News from the Hudson Valley and some more Henri-isms…

It has been almost a week since I arrived back in New York.  I must admit the weather is more of a shock than any of the culture.  I am familiar with American culture, its pros and cons, etc…but my body has become acclimated to the weather on Paros and to me it seems mighty cold.  In reality it is a lovely summer morning with low humidity and promises to reach into the mid-80sF by the afternoon.  In Athens yesterday it was touching 100.  I imagine Paros was just as hot.

My mother’s age-related condition has progressed along a predictable path.  She is still bright and cheery but now has more blank moments, wondering if she has gone on a trip and has just arrived home or needing reassurance that she is at home.  These are easily alleviated worries and she forgets her fretting when reminded that she is indeed home and safe.  She is aware that something is going on with her mind and that, too, comes and goes.  She is very happy that I am here, that all of her children are happy, safe, having fun and doing well.  These parental emotions seem to be the foundation of her world-view.  I feel we are all very fortunate that at this point this is how life is for her: no anger, no paralyzing fear, no childlike tantrums.  I have heard nightmare stories of these events from others in regards to their elderly relatives.  We are lucky to not be experiencing that.  I hope we never do.

PAGE Journal, the literary magazine with which I have been involved, is coming to fruition.  After two years of building the publication from the ground up we are poised to go to press.  As Arts Editor I have had an easier task than some, but in this past week we have had to make some sweeping editorial decisions, both literary and visually, to bring the journal into focus and along a strong and steady beam.   There have been some personnel changes that will still require patience, tact and perhaps even a cold edge.  I feel that the Universe will tackle many of our dilemmas for us and we will be left to sweep up whatever crumbs, if any, remain on the floor.  As it stands, the journal is an excellent example of contemporary literary and visual art from this Northeast Oblong region: The Taconic, Berkshire and Litchfield Hills.  We have photographs, paintings, sketches, poetry, essay and fiction.   There is a short excerpt from R. W. Emerson, which stands as our manifesto, examining the role of the artist in society.  Our journal is inspired by Emerson’s own work with ‘The Dial’ and the transcendental movement in the 1830s.  In our own way we examine the role of the artist  and use the theme of ‘Place’ to guide us for this issue.  What, indeed, is my place as an artist (and a man) in today’s world?  I can become easily disheartened by what I witness and therefore find it easy to turn away from the world at large.  I can enjoy this reaction but in the end it serves me only in small ways.  The role of the artist, as I see it, is to remain a student, learn as much as possible and then bring that to the larger world, or audience.  This is the way the world changes, not by cataclysmic thunder, but through whispered gesture.

Here are a few short bits from Robert Henri:

“The student must look things squarely in the face, know them for what they are worth to him”

“Join no creed, but respect all for the truth that is in them.”

“The battle of human evolution is going on.”

“There must be investigations in all directions.”

“Do not be afraid of new prophets or prophets that may be false.”

“Go in and find out. The future is in your hands.”




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