A Wreath of Oranges

orange wreath

Orange wreath at Recuerda mi Corazon

Why not make a wreath for the holidays? Tutorial HERE

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When love leaves without you

This morning I had the radio on full blast. Bruce was singing “ nobody knows honey where love goes but when it goes it’s gone gone “.  Sofia no doubt would have agreed.

the radio was a philosopher

Sofia Tolstoy (1844-1919) was just a babe in the woods when she met Leo Tolstoj.  He was ambitious, she was romanitic.  When they married Sofia was only 19 years old, Tolstoj 34.  Right after the honeymoon,  Tolstoj gave his bride his sexually explicit diary to read.  Not only was she overwhelmed, but Sofia’s dreams were so shattered that it was impossible to glue them together again.

For about 57 years, Sofia, too, kept a diary.  She was a gifted writer and effortlessly created portraits of  Tolstoj and their entourage.  From the diaries we learn that it was Sofia who was responsible for creating a Happy Home for her husband and their numerous children.  Not only did she organize home and finances, she also copied Tolstoj’s manuscripts over and over again as well as oversee their publication.

she lived in his shadow

Sofia’s diaries show just how much her life was dominated by her husband and how she felt stressed out by his demands. His lack of appreciation made her feel lonely and used.  On more than one occasion, she flung herself into the family pond hoping to die and free herself from delusion and depression.

maybe the pond was a solution

Fame went to Tolstoj’s head. He gave up writing to become a guru attracting a variety of followers.  Some were in good faith, others were simply schemers the most ferocious being Vladimir Chertkov.  Chertkov competed with Sofia for Tolstoj’s affection and consideration.  She truly loved her husband whereas Chertkov wanted to appropriate his guru’s genius for himself.  Chertkov successfully alientated husband and wife and  organized Tolstoj’s departure from the beloved family home he’d shared with his wife of almost 50 years. But the boys’ odyssey was brief ending up in a tiny railway station 80 miles away from home. Tolstoj became gravely ill and when Sofia learned of her husband’s whereabouts, she rushed to be near him.  But his followers prohibited her from visiting her dying husband.

she watched his death from the window

Love is not always fair.

 

drawing

(from The Diary of Luz Corazzini, Cynthia Korzekwa © )

 

Related : Sophia Tolstoy, Not the Woman You Thought She Was + Una vera Karenina dietro ‘Guerra e pace’ + The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy review + James Meek: rereading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
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Why not write the unthinkable?

A Capricorn like me, Lynda Barry grew up in a racially mixed neighborhood in Seattle. She herself was a blend of Irish, Norwegian and Filipino. Unfortunately, diversity only created conflict. Looking for distractions from her unhappy family life, Lynda started drawing cartoons, inspired by the idealized The Family Circus, a syndicated comic strip consisting of a single captioned panel set inside a circle.

some families live in circles, come in squares

Lynda finally escaped her yucky ducky home life when she enrolled in college. Here, at Evergreen State, she met two people who were to have a major influence on her life: her painting teacher, Marilyn Frasca, and fellow student, Matt Groening, who would later become famous for The Simpsons. When Groening became editor of the college newspaper, he published Lynda’s outlandish cartoons often based on her own childhood. Lynda not only found a way to smooth the edges of her abrasive childhood by transforming it into comic relief, she also initiated a cartooning career. Her comic strip, Ernie Pook’s Comeek, (1979-2008) brought her recognition and several invitations to the Late Night Show with David Letterman.

one ate the donuts, the other ate the holes

Today Lynda is not only an award winning author, she also teaches. Her highly popular workshop, “Writing the Unthinkable”, focuses on memory and mind excavations using the diary as format. The method underlines the relationship between the brain and the hand, between the written and the visual.

The diary, says Lynda, is not about recording what you’ve done in the past 24 hours. What goes in the diary is all you notice once you get off the hamster wheel and become aware of the present like a Be Here Now experience inviting you to become aware of the world around you. Her Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor is basically the lesson plan book for her workshop.

it was time to get off the hamster wheel

One popular workshop assignment is taken from Ivan Brunett’s cartooning book: draw a cat, a car, a castle first in three minutes, then in one minute then in 15 seconds then in 5 seconds. This exercise reminds me of Matisse’s swans. Matisse often spent the day sitting in a boat drawing swans. He drew their every detail only to later carve them down into contour lines. Going from Baroque to Minimalism, Matisse was a master at turning excess into essence.

he turned excess into essence

Lynda stresses the importance of the image.  She sites  V. S. Ramachandran’s Phantoms in the Brain experiment. A patient who’d lost his hand had the feeling that the hand was still there clenched in a fist.  It caused him much  pain but he didn’t know how to release the tension.  So Ramachandran built a box with two holes on the same side and a mirror dividing the box in half.  When the patient put his hands, real and phantom, into the box, the real hand was reflected in the mirror. When he clenched then unclenched his real hand while looking in the mirror, the phantom hand unclenched, too. The reflection of the real was able to liberate the ghost.

reflection liberated the phantom

For those who complain they have no time to write every day, Lynda suggests the Six Minute Diary: in just six minutes, reflect on your day then write a list of what happened, what you saw, what you heard and then an image related to these observations. Because drawing is a form of observation.

when you see the world, the world sees you

 Wittgenstein said that the aim of his philosophy was to show the fly  how to get out of the bottle. Just as the role of the diary is to open ourselves up and experience another level of awareness.

Wittgenstein's Fly

 

drawing

(from The Diary of Luz Corazzini, Cynthia Korzekwa ©)

 

Related:  LYNDA BARRY BRINGS THE COMEDY on ‘LETTERMAN’ + Lynda Barry: The answer is in the picture + Six Minute Diary + Lynda Barry youtube chanell + The Nearsighted Monkey tumblr blog + Lynda Barry Bio + Lynda Jean Barry + Lynda Barry’s Illustrated Field Guide to Keeping a Visual Diary and Cultivating a Capacity for Creative Observation + Drawing as Observation, Jan Altmann
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Volver the Cat and Emoticons

Volver is our cat.  We talk to him all the time and he understands us.  When he is scratching the furniture and we say NO, he stops scratching.  When it’s time to eat, we say PAPPA* and he comes running. When he snuggles next to us and we say WE LOVE YOU, he purrs.    (*pap)

PAPPA makes him run

Once upon a time, humans were like Volver. They didn’t need to know the meaning of words in order to communicate.

More complex than verbal communication, non-verbal communication is somewhat telepathic and uses body language, eye contact, and, above all, empathy. Once upon a time we used much more non-verbal communication but when demographics drastically changed, standardized communication was needed. Words replaced sensation. And, instead of integrating one form of communication with the other, the verbal mode of thinking completely took over.

they exchanged vibrations

Not too long ago, I was feeling a bit stressed and went to a wine bar near my studio to mellow out.  The place was packed. I looked around for an empty table and, not finding one, decided to leave.  A man sitting near the door made a gesture with his hand indicating the empty chair next to him.  It was an obvious invitation to sit down. The man, old but not elderly, had a pleasant face and seemed perfectly harmless. So I accepted his offer.

she drank wine with a stranger

He told me his name was Leonard and that he’d given up being a surgeon to write books.  A storyteller, his books sometimes put scholars on the spin cycle. His theories regarding the written word, for example, had created a lot of polemics.

According to Leonard, the invention of writing rewired the human brain. It created a society dominated by left-brain mentality typical of men.  That is, the abstract substituted the actual.  As a result, the holistic and iconic feminine right-brain  was put into limbo. The word was preferred to the image. Goddesses were substituted with a patriarchal monotheism that totally obliterated the female principle. Thanks to the written word, said Leonard, the misogynist manipulators had stigmatized the role of women in society.

they obliterated goddesses

Recently I decided to use homemade emoticons/emoji  for Facebook commentary for two reasons.  For one, I don’t like being transformed into part of a social engineering algorithm (as posted about HERE). Secondly,  the written word has a rigidity to it that the image doesn’t have. And, if you use any kind of social media, you need to protect your bio-rhythms from people out there desperate to externalize their anger and frustration.

Instead of word ping pong, why not use some emoticons/emoji of your own?  Not interpreted in the same way as words, images can intrude upon verbal thinking which will  frustrate troll-like thinkers. I mean, how can you fight with an emoticon?

Meaning and words are not necessarily synonymous.

drawing

(from The Diary of Luz Corazzini, Cynthia Korzekwa ©)

Related:  The Alphabet Versus the Goddess + timeline + The Alphabet vs. The Goddess Lecture by Dr. Leonard Shlain VIDEO + and, for art lovers and historians, ART AND PHYSICS is a must read! + Empathy and Ecofeminism + Alphabet vs. Goddess TIMELINE + Emoji as a language

 

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Beatrice Wood shocks herself

Not all diaries are meant for long wordy entries.  But it takes talent to sum up the day’s events in one sentence.

“A Line A Day” diaries are set up in such a way that each day of the month is divided into five parts on one single page so that the diary is used for five years. It doesn’t leave much space but, as the years progress, you can easily compare the present with the past.

one line a day diary

For c. 85 years, Beatrice Wood (1893-1998) kept “A Line A Day” diaries. She was able to stuff her daily activities into one sentence– an incredible feat considering the kind of life she led.

A rebel from a wealthy American family, the young Beatrice went to study art at the Julien Academy in Paris.  More than focusing on art, Beatrice focused on artists and Bohemian lifestyles.  With the arrival of WWI, she was forced to go back to New York.  Here she hung out with Duchamp & Co and was known  as Mama of Dada. Beatrice and Duchamp were involved in a ménage à trois  relationship with Henri-Pierre Roché, the author of Jules et Jim. Despite some gossip, Beatrice was not the inspiration for Catherine.  However, she did inspire the character of Rose in James Cameron’s Titanic.

she’d found love on the Titanic

With her ménage buddies, Beatrice created the Dada magazine The Blind Man mainly to defend the submission of Duchamp’s rejected R. Mutt  urinal in the Society of Independent Artists Exhibition in 1917.

For years Beatrice enjoyed acting but eventually became disenchanted with it because “You know, acting is very fascinating. But being an actress is not, because you become so concentrated on yourself.”

Thanks to the encouragement of Duchamp, she started drawing. But her true artistic passion became working with clay and glazes. Beatrice also developed an interest in Oriental Philosophy and, in the late 1940s, she moved to Ojai, California to be near the Indian philosopher, J. Krishnamurti.

clay waited for her hands

At the age of 90,  her friend Anais Nin convinced her to  write her autobiography, I Shock Myself. Beatrice lived to the age of 105.  When asked the secret to her longevity, she responded ”I owe it all to art, chocolate, and young men.” Other memorable quotes include “Celibacy is exhausting”  and “You can’t change the world, you can only change yourself.”

her clay sculptures had names like “chocolates and young men

She eventually began transforming her folk-like drawings into whimsical clay figurines that narrated her joie de vivre.

three women and a man

why have heads? she asked

 

drawing

(from The Diary of Luz Corazzini, Cynthia Korzekwa ©)

Related:  Académie Julian + Beatrice Wood One Line A Day Diary + Jiddu Krishnamurti  + Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts  +The “Real” Rose Calvert From Titanic

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Living in a world of voyeurs

Are you looking at your TV or is your TV looking at you?

A few years ago, Jason Huntley became suspicious when he noticed that TV commercials seemed to be especially tailored for him and his family.  With the use of a laptop, he discovered that there was an invisible bridge between his TV and his computer and that, unknown to him, data had been transferred from his home to the manufacturers of his TV, LG in South Korea.

Armchair travelling has reached a whole new dimension.

This phenomena is not just limited to LG.  Samsung and Vizio have been caught doing much the same.  And the ability to use TV & Co for espionage is so strong that Huawei has been banned in the US for fear that the Chinese will use this kind of technology for spying.

Are  you watching your TV or is your TV watching you?

Well this kind of spying could make some people happy.  For example, if you’re an exhibitionist anxious to do a striptease for an unknown Asian executive.  Or if you’re an unemployed actor anxious for an audience.

Standing in line just dying to watch you is Big Brother, metadata collectors, and hackers anxious to get your credit card number.

So dilemma of the moment:  What to wear this evening when I watch TV ?

She Danced for her TV

 

drawing

Related:  LG investigates Smart TV ‘unauthorised spying’ claim + Most smart TVs are tracking you — Vizio just got caught + Smart TV company Vizio was fined $2.2 million for tracking what customers watched without permission + WikiLeaks Adds to Samsung Headaches With Claims of Spying TVs + Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed + What Your Computer Could be Doing to Your Face + Why is Huawei banned in the USA?

 

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The Empty Page

 There was an empty page in my diary and its emptiness disturbed me.  Poor page, I thought, it must feel lonely.  So I decided to fill it up.

I was thinking about that page while riding the tram one afternoon. Because of the traffic, my tram stopped as did a tram coming from the opposite direction.  Looking out the window, I could see people in the other tram looking out the window, too. We scrutinized one another until both trams began to move and off  we were never to see one another again, the temporary snapshot gone forever. Trams, trains, and buses provide us with so many transient moments to reflect upon.

they shared a fleeting moment

In Agatha Christie’s “4.50 from Paddington”,  such a fleeting moment occurs for Mrs. McGillicuddy who’s travelling by train to visit our friend, Jane Marple. At a certain point, a parallel train going in the opposite direction passes. Mrs. McGillicuddy gives a quick glance at the passing train and unexpectedly witnesses a man strangling a woman. She reports it to the ticket controller who, because she is an elderly female,  doesn’t take her seriously.  But luckily Miss Marple does and proves that Mrs. McGillicuddy really had seen a murder take place.

He Strangled Her On The Train

Advice: when looking out a window, be prepared for what you’ll see.

they rode the bus to Chapultepec

Amacord.  Around 1936 I was on the bus to Chapultepec with Malcolm Lowry.  We were both startled when the bus came to an abrupt halt.  Looking out the window, we could see the body of a man on the side of the road. Not knowing whether or not he was dead or alive, we got off the bus thinking we could help but were told brusquely that Good Samaritans were not wanted. As we were being bullied, a petty thief pocketed the few coins near the victim and used them to buy a bus ticket. Then  the police came and shouted  váyanse de aquí (get out of here)!

they stared at his motionless body

Back on the bus, Malcolm and I sat in silence. That’s the way men are.  When women really feel the need to talk, men become hermetic. So, while Malcolm was taking swigs from his little flask of tequila, I mentally started filling in my diary’s blank page.

Even though Malcolm and I and everyone else  on the bus had seen the same thing, our perceptions of the event were all different. Because reality is something  very personal.

In 1902, Einstein began working at the patent office in Bern. And it was thanks to the train station  across the street from his office that he began to formulate his theory of relativity.

not all motion goes in the same direction

I first met Albert in the park where we both used to take walks.  Like most great men, he was very talkative about himself and his theories.  It was only because Albert was so simpatico that I would pretend to listen to him as we strolled together.  But to be honest,  I didn’t understand much of what he said. Plus it doesn’t take a genius to know that everything is relative. Nevertheless, some ideas were more intriguing than others.  For example, after daily observation, he noticed that  every train track had its own clock just as every observer has their own way of measuring elapsed time. Like the time it takes to wash dishes isn’t measured in the same way that it is for dancing a cumbia.

stillness doesn’t mean motionless

One day when I was feeling a bit down, I confided to Albert that sometimes I felt my life was too static.  Don’t worry, he said, your life is always in motion because, even though you feel you’re not moving, the earth you live on is. When the earth moves, so do you.

As for my diary page, the idea that it was blank was simply relative to the page next to it. Problem solved, it was time to move on.

drawing

(from The Diary of Luz Corazzini, Cynthia Korzekwa ©)

Related: The 100 best novels: No 68 – Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (1947) + Under The Volcano 1984 Trailer + Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry + note: “Under the Volcano” was written as a short story in 1936 then rewritten again years later as a novel +  Relativity Train + Theory of relativity explained in 7 mins video + Simple Relativity – Understanding Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity + Einstein,  Seven years a “cobbler”
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