Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blame My Hazelnut Muse

What Binds

A handful of hazelnuts before bed does the trick once more because, like Merlin when that shaman/magician/wildman ate them to dream visions, I saw things I could not expect.  What follows occurred after my eye lids closed.

Somehow I came upon a book that was more than a book. It was filled with nonlinear stories that could only be unraveled by those in the book. It was the book of a life and it answered a question in one of many ways that questions might be answered.  An attempt at an answer; at an unasked question.

It was a question that was not mine alone:  When I am gone does what I have done matter or does time simply erase? Does it all become landfill?

I have been talking with other artists about this, painters who have spent their lives making their own versions of beauty and happiness. When we are dead and become dust it won't be our concern. Our hands will be useless and quiet. Our work will be residue of a life.

So, in my dream I found a book by my friend James Moore. His books are usually skinny paperbacks, written in English in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries often about things that he has witnessed upon this planet where he is stuck and frequently he mentions his beloved and at other times his poems mention snow. These books have no pictures, save for the image on the cover. It keeps production costs low to fill the pages only with clusters of English words and not images.  If his words were weak or needed visual companionship he could always ask his beloved. But his words are enough and exactly what fill the pages, just so, to the readers delight, if you will.  In each book he uses the standard alphabet and a pocketful of commas to list those humans whom he wishes to thank and in the back of his mind he worries about who he may have forgotten to include. These are the people who bind.

And this book was quite different from all other books. For one thing it was very large and leather bound. It looked as though it would weigh 150 pounds, soaking wet, yet was light as a feather. The thick black leather cover bore embossed images of an Eadweard Muybridge, which for some reason was a puzzlement to behold.  No words on either the recto or verso of the book cover, only the silver stamped embossed series of photographs of a woman descending stairs.  On the spine were his name, JAMES MOORE, and these words: WHAT BINDS.

It looked like an old book with gilt edged pages, but upon turning a leaf, the page became flower-like, blossoming into an artifact from his life that bound him to others. A pop-up book?

I found turning the pages was a non stop illustrated journey, memento and artifact crammed. There were sheets of music, illuminated manuscript, and two of my own artworks I did not realize he had. It was and wasn't a surprise the two pieces on large sheets of hourglass-shaped rag paper were my pieces called, Non-Scientific Time.

Each page in WHAT BINDS lead to something new and I found a small cartoon included. When I touched that page I was transported to a room in the library that the bulldozer has erased and the poet-librarian who drew the cartoon-poem was there in the reassembled room and we looked at the book and she flipped the pages and they were different from what I had seen.  She asked if she might have this rare book for Special Collections and that is when I opened my eyes and knew the hazelnuts had worked.

WHAT BINDS is the book that we each carry and into which we scribble or paste something as it pleases us.      It is not landfill material. Everything fits and can be bound into this book.

Not Paris 2017 No #

Sandy Kinnee

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