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CategoryThe Spirit and Reality

A Surprise Communion across Continents, Classes, Centuries, and Cultures

. . .In dejection from all the awful and discouraging news about reactionary political victories, rampant viral sub-variants, catastrophic droughts, and increasing violence (as well as, for me, unhappy views about my own self), I found myself doing something that I’ve done on occasion over the years, especially under stress:  I was hand-writing, long past midnight, a list of my favorite artists and mystical writers.  That exercise can calm and comfort me. not just as an obsessive-compulsive ritual, but as a reminder of real treasures that I’ve been given, for inspiration and illumination.

The Self behind the Self – Juan Ramon Jimenez and Jim Carrey (yes, That Jim Carrey)

In certain of these posts, I’ve put together two stories or quotes that go at one thing from different directions, or whose common ground isn’t obvious on the surface, aiming to spark for you some realization that can’t just be given or explained.  This time, the two sets of words that I’ve joined come from two seemingly-almost-comically-different sources.  The first is a poem by Juan Ramon Jimenez, the Spanish poet who won the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature and was a leading figure in what is sometimes called (with good reasons, like the writing of his kinsmen Antonio Machado and Lorca).  The second set of words is from a speech by the American comic actor Jim Carrey.  Jimenez may not have had the same kind of extremely zany humor that Carrey has shown in his movie and TV career, but Jimenez was anything but a stiff.  One of his most wonderful books is a work of prose, Platero y Yo (Platero and I).  Platero was his donkey.

Poetic Photography and an Invitation to Fall in Love

In going through some boxes of my books, I unearthed a couple of treasures that I hadn’t seen in oh-too-many years. (Too few shelves, too little time!) One of them, called Dialogue with Photography, is a collection of interviews with master photographers. . . The book is filled with rareties and realities. When Imogen Cunningham is asked if Edward Weston ever bought one of her prints, she replies that he never had enough money to buy anyone’s work. In this and later posts, I’ll share with you some passages that I like especially, beginning with this from the wonderful Robert Doisneau. . . .

Addition to my ongoing, award-winning "Marion under the Moon" series

A New “Marion” and a New Clue

As the title of this post promises, here is the photograph that just last week joined my ongoing, award-winning “Marion under the Moon” series. Its title is “Dream of the Playground Melting into Night.” Several friends of mine, seeing it for the first time, have ha wildly differing emotional reactions to it . . . One male friend said that the image provides “mysteries upon mysteries”. . . .

“Blessed are those who mourn . . . who thirst after righteousness . . . the merciful . . . the pure in heart . . . the peacemakers. . .”

Today, I read a front-page article in The New York Times about how the “culture wars,” the political divisions in this country, are causing conflicts within church congregations, and driving … Continue Reading “Blessed are those who mourn . . . who thirst after righteousness . . . the merciful . . . the pure in heart . . . the peacemakers. . .”

Keith Carter and the Cloud of Mercy – Part 3 of 3

It’ll be tempting for me at times to get lost in exposition or explanation, but I want to stick as much as possible to what’s central to this series of posts: an experience that I had some years ago on August 28 in Israel that suddenly came to mind as I was looking at Keith Carter’s Fifty Years and thinking about his use of shallow focus.