The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger: Friends and Moments Like These
Ron Silliman's recent musing about his blog and the possiblity of perhaps retiring it (as reported by Harriet and Bookforum.com: when he listed these links he listed them under the comment "reports of my demise...a wee bit premature, don't you think?") brought some thoughts to this blogger not only about long term blogging, but long term friendship as well. Although It's been ages since I've cornered every person in sight and waxed euphoric about blogging (still feel that way, whatever might be said about Facebook and Twitter) like Ron, as much as I still value this context I don't find as much time to blog as I did, say, back when I started here in 2003. I wrote to Ron immediately, as many others did, to suggest that he continue by employing guest bloggers and volunteers to post the links, for example. The idea of Ron's ending his blog, although I would well understand it (look at how much work he has put into this project for 8 years), made me feel sad, though at this point in my life, seeing the end of various eras has become, also sadly, almost a routine experience. For myself, several years ago I decided I had to go back to reading books a whole lot more often, and for longer periods of time, so gradually I've been reading blogs less (not Ron's, which I've read nearly every day since its inception, as well as wood s lot). This decision had gradually led to my writing much less often in this space, but still, I don't think I would ever seriously consider ending this blog. For one thing, I would lose the opportunity of posting announcements and the occasional reviews I still write. And of course, I could not imagine not posting my Contradicta, although that possibility has been suggested.
Let's just look at some of the events I attended this weekend. Ok, I won't go into details about the movie Jane Eyre. I'll just say I liked it. And yes, I am not afraid of sentimentality, and this movie is rolling in it. Lovely cinematography, good acting, great story. What's not to like? Then we went over to the free night at the Whitney and said goodbye to the Hopper/Realism show (incredible) and checked out Glenn Ligon: brilliantly varied, moving, at times extremely saddening, a must see. That was Friday. When we got home we watched Hurt Locker. Chances are, you already know all about that: a frightening story about an heroic group of US Army bomb specialists working during the Iraq war, including a study of why one specialist compulsively keeps going back for more. Filmed by a woman director!
On Saturday Toni and I responded to an invitation by the artistic collaborative team Ligorano Reese. We had the immense pleasure of a private viewing in their studio of their newly completed piece The Fiber Optic Tapestry: 50 Different Minds. As I was idly crunching some almonds and sipping on a Brooklyn Lager, I was equally idly glancing at a group of nine large metallic cubes pinned to the wall, that consisted of squares of wiggly lines, weavings of constantly shifting symmetrical patterns and colors. Marshall was explaining that these were made out of fiber optic threads woven together and scratched open to expose the colors that were programmed to correspond to information pouring into them moment to moment from the internet. The two streams of information consist of flight patterns from various airports and certain colors as they are mentioned on Twitter. Since I do use Twitter to post my Contradicta (if you don't know about this check out the sidebar to your right) I found this particular stream of great interest. The other stream coming in are flight patterns which also interests me, somewhat negatively I must admit, since I reside under a jet path. But that's another story. As I watched these patterns for a couple of hours, chatting with various friends of Marshall and Nora's as they came by, I became more and more mesmerized and excited. The patterns are beautiful in themselves, but there is another factor I found particularly engaging. It is my belief that our brains process far more information that we are ever able to recognize, "digest" or even directly perceive. As a psychoanalyst and as a writer I have always been fascinated by manifestations of the unconscious. Yet the Ligorano Reese 50 minds fiber optic tapestry transcends this literal notion. Watching it, you have the feeling of a living, breathing, organic being, an artistic android, if you will. As I watched, I had the feeling of being spoken to in colors, forms and patterns, that somewhere, somehow my brain was processing countless bits of information while at the same time eliminating that pesky middleperson, language. Marshall told me that the first buyer of the piece spoke extensively about the musical aspect. I couldn't agree more. The other fascinating factor is how the piece, ten years in the making, encompasses aspects of two earlier careers conducted by the collaborators: Marshall was a poet (in my opinion, still is) and Nora was a textile designer (obviously can't stop). The piece sings of their collaboration as it listens and sings to the world listening and singing to itself.
Sunday found us at 4 o'clock attending yet another great free concert at the Brooklyn Public Library, central branch, which is fortunately steps away from us. Today we listened to soprano Risa Renae Harmon accompanied on the piano by Tyler Wottrich. She sang lieder by Handel, Mahler, Faure, Turina, Rossini, Walton and a medley of songs by George Gershwin. Tyler Wottrich sensitively and with great precision played some Preludes by Debussy (he is a summa cum laude graduate in piano performance and math!). Both performances were excellent and Toni and enjoyed them immensely. There were songs in German, Spanish, Italian, French and English sung in a dramatic, humorous and wonderfully theatrical way by Hartman. We have attended many concerts at the Library this year and this was one of the best. With only a few minutes in between events to stop for the amazing chicken dumpling soup at Excellent Dumplings on Lafayette we hurried to the stunningly beautiful Synagogue for the Arts on White Street to see the third in a series of four performances of the Sanctuary Project. This is the result of a year long collaborative project including two friends of ours Joanna Fuhrman,and David Shapiro. The Sanctuary Project. It was wonderful hearing poems read by two of our friends, and several others, sung by a superb soprano Katherine Dain, and played by an excellent small orchestra including Jonathan Engle (flute), Ben Ringer (clarinet), Arthur Moelier (violin), Jen Herman (viola), Andrea Lee (cello) and Evi Jundt (piano). The composers were: Andre Bregegere, Mohammed Fairouz,Raphael Fusco, Laura Koplewitz and Alex Shapiro. Besides Fuhrman and Shapiro, the other poets were Ron Buchert, Yerra Sugarman and Ryan Vyne. Originally performed at Carnegie Hall on Maech 21, the next and last performance will be on April 21st at the WMP concert hall. I will tell you I enjoyed every moment of this huge 2 hour performance of works by five composers and five poets, and if you love contemporary music and poetry this is a wonderful opportunity to hear it. Special hint: Katherine Dain's superb singing is strong, tuneful, pristine, flawless, inexhaustible.
And, with friends and moments like these, why would I ever stop blogging? And my bet is that Ron Silliman feels the very same way...