Monday, October 19, 2009
I wasn't sure if Maurice Sendak were still with us. He co-produced Spike Jonzes' film adaptation of his book Where the Wild Things Are.
I only realized how I felt about it about three quarters through. I felt very ill at ease and puzzled and at odds with the timing. Just like childhood in other words. Kind of sick in my stomach but mesmerized and frustrated. That's how it was perfect. No gimmicky crap or wooden child actor lines. Just vessels trying to keep their contents from making them fucking nauseated. So utterly whittled down. No hokey magic or filler.
Some Jungian sort of play. That difficult force of creation more demanding in some than others running amuck, essential but so needy and difficult and high and low. So loyal, holding you to the highest degree of expectation and esteem. That thing that forces you to do it better, do it again, obsess and seek. That thing that blessedly wrings out all the hollowness and is simultaneously a curse to control.
I had been waiting for it. I thought I would be able to escape into it. Sweet and easy to deal with. Not really. I'm thankful for that. Maybe I'm just really vulnerable right now. And this and that and hopandskip an d throw up a little and doncha wanna feel it in yer bones? Someone's always falling out of the goddamn boat.
It's stealing season. Bring me fruits on a tray, on celluloid, on rotting pages or howling gibberish across Liberty Avenue. Just STOMP OFF THE FUCKING ICE IF YOU'RE COMING IN.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I've been reading and re-reading a book of letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke. In 1907 he went to Paris for a time (among other places) and wrote letters to his wife nearly every day.
These were compiled specifically for this publication because he talks at length about Cezanne. He also writes of Van Gogh and Rodin, but the insight surges strongest from his shared thoughts on the former. Apparently, the painter was a significant influence for Rilke's work. And Cezanne was a serious, devoted and strange man. Strange to most, I suppose. A stern and ridiculed personage. Children actually harassed him. They actually threw rocks at him. This is noteworthy to anyone nostalgic for a supposedly bygone era where great art was recognized and respected. There is always a generation of children ready to hurl stones.
Rilke went to a local pavillion day after day and spent a great deal of time with the Cezannes on display. This was nearly a year to the day after the old man died. The understanding of painting he displays in his writings to his wife is profound. Does anyone not involved with the brush and filth look at work like this? It was inspiring to know that an audience of such sincerity and brilliance could be there. So that it's not all stage tricks and vacillating between bloodthirsty devotion and flabby doubt.
The manner in which he corresponds with his wife makes me desire to hear them have a conversation. He writes of Cezzane attaining the sensitivity and discipline of a saint. Having done so one could possibly approach everything with love. Rilke exposes himself as one whom loves without celebrating himself for it. Birthing the ability to love and then cheaply touting it robs it of meaning.
And then there's Cezanne. He is compared to a dog more than once. Haggard, faithful. He was found unconscious in the road after getting caught in a rainstorm while he worked. He was dead some days later. He himself reportedly neglected to show up to his mother's funeral because he was "with the motiff." But that's just sensationalism, really. What he did, the manner in which he conducted his life around his work is in the work itself.
It's exciting to read about the relationship between two poets. I don't know if Cezanne were aware of Rilke or his work, but I've come back to Cezanne through an initial connection to Rilke. From there I look again at Matisse and Picasso, George Condo and Laura Owens. The rippling out of thought and creative acts. Pleas for sense linking one generation to the next. There is a disturbing level of numbness to the past among my peers.