Monthly Archives: February 2010

Yeeeees.

You’re A What? from Anthony-Masterson on Vimeo.

na daoine dúinn grá Gortaítear linn an chuid is mó

Henri Rousseau. Promenade in the Forest. c. 1886. Oil on canvas. 70 x 60.5 cm. Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland.

“we, however, are not prisoners.”

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. At Montrouge (Rosa La Rouge). 1886-87. Oil on canvas. 72.3 x 49 cm. Barnes Foundation, Lincoln University, Merion, PA, USA.

Fear of the Inexplicable

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished the existence of the individual; the relationship between one human being and another has also been cramped by it, as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.

But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in Poe’s stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us. We are set down in life as in the element to which we best correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter”

Mikhail Nesterov. Portrait of a Girl. Study for "Youth of St. Sergiy Radonezhsky". 1890-91. Oil on panel. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

*title is exerpt from “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats.

lessons

“There is, let us confess it (and illness is the great confessional), a childish outspokenness in illness; things are said, truths blurted out, which the cautious respectability of health conceals. About sympathy for example — we can do without it. That illusion of a world so shaped that it echoes every groan, of human beings so tied together by common needs and fears that a twitch at one wrist jerks another, where however strange your experience other people have had it too, where however far you travel in your own mind someone has been there before you — it is all an illusion. We do not know our own souls, let alone the souls of others. Human beings do not go hand in hand the whole stretch of the way. There is a virgin forest in each; a snowfield where even the print of birds’ feet is unknown. Here we go alone, and like it better so. Always to have sympathy, always to be accompanied, always to be understood would be intolerable.”

“In illness words seem to possess a mystic quality. We grasp what is beyond their surface meaning, gather instinctively this, that, and the other — a sound, a color, here a stress, there a pause – which the poet, knowing words to be meager in comparison with ideas, has strewn about his page to evoke, when collected, a state of mind which neither words can express nor the reason explain.”

— Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill

today, I conquered

Norman Rockwell, Skating Lesson

I’m back in school

Mary Cassatt. Young Woman Reading. 1876. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA.

Mary Cassatt. Young Woman Reading. 1876. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA.