Monday, May 24, 2010

Earlier today, it was the heat

bearing down on us . . . the heat like a thousand rattlesnakes hissing in the continuous burn of the sun. I slept well past noon, I shouldn't have, but when I awoke and went outside, it didn't seem to matter that I was unconscious, possessed by dreams I don't remember.

Much of my life is fixated on the missing things, what I don't have. As if projected on a screen in front of me, everywhere I go, I see what I am not, I see what I do not have.

I believe that if life is ironic in any way, it is ironic in how the things we deeply want, the things we pine for, are withheld from us at about an arm's length. What I mean by this is, in any moment your life can change, and that which you desire could easily stand before you. Not many times, but sometimes this happens, when our wishes come true and the world seems like a dream.

But for the remainder, we are nomads in the desert, experiencing mirages daily.

The heat effects the senses by a wrinkle, creasing the air until it feels like a blanket were wrapped over my head.

I have searched for objects far and near to hold my attention. Could this be related to the irony of life? That nothing ultimately holds our attention?

There is, however, a singular devotion that each of us can call our own. We become it over a lifetime, and this must be how a human soul can take on a definite form, and that form can be embedded in history.

The heat crawls, it moves across stunned windowpanes, and thick asphalt. And nothing is like the silence in summer, where the heat settles on parks and baseball diamonds, in suburban backyards, and fields of crops extending to the highway.

The heat waits, it lingers, and as it lingers, it grows, layer upon layer . . .

I'm easily distracted by the sun. It makes me want to go inside after a short while. I take refuge in the air conditioning of the hopeless cafe. Maybe I will see some more beautiful women who will avert their eyes when I look at them . . .

We remember our lives in a certain kind of narrative. That narrative proceeds from a point and moves forward. And then it drops off at the present and seems to hold that note forever, and we hear the monotonous note again and again, and that is the present.

The irony is that, as humans, we are condemned to living this incomplete dream. One part of the dream is real and the other part, unfinished. For the unfinished part, we busy ourselves with imagining new endings in countless ways. Summer abides in these moods of sweltering languor, when desire is shunned by the heat and souls are forced to move inside--

It is there I find my singular devotion. Where hours are abundant and empty, and every room reminds me of the bedroom I grew up in.

True splendor lies in recognizing the thing you've always had. All the longings, cravings, and wishes fall off like scales . . .

And while the heat is stirring outside the window, and the fields shimmering in the sun, I'm liberated inside my house, the dullest place in the land, a container of restless boredom on most days . . .

Ecstatic--because for the first time I am in possession of the part of the dream that is real.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

When I'm at the library

I write nonsense poetry in my journal, and several hours later, try to make sense of it . . . the only way of course, is to create something, a form, a pattern of allusions and metaphors that fit the foundation no matter how small or inconsequent that structure appears to be . . .

We start with nothing and build cities, empires, or just a treehouse with your name engraved on the trap door that opens when you want to jump out of your dreams . . .

I'll go to the college library today and sit in the cool wooden cubicles for awhile, and then I'll find a chair with velvet arms and a cushion to sink into . . .

It's here that I do my writing, my contemplating, here that I get my respite from whatever it is that preoccupies me . . .

I've been coming to this library for five years now--it reminds me of the library where I went to school in upstate New York . . .

Hardly in the summer do you find anyone in here. With the exception of a tiny murmur from the students by the computers, or a door to one of the study rooms, opening and closing, the library feeds on its own silence . . .

It's almost like a church, in its effect and the way I use this building . . . I come here to be saved. Saved from the tedium of life, saved from outlandishness and isolation, saved from my own recursive folly, saved from modern self-consciousness bearing down on the soul, saved from listlessness and anxiety, saved from noise and chaos, saved from . . .

I read literature also, but the books are not entertainments, they are like an assortment of maps I collect and refer to repeatedly, hoping to locate some miserable lost treasure inside of myself . . . I read verse, fragments, essays, entering the silence, brushing against a voice here and there that I can honestly relate to . . . something that echoes

The echoes in the library are continuous whorls, projected out of the ventilating system. But it is in these echoes and between them that I can hear my thoughts padding to and fro like busy workmen on a construction site, unsure whether to begin something or just wait for the boss to arrive . . .

I'm tempted by the line I haven't written yet, it lingers just ahead and I want to meet it with something worthwhile, something worth saying . . . ah, there it goes, into emptiness.

It's easy to despair!

The Book of Disquiet names every single version of the story of despair. Many of them are wrapped around a set of daily observations . . . How could this book be my holy word? Its pages are saturated in hopelessness, every movement to every act is quivering with a deep melancholy . . . but nothing sounds more true, nothing has the flavor of this life I am living except Pessoa . . .

Innocence may then seem like an angel that has come to save me from Pessoa's waking nightmare of endless banality, ongoing tedium. If only because innocence captures the spirit before it descends into these morbid fascinations and cynical spirals . . .

An objective eye can see the soul is lit by purpose. The animating force of the limbs--the activity of the mind--stirs with a single purpose.

Mine is to write in my journal, and then to transform these awkward ramblings into a page of clarity, to turn the nonsense into sense; it's all nonsense in our heads, but with reflection and serious study, we can create a form of expression . . .

If I could extract a story out of this, I would . . . my interactions today have been minimal. Threads of narrative stretch back to infancy, and we can pick them up wherever we like, but sometimes it's best to leave the stories where they're at, and build little garden walls around them.

I get my inspiration from these shut books demanding to be opened by the soul who needs them the most. I buy these books in used-bookstores, or I take them out of the library and return them when I'm done. I collect books compulsively, and many of them just sit on a shelf until the time comes to open them and see whether they'll do me any good as maps. My library at home reaches up to the ceiling . . .

I always have two or three books in my company, like good mentors. Even if my mentors are cranky old men, like Pessoa, I cherish them. They are the keys to my expression, my innocence.


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

What surprises me is . . .

the mass of caring I have toward an object,

any object--it can be big or small . . .

emotion clings to it--I need it

must have it

it defines me--

and then, after a period of time . . .

it can be three months, a day, or a half-hour

the object

does not hold the mysteries to my desires anymore.

What a strange feeling!

to go from a state of anxiety, of constant worry over a thing

to not wanting it at all--

seeming indifference, nonchalance . . .

what happened?

what happened in the mind?

I'm reading Eugenio Montale's Cuttlefish Bones, translated by William Arrowsmith. Here is the first poem in the volume:

Rejoice when the breeze that enters the orchard
brings you back the tidal rush of life:
here, where dead memories
mesh and founder,
was no garden, but a reliquary.

That surge you hear is no whir of wings,
but the stirring of the eternal womb.
Look how this strip of lonely coast
has been transformed: a crucible.

All is furor within the sheer wall.
Advance, and you may chance upon
the phantasm who might save you:
here are the tales composed and deeds
annulled, for the future to enact.

Find a break in the meshes of the net
that tightens around us, leap out, flee!
Go, I have prayed for your escape--now my thirst
will be slaked, my rancor less bitter . . .


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

After two days of steady rain,

the sun came out. I noticed among the people a feeling of joy, renewal. The cook at the Garlic Press usually has a dour face, but today she was snapping her fingers--to the music. I turned around and couldn't believe it was the same person.

Yes, the mundane is everything . . .

I chased after a rabbit just to see how far I could run . . . it wasn't very far.

There is this pull toward a greater livelihood. I am pulled by aspirations and dreams despite the absurdity of these dreams.

I am still alone today, but it's not so lonely.

Ignorance is easy--like sleepwalking. But then, you also have to walk to get out of it, to wake up. Life is flat and then suddenly it's remarkably contoured, twisted, curvy, long . . .

On the trail, walking--for hours. My thoughts were like loose pockets, holding nothing. I could hear the trees creaking above the bridge . . .

Funny how I make a choice and then my life begins to unfold in a different way. It's a pattern made up of moments.

Instead of pining for a different life--a miserable condition of wanting something that never comes--I started to believe one choice could alter this life . . .

The hours are empty. They were always empty. Before I filled them with hatred, self-loathing. Now, for some strange reason, friends are calling me.

Yes, you're right. I feel better.

I want to remember this.

But don't we lose wisdom? I've tumbled into old ways like an alcoholic stepping into familiar taverns.

The wisdom is deeply personal. It relates to a specific circumstance.

After all, I'm just shining like the sun today. Nobody with nothing inside. And these words are all temporary. They mark my place in one instant.



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Monday, May 17, 2010

Escape into Life: Issue no. 18

Julie Heffernan, Self-portrait Sitting on a World

We have an outstanding line-up of art essays, poetry, and reviews this issue. Personally, I am grateful for the contributors to this online art journal. Month after month, we receive erudite, well-researched submissions on interesting topics, and it's my pleasure to present them to readers.

"No symbols where none intended": Samuel Beckett's Doodles . . . Bill Prosser has recently completed a three-year research project into Samuel Beckett’s doodles at the University of Oxford. Here is a brilliant condensation of his work.

The Prose-poetry of Nin Andrews . . . The writing of Nin Andrews doesn't fit into any easy categories, but it's effect is undeniable. She writes a lot about sex and orgasms. I think you'll like her work.

Julie Heffernan's Constructions of Self . . . Julie Heffernan is currently the most popular artist on Escape into Life, receiving over 100,000 visitors on a single page. I recently asked Linnea West to explore the symbolism in Heffernan's paintings, and she offered in return one of the most fascinating art reviews I've ever read.

The Spaces in Between . . . Lara Cory, a regular contributor to Escape into Life, always selects the most rich, interesting subject-matter. Here she examines the work of three printmaking artists, Frans Masereel, Dan Rickwood, and Leon Sidwell, and their capacity to use "crude imagery to express sophisticated themes."

What is Escape into Life?

Escape into Life hosts over 900 contemporary artist profiles, and is also an online arts journal with contributions from nearly 25 different writers. Many of our contributors—ranging from well-known published authors, university professors, and freelance journalists—continue to publish art reviews and art history essays month after month. In addition, our poetry editor selects a new poet to feature in the journal every issue.

The Escape into Life digest comes out about twice monthly and you can subscribe at the top of the website, next to the search bar.

As an organization, we seek to promote the arts in all its forms. Our next milestone is to merge the thriving online publication with a viable online art store.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Pleurisy

Frank Ciaco

On a Friday night, not unlike any of my other Friday nights, I came home with a pepperoni pizza and turned on the oven while emptying the dishes from the machine.

This was my second pepperoni pizza since last week, and so I anticipated it would not give me the same rewarding pleasure that the original one gave me several nights before. But I was turning to food more lately, as a consolation for my boredom and loneliness.

As far as I knew, I would eat my pepperoni pizza, enjoy a cigarette in the garage (another consolation), and retire to my upstairs office. There I would work on the arts website, perhaps read some submissions, and if the inspiration came to me late at night, I would compose some verses or add another essay or meditation to this chronicle of innocence.

It occurs to me that a writer who is consciously or subconsciously perusing the material of her life will inevitably come to the conclusion that the material is wanting, lacking somehow. Very few things stand out on the vast topography of our mundane existence.

For this reason, I'm curious about how we change in the span of a single day--how our course is suddenly pushed onto another track of possibility, which gives rise to a new self-conception. Brought on by the force of an event, we see our lives, as it were, in color, with new wishes, dreams, desires, and motives.

These are the experiences I wish to capture in my writing, if only because they convey the interesting passage from the finite to the infinite.

I'm not feigning obscurity here. You'll understand everything by the end of this essay, and if you don't, then at least you will have spent some time with me, and perhaps made a friend.

There is a tragic story to all our lives; I am convinced of it no matter how happy you tell me you are. Lucky for us, the tragedy is raised to the arch-background and we prefer not to dwell on it. I won't talk too much about tragedy here, other than through the story of what happened to me after I finished eating my pepperoni pizza.

Like I mentioned, it was a Friday night, which always seems to conjure up feelings of isolation. I won't get into that too much either. But I was sitting at my computer, if you recall, and there are a number of things I do at my computer which make me feel occupied, important, or otherwise pro-active. That's why it doesn't really matter what day of the week it is (I work from home), I can always distract myself from whatever subtle anguish or boredom is nagging at me just beneath the surface.

The pepperoni pizza was having a hard time digesting in my stomach, and I knew this would be the case from the last time I ate one, and from eating unhealthy food in general. It looked like an average Friday night so far. I smiled at my reflection in the computer screen, I typed, I sent messages to friends over Twitter, I replied to emails, I surveyed the traffic patterns on Escape into Life.

This is precisely what I was referring to when I mentioned the vast topography of our mundane existence. These little sorts of activities that cushion our lives. Think of them as taking place within a grey continuum, with blips of surprise, discomfort, headache, joy, nausea, fatigue, rest.

There are also countless forms of anguish that can be added to that category of the mundane, depending on your physical condition, and how well you maintain your body. As for myself, I've been having a rough time of it. Since last week, these extraordinary pains in my chest led me to seek out a doctor for the first time in five years.

I went to one of those Prompt Care facilities, in which no appointments are necessary. The doctor they matched me up with looked Greek. He had a tan bald head and a reserved manner, but you could tell he thought highly of himself. The Greek doctor determined that there was nothing wrong with my lungs or my heart, but that I had severe allergy symptoms, and he prescribed a nasal spray and some antibiotics.

I left the Prompt Care facility feeling as though something had not been addressed. Although I was happy to breathe again thanks to my new prescription of nasal spray, I remembered repeatedly telling the old man, "I feel like I'm dying."

I was feeling a pain under my left chest plate. Each time, it was like someone had dug their fist into my chest and squeezed out all of the air in my lungs, applying the most excruciating pressure to the heart and everything else inside. I couldn't breath while this was going on and the muscles in my back tightened into a vice.

Several hours later, while I was at my computer, the chest pains returned and I curled in my chair, unable to breathe. I observed that my Friday night wouldn't be wasted if I drove myself to the Emergency Room at St. Joseph's Hospital, rather than endure the agony of severe chest pain.

I parked my car in the wrong section of the parking lot, and hobbled toward the lights at the circular entrance doors. My decision to admit myself to the Emergency Room was not yet certain. I didn't want to get charged an exorbitant price for not having health insurance, and perhaps worse, I didn't want to be told that my chest pains were normal.

My physical state was pathetic, I felt like an invalid, unwashed, and I got the abrupt sensation that with all the gas from the pepperoni pizza, I may have shit my pants.

So I opened one of the hospital doors and briskly entered the nearest bathroom. I checked the inside of my underwear, which thankfully, showed no signs of run off. I briskly washed my hands and wended my way through the labyrinthine basement of the hospital, reading the signs that pointed to the ER. A tech worker caught me in my state of confusion, and guided me to the Emergency Room doors.

With the odd hours of the night, and my general feeling of confusion, I began to see myself as an outsider here. But I also felt a twinge of belonging, like perhaps this is where an outsider is meant to be.

I stood at the registration window, and glimpsed a technician speaking to an older lady in a wheelchair. The old lady had a blood pressure wrap on her arm and was telling the technician that she didn't have any pain.

It was approximately 12:30 pm. As I filled out the registration papers, a large black security officer made small-talk with a smaller lady sitting at a desk in front of five computer monitors. Their topic of conversation was "Facebook and Security."

I was called into the tech's office, where I removed my jacket and waited for several minutes, going over in my mind all the questions I had about not having insurance and how much it would cost, and whether they could really help me with my condition.

The woman who had been talking to the older lady for so long finally came into the check up room to do my blood pressure. I still hadn't made up my mind about whether I should be admitted into the hospital. But with a clandestine swoop across my wrist, I found a loose, beige hospital band with my name on it.

I believe there are three rooms, if you count the waiting room, before you reach the doctor.

Well, on this night, each of these three stations led me deeper into an experience. I didn't know what I was doing here to be perfectly honest. I mean I had some severe chest pains, but other than that, I think I was just bored and wanted to go to the hospital. Or maybe there was something I wanted . . .

When a surrogate nurse brought me into the second station, I removed my jacket and placed it on a chair, along with my cell phone and wallet. I immediately laid down on the flat cushion, which appeared to me at this moment more comfortable than a king size bed. Then the real nurse came inside the room and asked me to put on a gown. She seemed very genial, and also hip for her age, with short dyed blond hair. Her hair reminded me of my mother's because it was cropped short.

I was in pain but I didn't want to make a performance out of it. So I held my arms close to my chest and leaned back into my pillow.

"Do you want me to raise that?" She asked.

"Yes, please," I said, taking a second glance at her face. "You seem like a nice lady."

You know there is something about being in the Emergency Room late at night, where there are only two people in a single room, a nurse and a patient. It can be a very tender intimacy without any sexual implications, just the presence of two strangers put in the same room, one taking care of the other. These thoughts were comforting to me even though I had a bit of apprehension about when the doctor would arrive, what he would say, and what he would give me.

The plain truth is that I'm a self-destructive person. There is no easy way to talk about this. I've tried to understand it my whole life. Part of my sensitivity comes from this destructive nature of mine.

After the nurse dimmed the lights and left the room, I sunk into the cushion and closed my eyes. Without exaggerating, this Friday night was turning out to be one of the best Friday nights I think I've ever had in my entire life. I'm pretty sure I fell into a dream where my father's nose was cut off, as if he'd had plastic surgery and it didn't work out. Well, the vision was terrifying and the image still burns strong in my imagination.

Luckily, I was startled awake by a young woman, I want to say "girl," dressed in a casual striped men's shirt. She had short raven hair, and held a clipboard.

"I'm here to collect your insurance policy information." She spoke in a sweet tone of voice.

At first I didn't answer, I only looked at her pale freckled face and dark hair, and the way her men's collar rose slightly over her narrow shoulder-line.

"You look familiar," she said. "You look like one of my older brother's friends."

And those were the kindest words that have ever been spoken to me. I must have looked like utter crap.

"Oh, I don't have insurance," I said.

"Well, we could get you one of those Charity forms, where you fill in your financial information."

"No, no, that won't work. I've tried that before. I have a trust fund."

"It's always better to be safe than sorry," she said.

I nodded in agreement.

She left the room and I gloated that she had even entered it in the first place. For the next twenty minutes, I fantasized about asking her if she had a boyfriend, and if she said "Yes," I would reply something like, "That doesn't surprise me."

But if she answered "No," then I would ask her out to dinner. Maybe she would think of my trust fund and how I could probably take her out to a pretty fancy restaurant. Or maybe she despised people who never had to work, and wouldn't want anything to do with me.

The nurse returned to my room to ask how I was doing, and I explained to her that my pains were getting worse. I could feel spasms in my chest but I didn't want to sound like a martyr. She said the doctor was on his way.

When the doctor finally arrived I was reeling in pain, and all I could catch a glimpse of was his silver toned face and sharp eyelashes. He had a wide expression like he was going to eat me. But he asked a lot of questions, and I had rehearsed my symptoms for days now, so in a sense, we were perfectly in tune.

I was hoping he would have an answer for me, a diagnosis of some kind. I kept describing the pain under the chest plate, deep, sharp, in my breathing, suffocating me, pulling at my muscles . . .

He smiled and said it would all be better soon. And then he left.

The nurse returned with three tall needles on a steel plate. I turned on my side and pulled down my underwear and jeans.

The nurses and doctors on the other side of the curtain were chatting lightly. They couldn't see me, but I was glowing inside. Especially when the first needle went into my butt, I wanted to meet them all.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Chronicle of Essays and Meditations

Le Corbus

The story I write always begins with having the experience first.

After living in Madrid for a year, I grew obsessed thinking that every new experience would then become a short story or novel.

Ten years later, I found myself still toiling on the the same scenes from the past.

Now I've given up The Novel of Life. One, because it was toil.

And two, because my experiences in Madrid are too far removed from where I am now. I pored over the Spain material until I could no longer see the important connections.

It was a romantic fiction based on my life in Spain, which I painstakingly tried to evoke the mood, characters, and conflicts. But time has flown beyond these adolescent insecurities, and delivered me into a place with greater contradiction, more openness, and less answers.

There are few rules here, but the rules I go by are based on the sheer daily practice of examining my thoughts through writing. I know them by instinct.

What's painfully clear to me is that I stopped believing in the Spain stories, and that's why I stopped writing them.

But I knew I could write. And so I dedicated myself to writing other kinds of stories (whether they were essays, articles, reviews, or meditations, I don't think it matters).

But I could believe in these stories. They reflected my innocence about the world, and provided me with an enormous amount of energy and interest in what I was doing.

So I scrapped my novel with few reservations. A great freedom came out of this decision, and I feel I am embarking on new territory.

I've mentioned before in On Blogging and Technology for Writers that a conventional blog can be a profoundly creative outlet for a writer. Anyone who has been blogging long enough will attest to the discipline built into the practice. This discipline builds on the dynamic between readers and writers on the web. And soon, you'll find the motivation to create a community around your words.

I call this blog a chronicle because it chronicles my life in written form. The way I write, the things I believe, my passions, my failures, inevitably seep through the text of these digital pages. But none of it will hold a set pattern, a formula, if you will.

The only pattern of this blog is Time and what Time does to me. My language, the topics I choose, and how I present myself to the reader, will arise out of Time.

The best way to tell a story is to find a comfortable place, like a sofa, with lots of light in the room. It's always nice to have a friend next to you, and that's how I imagine my reader.



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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Appropriating Leopardi

Ryan McGinley

Without giving away too much about the circumstances in my life, I feel I am going through an exceptionally dark period.

How did I get to this place? I've asked myself this question many times.

I can only attribute my present situation to my personality. To me, the personality is the root of all our troubles (and joys). Maybe there were certain clues in my childhood and adolescence . . .

The only inspiration I can find right now is in the verses of one of my favorite poets, Leopardi. I tried to write my own poem today, but it didn't work out. So I began reading these poems which I've read a hundred times before . . .

Here is a poem I appropriated from a translation of Leopardi's poems. I took from five separate poems and created one poem. These verses speak directly to my experience. The translator is Eamon Grennan.

At first, I was going to add a couple lines of my own, but then I thought it would diminish the power and cohesiveness of the original verses. I altered some of the lines to make them work better with the whole piece.


Such black, black days
In so green a season!

And sorely
My heart is shaken at the thought
Of how everything in the world goes by
And leaves so little trace behind.

The work-day comes on, and time takes away
All we are and do.

And random suffering cancels all
Such raw, unripened knowledge.

Both of us, she said, were born to suffer:
Our lives lacked joy, and the heavens took
Pleasure in our pain.

For I’ve seen enough of wretched cities
Where hatred dogs unhappiness, and where
I live in misery and will, soon enough,
In misery die.

Even you,
Scorning calamities and crosses, smile
Only on those who lead happy lives.
In heaven, on earth, the lost ones
Can find neither friend nor refuge
Except in their own cold steel.

It was
That sweet unrepeatable season
When the sad stage of this world seems
To young eyes a paradise of smiles:
In its very first virgin flush of hope
A boy’s heart gallops with desire
As he, hapless poor creature that he is,
Plunges into the business of living
As if it were only a game or a dance.

Now
It is stormy weather I love plunging into
Along the crags and through deep valleys,
Seeing terror-stricken flocks in scattered flight,
Or hearing wave after wave go rushing over
Crumbled banks: the swollen torrent’s headlong roar.

But ah,
The gods and grim-lipped fate have given
Poor Sappho no part of this infinite beauty.
A tiresome wretched guest in this
Grand, indifferent domain.

What sin
Did I commit as a child—when one can know
No wrong at all—that my iron-dark thread of life,
Lacking all the summer colors of youth,
Lay twisted on fate’s implacable spindle? Reckless
Words fly from your mouth: A hidden purpose
Fashions whatever has to happen. Everything is hidden
Except our pain. We come, a forsaken race,
Crying into the world, and the gods
Keep their own counsel.


From his miser’s store
Of sweet blessings, God gave me nothing
Once my dream of youth and its illusions
Withered.
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Escape into Life: Issue no. 17

ATMA

Escape into Life continually welcomes new writers onto our team. In this issue, you'll find an eloquent essay on Gauguin by Linnea West, whose art blog, Art Ravels, is a favorite among arts writers. You'll also find contributions from Lou Freshwater, somewhat of a haiku expert, and the German writer, Klaus-Dieter Knoll.

This issue we also introduce a new segment of Escape into Life, called "Arts and Culture Headlines." I wanted to bring together the most interesting art reviews and culture stories from newspapers, blogs, magazines, and art media sources.

Paul Gauguin and Savageness . . . . West explores Gauguin's "idealization of savageness" while giving us an intimate sense of his experiences in the Caribbean and later Polynesia. She intersperses primary materials into the essay, such as letters from Gauguin to his wife and friends.

The Art of Haiku . . . Everything you need to know about writing haiku. Freshwater's essay can serve as both an aid to composing haiku as well as an informed discussion of the Japanese art.

Poetry by Seann McCollum . . . . In McCollum's first poem, "The Twombly Equinox," the poet meditates on Cy Twombly's painting, Quattro Stagioni: Primavera.

The Process of Becoming Intimate: Interview with Danielle Duer . . . I don't believe we've published an interview as deeply touching as this one. Part of the reason for this is Klaus-Dieter Knoll's fond appreciation for the artist and his passion for her work.

New Segment on EIL:

Arts and Culture Headlines . . . I plan to run this every couple days. Culled from blogs, newspapers, magazines, and art media sites, bringing you the most interesting art headlines.

What is Escape into Life?

Escape into Life hosts over 700 contemporary artist profiles, and is also an online arts journal with contributions from nearly 25 different writers. Many of our contributors—ranging from well-known published authors, university professors, and freelance journalists—continue to publish art reviews and art history essays month after month. In addition, our poetry editor selects a new poet to feature in the journal every issue.

The Escape into Life digest comes out about twice monthly and you can subscribe at the top of the website, next to the search bar.

As an organization, we seek to promote the arts in all its forms. Our next milestone is to merge the thriving online publication with a viable online art store and auction.

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