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Posts Tagged ‘Seinfeld’

Was looking through some images of work from around 2006 and 2007 and came across this painting, The Middle Way. It really jumped out at me so thought I’d share it along with a blogpost from back in 2009 about a Henry Miller essay. The painting and the essay seem to fit together well.

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    From the very beginning almost I was deeply aware that there is no goal. I never hope to embrace the whole, but merely to give in each separate fragment, each work, the feeling of the whole as I go on, because I am digging deeper and deeper into life, digging deeper and deeper into past and future. With the endless burrowing a certitude develops which is greater than faith or belief. I become more and more indifferent to my fate, as a writer, and more and more certain of my destiny as man.

      – Henry Miller, Reflections on Writing

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This is a fragment of an essay, Reflections on Writing, from a book of essays, The Wisdom of the Heart, by Henry Miller, the great and controversial author. When I was young his books such as Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn were still being characterized as “smut” and many libraries didn’t have them on their shelves for fear the morality police would swoop in and raise a fuss. Probably many only know the existence and influence of his books from their use in a memorable Seinfeld episode, the one with Bookman the library cop whose hard-boiled dialogue still makes me hoot.

For me, I wasn’t so much attracted to his books by the raciness of the stories but rather by his way of speaking through his words and expressing views that I found at once to be compatible with my own. He observed and said the things that I  wished I could say with a voice and power I wished I possessed. I can pick up one of his books and open to a page anywhere in the book and read and be fascinated without knowing the context of what I’m reading, just from the sheer strength of his writing’s voice.

I see a lot of things in this particular essay that translate as well for painting or any other form of creation. It opens:

Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order to eventually become that path himself.

Substituting artist for writer, I was immediately pulled in. The path he refers to is the path I often refer to in my paintings, the path we all walk and struggle along on, trying to find the middle way between these upper and lower worlds.

It’s a good essay and one I recommend for anyone who creates in any form and struggles with the meaning of their work beyond its surface. For anyone seeking that path…

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George Steinbrenner , the polarizing owner of the New York Yankees, died yesterday at the age of 80.  To many fans of the game, especially for Yankee-haters,  he was the epitome of what went wrong with the game over the years, with his win-whatever-the-price mentality and larger-than-life bluster.  But if you were a fan of the Yanks, you probably grew to love the guy over the years for the same reasons. 

I liked the guy.  Over the years, there was a mellowing of his public persona and the focus went away from his public battles with Billy Martin and others to one that centered on his desire to win and his sentimental nature which led to his legendary generosity.  There are countless anecdotes about him talking to cashiers one day then having his people contact them the next with the news that Steinbrenner was putting them through college.  He started numerous foundations in cities around the country to send the children of fallen police officers through college.  He gave second chances to flawed humans, from the well known such as Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden to the many obscure folks who found themselves on the Yankees payroll after they had reached the bottom.  There are several stories out there of  people who Steinbrenner had come across over the years, who ran on to hard times with financial and health problems who were notified out of the blue that they were being hired by the Yankees as scouts.  They had no duties as scouts.  Nothing was required from them.  They simply received a paycheck for the rest of their lives.

I also liked his willingness to let others poke fun at him.  It made him an unlikely iconic figure in popular culture.  What other team-owner or businessman could host Saturday Night Live twice?  Then there’s his persona on Seinfeld with Larry David doing him as a staccato speaking loony.  It made Steinbrenner a cult figure of sorts.

Actually, Steinbrenner actually did appear on an episode of Seinfeld, although it was cut in the end and never aired.  It’s kind of funny. 

So, whether you hated or liked the guy or have absolutely no feelings, take a moment and watch  him be a good sport…

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Soft Dream of NightIt’s one of those Tuesdays.  I read things on the web and end up gritting my teeth at the intractability of people on both sides of any issue.  Some try to convince you of the truth and rightness of their cause through anecdote, giving dramatic accounts of single events with the hopes that this episode will sway you into seeing the world as they do.  I’m referring to a blog that had a debate on healthcare (among other things) where an anonymous comment came in decrying the horrors of the Canadian healthcare system, illustrating his point by saying he “heard” this past weekend of a story of a patient in Canada who had need of emergency colon surgery and waited three days for an operating room to open up and was finally operated on with only local anesthesia as orderlies held him down.

 When I read that all I could think of was a Seinfeld episode where Kramer, upon telling of a story he heard about Raquel Welch where she climbed the stage scaffolding and began pelting the stagehands below with spotlights, ended by saying “Something like that, it’s just gotta be true!

I am always amazed at the willingness of people to believe so much that they see or hear, no matter how far-fetched, if it serves their own point of view or self interest.  I guess that’s what separates us from the animals…

Anyway, I need something that makes me smile and this song from Canned Heat has always done that for me.  This  is Going Up the Country… 

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The Challenge Ahead

 

      From the very beginning almost I was deeply aware that there is no goal.  I never hope to embrace the whole, but merely to give in each separate fragment, each work, the feeling of the whole as I go on, because  I am digging deeper  and deeper into life, digging deeper and deeper into past and future.  With the endless burrowing a certitude develops which is greater than faith or belief.  I become more and more indifferent to my fate, as a writer, and more and more certain of my destiny as man.

      – Henry Miller, Reflections on Writing

 

This is a fragment from a book of essays, The Wisdom of the Heart, by Henry Miller, the great and controversial author.  When I was young his books such as Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn were still being characterized as “smut” and many libraries didn’t have them on their shelves for fear the moral police would swoop in and raise a fuss.  Probably many only know the existence and influence of his books from their use in a memorable Seinfeld episode, the one with Bookman the library cop whose hard-boiled dialogue still makes me hoot.  

For me, I wasn’t so much attracted to his books by the raciness of the stories but rather by his way of speaking through his words and expressing views that I found at once to be compatible with my own.  He observed and said the things that I  wished I could say with a voice and power I wished I possessed.  I can pick up one of his books and open to a page anywhere in the book and read and be fascinated without knowing the context of what I’m reading, just from the sheer strength of his writing’s voice.

I see a lot of things in this particular essay that translate as well for painting or any other form of creation.  It opens:

Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order to eventually become that path himself.

Substituting artist for writer, I was immediately pulled in.  The path he refers to is the path I often refer to in my paintings, the path we all walk and struggle along on, trying to find the middle way between these upper and lower worlds.  

It’s a good essay and one I recommend for anyone who creates in any form and struggles with the meaning of their work beyond its surface.  For anyone seeking that path…

_________________________________________________________

 

Name This Painting!Contest Reminder!

I’m asking for your help in naming this painting and am offering a prize (it’s better than you think though it doesn’t involve air travel or posh resorts) for the title that I deem fitting for the piece.

So put on your thinking caps and let me know your title for this painting.  Even if it’s not chosen as the final name, your title will be included on the painting’s reverse side for all of eternity.  Well, for an extended period of time.  I’m just not so sure about eternity.

So, submit your title by simply commenting or email me at  info@gcmyers.com

I look forward to your titles.

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