath said...

Here I was, afraid my comment in reply to Gerry's might have posted twice, and it didn't appear at all. Now, can I remember what I said? Not a chance! --Oh, miracle! I remember! Gerry, I said you should not do any dusting on the holiday--TODAY!--because the Cowboy, at least (if not Miss Sadie and Miss Puss), is a total Bohemian and would rather have spontaneous PLAY any time, rather than sit around waiting for fun while you do housework.

Dawn, I don't recall if you have little nieces and nephews, but if so they will love Bill's chickadee story. Adults will love it, too, of course. It is charming.

Again, happy 4th to all!

P. J. Grath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.