Philosophical pirates, intellectual outlaws

Watercolor drawing / collage
Watercolor sketch from the Moleskine 

When I was young, probably in college, I’d occasionally hear a person talking about this or that luminary, describing them as a “Rhodes Scholar.” My lack of awareness at the time meant that I’d only ever heard the phrase, not seen it spelled out. I had no idea. In my adventurous young mind, I heard it always as Rogue Scholar, and that turned itself into something I longed to be. Was it some sort of philosophical pirate? An intellectual outlaw? How did one arrive at an occupation or a moment where ‘actual’ scholars began describing one as a rogue of same? There was an implied concurrence that such a person was, indeed, learned, an expert— but somehow off the beaten path, or got to it by some unknown route. Delicious. Intriguing.

I realize it all sounds rather silly, but the idea has never disappeared from my mind; it has percolated in the recesses. In retrospect, I’m sure I knew it was my own fiction, but I was loathe to lose or destroy the whim. It’s probably still what I want to be when I grow up. Perhaps, if I ever found a grant for creatives, recipients thereof will be known as Rogue Scholars™. (The title alone will act as the first phase of weeding, of triangulating appropriates* for the honor.)

.

*Ha! That’s an appropriation of an inappropriate word. Maybe appropirates.

Advertisements

Deeds and misdeeds

He was long ago sealed into to the wall— made part of the wall— with a spell. All the years since, visitors and passersby have presumed he’s just another sculptural embellishment of the palazzo. His consciousness remains, though— eyes, frozen, he still sees; his ears still hear. 

Being a mute and immovable witness is a torture for obvious reasons, yet his tenure has shown him the full breadth of human existence in miniature— from the most touching moments of affection between two people, to vivid misdeeds perpetrated against one another. 

He’s bone weary. Part of him wishes for an end to this helpless consciousness, but he remains ever alert for the next tender moment. It’s his undying hope that the tally of deeds v. misdeeds will always remain well out of balance.

Things bound with waxed sail thread and resin

drawing of mountains, riversMy subconscious has been working on a thesis for me lately; broadcasting things which on the surface (flattened and simplified by my waking mind) appear disparate, but on closer inspection are stitched together by a continuous thread.

Its thesis is about crafting sensible (or at least legible, recognizable) solutions, guides, codes to amorphous and unformed problems. Striving to find concrete solutions to riddles or puzzles only hinted at. Trying to map a place whose geography and even location is ever-shifting.

A reminder that, sometimes, the answers one wants or needs are unattainable because one is asking the wrong questions. It’s telegraphing this to me visually; that’s how I best understand the world. And the message coming through: I must widen my frame of reference, my view, in order to ask the right questions.

‘Maps for cephalopods’ is perhaps the most obvious— my subconscious’ version of hitting me over the head; a wry attempt at a movie-montage or voice-over exposition— and its point at least two-fold;

Continue reading

On drawing maps for cephalopods

Jellyfishes in Brooklyn Aquarium by Elizabeth DaggarWe were making aquariums out of materials that, while they looked appropriate, were perhaps not sturdy enough. There were three or four parts comprising each coffin-sized plexiglas case, but occasionally the filtration system was sending surges of too much water upwards at times, and we were concerned about leaving them in a room, filter on, alone. About malfunctions, accidental flooding.

Then there was one in which I was somehow creating maps or sets of directions for sea creatures; jellyfishes, crustaceans, cephalopods. There was something like a computer through which they could request help finding one another in the ocean, and my job was to fashion a map or drawing or set of instructions for each. My waking mind cannot conceive how this would be done, nor recall how I did it in that place.

To visitors who’ve recently discovered this place

self-portrait in EdinburghWordPress Discover did me the honor of sharing one of my recent posts yesterday, for which I’m grateful. I’m happy to say Hi! and thanks for reading my work. It means a lot when my words or images connect with people. So, thank you again.

As a number of you’ve just arrived via the portal of a recent Thunderstorm*, I searched through the archives to find other posts that have a similar tone, timbre, or general feeling. Below— a few bits n bobs that may also resonate.

Enjoy! Also, if you like drawings, urban / rural photography, explore the rest of this site.

The bird in my kitchen, and other prophecies

Some thoughts from April in Baltimore

Returning from Riis Beach after a light rain warned of a coming storm

From here I can see the curve of of the earth

A quiet wander through a green wood (part the first)

A Spring rain, soon forgotten

A telegraph from Elysium

Like smoke suspended in the calm

Scaffolding for memory

.

.

*It is odd timing that a post I wrote about a thunderstorm gained a wide new audience so shortly after the dreadful Hurricane that has done and continues to do so much damage in Houston. I’m sure the last thing anyone there cares to think about is rain, or storms, for a very long time— my heart and sympathies go to all who’ve been affected there.

Spaces

Photo of old book pages

In the ellipses between
drops of rain
In the space between pale night’s end
and grey morning

I find you.
I find forgotten things.

Between lines of writing
in the pages of books
yellowing in drawers
and on shelves,
In the leathery slips
between their bindings—

And in the spaces
between the notes of songs
not yet written.
In the dry crack
precipitating the death
of an incandescent bulb,
that moment the knob twists
(an old brass lamp)

I hear whisperings,
stories long forgotten
and faded—
or things confused
with memories or dreams,

hauntings.

I find everything, and
nothing.

In the spaces between
things, now, I find
space.