Thursday, September 20, 2007

Light Blue buZZed

Light Blue
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I read a lot about art journals today and learned the names of "outsider" artists Lee Godie, Annie Hooper, and Fred Ressler. All of these names can be Googled and some of their work seen. In addition, at one gallery I found the work of Aimee Beaubien, whose grandmother used to write on the back of those square photos. She has taken the titles of many collage pieces from these writings, which have a delightful, unstudied charm. She combines old images with new ones. I was actually as interested in the grandmother texts as I was in the art works. I need a piece of text to caption this manipulated photograph and make it vibrate. Perhaps I should read all those family letters that are in storage in Prove after all.
Before Paul died, he asked me to be sure to get his journals. He wanted me to have them and work with them. I told him that of course his sister and mother would want them and that if he wanted me to have them, he shold put it in a good will. He never did. He was the second longest survivor in San Francisco with an AIDS diagnosis when he died in 1990. He died on the night before he was to have his sixth and last chemotherapy threatment for lymphoma. Before that he had many other illnesses and had had his spleen removed,
I have to admit that it was kind of a relief not to get his journals, which were in many of those black-bound sketchbooks. Reading them would have taken an immense amount of time. Even before he got sick he was a very self-centered person. One who struggled to be himself in what seemed to him to be a world intent on changing him. His long and complicated illnesses (in that firestorm time when we were just learning about HIV and so many people were dying in New York and San Francisco) made him ever more determined to follow the beat of his own drum. I am sure the journals were often a record of struggle.
But when his family and friends went out on San Francisco Bay to pour what seemed like only a double handful of white powdery ash into the breeze to be carried out over the Bay beside the boat, his sister read beautiful passages from his journal. The one I remember was about kites and kite flying--he insisted on flying kites every spring when the weather was suitable--I went with him several times. So it is good that she has the journals to care for.
I know I promised to talk about poetry tonight. It has been a good summer for that, and I should be able to do it tomorrow. In the meantime look up the poetry and essays of the Scottish writer Kathleen Jamie. Bless internet book finding and ordering!

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