Monday, January 9, 2017

The Trajectory from Philosopher to Activist Is Like the Curve of a Single Brushstroke Across a Large Canvas

Saw the Diebenkorn exhibit at Baltimore Museum of Art Saturday, holy the fuck. The exhibit focused on Matisse's influence on Diebenkorn, the BMA long known for its Matisse connection/collection, so there would be a Matisse next to a Diebenkorn influenced by that particular Matisse. Let me employ the full range of my palette of language to describe art: Diebenkorn kicks Matisse's ass. Diebenkorn kicks my tines, I vibrate in front of some of them. Earthgirl and I are going back next weekend.


Julie Carr

I’ll keep explaining—because maybe you still don’t get it
Those children in California (substitute any state), dead from gunfire—
Let me begin again in a little roof garden with my friend
A perverse reader, he listens to my stories as if they were TV
I mean he mocks me lovingly on the roof and at the library book sale
My friend is not a banker but a prison activist
He used to be a philosopher, but like many philosophers, he’s taken a turn
that should be easy to understand
The trajectory from philosopher to activist is like the curve of a single brushstroke across a large canvas
Artists in the fifties paid attention to that
I hate flat language like this, but I’m pretty flat
sometimes. You have to be your own dictator
and the law is, hate yourself if you have to, but don’t stop doing the thing you said you were going to do
As I tell my daughters often
Emotion is a site of unraveling (JB)
I admit, gripping my T-shirt
I wish I were writing in prose an unfolding intensity that shocks history professors and prison activists equally
Later, in the grass, we’ll practice gymnastics and that way contribute our sweat
to Our Ephemeral City


  1. 1)since diebenkorn "vibrates your tines", i wonder if you will attend the following event

    JAN 12 · 7:00pm–8:00pm
    Curatorial Talk: Senior Curator Katy Rothkopf on Matisse/Diebenkorn

    Hear Senior Curator Katy Rothkopf’s insights on the conception and development of Matisse/Diebenkorn and how the artists’ works have been paired in this landmark exhibition

    2)julie carr quotes "emotion is a site of unraveling (JB)"

    it doesn't sound so much like borges, and typically borges is abbreviated JLB, so i dug a bit to find that judith butler is the theorist and writer being referenced

    i am not acquainted with her work, but using google scholar, i have found and downloaded a couple of books by her

    Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence

    Giving an account of oneself

    i now have butler's books on my laptop, while my physical copy of daniel j. siegel's "mind: a journey to the heart of being human", which i ordered from b&n earlier this morning, is still days away from arriving

    on the other hand, i can now watch speeches & read interviews and articles featuring siegel covering some of the ground of the book

    on the other other hand, judith butler appears in a number of youtube videos as well

    and julie carr the poet, as well as julie carr the life reinvention coach, also have youtube videos

    youtube is so full of a number of things
    that i'm sure we should all be as happy as kings -- adapted from RLS (3rd entry at

    1. I've posted her before, search her name top left corner. I think she's !

      Thank you very much for the (JB) - , and all research, insights, comments.

  2. I was just going to say chairs.

    Stellar post in so many respects. Honored to be included! Never heard of Diebenkorn or Halstead. The world is wide. Hadn't thought about Mojave 3 in years and years (tho' I drove through the desert last year!). Will be working my way through remaining links.

    "You have to be your own dictator..." Wait. Walt Whitman said what?

  3. And, of course, Slowdive.* It's always a good day for Slowdive.


    1. Of the three, I like Mojave 3 and Halstead solo more than Slowdive, and I love Slowdive.

  4. carr writes Our Ephemeral City

    this reminds me of LFB's (#2 in the slang, chat and pop culture category at Emerald City of Oz* - a possibly intended reference

    everyone is, no doubt reminded of "the eternal city" i.e. rome
    but maybe carr is just wanting to emphasize how everything changes, rather than to focus our attention on rome per se - quondam republic, then empire, currently corporate headquarters for a particularly successful and particularly flawed version of christianity

    this summer a group from our parish is traveling to rome, accompanied by our young associate pastor - "ten days with me, your fondest dream or your worst nightmare" he said, jocularly

    spouse and self have been to rome separately, back in the previous millennium, and are not going on this trip

    *[from a google scholar search] From Vanity Fair to Emerald City: Baum's Debt to Bunyan
    JK Franson - Children's Literature, 1995 -
    ... In The Emerald City of Oz (1910), Baum brings Dorothy's concern for Em and Henry to a happy ...weaknesses typical of adults who have grown up in the City of Destruction ... much better than Kansas, truly "a family-style Utopia" (Nye 12), but not their eternal destination ...

  5. also see

    in which we read that, in an article entitled "the utopia of oz", s.j. sackett speculated that

    children who read the Oz books would be influenced to be good children in the conventional sense of the word, with an especial disposition toward charitable or benevolent actions. But we can say also that they would have been influenced to
    believe in the freedom of the individual, in the voluntary acceptance of responsibility,in progressive prison reform, in the proposition that money is relatively unimportant in life, in the possibility of making a better world, in the pleasures of work, in th esignificance of contentment, in nonconformity, in the superiority of man to machine, in the need for permitting both sexes to share equally in the good life, in the folly of war, in reverence for life, in a truly substantial education, and in the need for the intellect and the emotions to be brought into harmony.

    i read a lot of those oz books as a child - all the ones they had on hand in the falls church public library in the 1950s - "as the twig is bent, so grows the tree"