Some relate to one another through subject and some through composition or color. Pairings might be humorous, poignant, startling or inspiring. In fact, the entire book will inspire you.
I was an avid reader as a child. The Enoch Pratt Library bookmobile came every other week to my elementary school,
But I wasn’t lacking for books at home either. I spent my $1 weekly allowance on either film for my camera or books. I had a 50-book collection of The Bobsey Twins along with other popular books at the time: Albert Payson Terhune’s dog books, Walter Farley’s horse books, and various mysters— Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, Trixie Beldon.
I could also go downstairs to our basement and find books such as the American Kennel Association’s thick book of pictures of all the approved dog breeds. I could look up anything in the complete set of The Book of Knowedge.
I remember finding a thick green book. Most books were hardbacks then and had no book jacket with a synopsis and other information. The title on this green book was Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I picked it up and read it, losing myself in a time and place strange to me.
This was in the 1950’s. We didn’t have slavery any more. My grandmother did, however, have a “colored” maid named Martha. I never did know her last name. Although my sisters and I were always taught to call adults Mr., Miss or Mrs. (this was before Ms.), we only knew my grandmother’s maid as Martha. Funny thing was that, at the time, I didn’t question why we were allowed to call an adult by her first name.
I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, grew to love the slave characters in the book and cried at the sad parts. I re-read the book one or two times more. I felt close to the characters. They were like family. I was happy when they were happy and suffered with them through their miseries.
I once heard a speaker from the National Endowment for the Arts talk about how lack of reading, fiction in particular, was affecting involvement in the arts, including the performing arts. We were becoming a nation without imagination and curiosity, a people who didn’t find pleasure in fantasy and pretend, a community interested in facts more than play.
I think there’s another effect, too. Waning empathy. I remember how I climbed inside the heads and hearts of the characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel. I felt for them. I imagined their feelings. I learned to empathize.
Stowe's influential novel about slavery, Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, was first published in book form March 20, 1852, by J.P. Jewett of
10,000 copies were sold in the first week, 300,000 within the first year. The many different editions published in
March 19, 1963, folk singer Pete Seeger was making news. He and some other musicians involved in political protest of that era were banned from Hootenanny, a popular weekly musical television show. He protested the Vietnam War and participated in the civil rights movement. His song, We Shall Overcome, has become a classic. Seeger performed with Bruce Springsteen at the 2009 Presidential Concert, two days before the inauguration of Barack Obama. (Photo http://www.hrcr.org) Seeger will be turning 90 this year.
In case you were wondering what we did this weekend...
Friday night, we saw a screening of the documentary movie, Darius Goes West. Darius Weems has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and travels across the country with eleven friends on a mission. Watch this video. It explains everything. We met Darius at The Windup Space where the movie was shown. The movie is uplifting and creates awareness of Duchenne multiple sclerosis. It's one I highly recommend especially for students.
Saturday morning, I photographed the Baltimore Burn women's football team during their practice. Women between the ages of 19 and 49, from diverse backgrounds, turned out for a grueling practice on Saturday morning. I'm not all that interested in football but had a great time shooting the pictures. They are a diversified, talented, friendly...and tough group of women.
Saturday afternoon was the opening of Connie Imboden's photography exhibit. If you are unfamiliar with her work, you should check out her Web site. Her photos, some taken in a swimming pool, others taken with mirrors, are dark literally and figuratively and reach out to those hidden corners within us. You cannot remain unmoved by her images. The image here is from the cover of her new book, Reflections, 25 Years of Photography. In his essay in the book, Julian Cox describes Imboden's work as "passionate, haunting, beautiful and terrifying."
Saturday night we had tickets for the late performance of O'Malley's March, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's band. The occasion was the release of their new CD. I'd never heard the group before but I'd seen O'Malley in an impromptu Blues Traveler performance at Art Scape. I enjoyed this Saturday night performance. This performance was high energy celtic music played with the pureness of musicians who love what they're doing. Their enthusiasm generates a joy in the audience that creates a hangover of the best kind.
Finally, we were able to catch the last set of Kevin Robinson's group, LA&the Unusual Suspects, at the Fireside Inn in Glen Burnie. The talented group plays a mix of motown rock and soul. They inspire listeners to move and move some more. Friday night was no exception.
I first heard Kevin at the Baltimore Museum of Art at a special event where artists were invited to respond to paintings in the museum's collection. Kevin played an original composition inspired by Matisse's Blue Nude. The depth and texture of his music and performance drew me in.
Next weekend? 333 Coffee House and Iranian New Year celebration.
A walk to yonder, in the middle of a clearing peppered with old beer cans, and a look in a pile of rubbish turned up a book and a handwritten note. The book was a paperback edition of Listening to Prozac by Peter D. Kramer. The note was printed in ink and dated March 11. From the freshness of the paper, it was probably this past Wednesday.
“Woke with high hopes at 10:00, shower and clothing handy. Hopes of friends today, but fell ill. Now in woods, big clearning with beer cans and firepits. The constant movement of animals disturbs me. Plans of smoking more weed in secluded spot. Wheathor overcast and cold with threat
of rain. Plan for today is nothing. Feelings of depression to arrive back.
by the seed of the tetragrammaton and Elbereth, etc. [?] will [?] for something [?] Sadly the moon waxes strong tonight but the clouds will obscure it's view. I do pine for it’s rays.”
What does it all mean?
Took the note but left one in its place:
“Dear Note Writer,
You are not alone.
(If this sort of thing fascinates you too, you might want to check out Found.)
As of 5 p.m. today, this was one of the top sellers on Blurb and one of my pictures is in it. Click on the book cover image to check it out.
“We're happy to announce that Parallel Perspectives, the first iStockphoto coffee table book, is ready. And it's hot.
There are more than 65,000 iStock artists around the world now. We wanted to capture the unique, personal moments all those different sets of eyes have witnessed in their corner of the world. This book is our visual atlas: the world as iStock sees it.
The book is available at Blurb in both paperback and hardcover. 100% of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to Charity: Water. So not only are you getting the best of iStock to put on your coffee table, but you're helping out a great cause.” http://www.charitywater.org/
David’s Aunt Alice just celebrated her 102nd birthday wearing a sparkling dollar store tiara and matching plastic earrings. Alice reminded us (several dozen times), “Each day is a gift.”
After a snow storm, this morning I looked outside my window and found a gift. This Japanese Red Maple, denuded by winter, wore thousands of diamonds. Priceless!
Photos © by Bonnie J. Schupp