Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Literature Too Has an Essential Purpose

I believe that man . . . has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."  --William Faulkner 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Art Seen and The Art of Seeing

One tends to see--and find--what one is looking for. My little CoolPix camera always goes with me on my daily walk. I look for interesting and beautiful things along my way. Recently, on a lovely spring day with flowers in bloom, birds singing and beauty everywhere I'd taken a good number of photos along the way. Arriving home after one walk in which  I picked up a little broom and began my clean-up routine on the block where we live. For about ten minutes I scoured the surrounding block for cigarette butts, candy wrappers and other trash--and found plenty. When I'd completed my rounds it occurred to me that I'd not taken a single photo during the whole time I'd been doing my little around-the-block clean up project. The reason became suddenly clear to me: I'd been looking only for trash--so trash is all I saw. Had I been looking for beauty there was plenty to be seen. My self-appointed clean-up project had, in effect, acted like a filter, screening out all else except what I was looking to see. Look for beauty, and you'll see it. Look for trash and that's what you will see.

Of course this whole subject of how we see/don't see and visually "filter" our surroundings is a much bigger topic than this one little post. The is much more to think about and to say on the topic. More to follow in the days and posts ahead...

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Soul's Thirst

The essential purpose of art is to refresh and uplift the soul. Without a doubt, art can--and often does--serve other purposes. However when it is used in these other ways, it is veering away, to some degree,  from its essential purpose.

Every post which follows will develop this thesis.