Six experiences, observations of the week.
Project completed! Each year I collect quotations from works I am reading, and when I have 366, I turn them into a Book of Days one quotation for each day of the year. From January, 2013, through June, 2014, I had more than twice that many. This year my collection is two quotations for each day of the year. The work is now ready to go to the printing company, and I will give copies away for holiday gifts.
Reading. Nonfiction. Wayne Curtis, The Last Great Walk. Rodale, 2014. The frame of the book is the story of Edward Payson Weston, who walked from New York City to San Francisco in 1909, at age 70, in 105 days. The narrative is interesting and entertaining as we see the problems faced by Weston: mud, torrential ground water, wind, hail, sleet, stifling heat, blowing desert sands, poor drinking water quality, mosquitoes, crowds of people mobbing him. Interspersed with the narrative are comments on the development of the automobile, development of subway systems, the mechanics and techniques of effective walking, walking from an evolutionary perspective, La-Z-Boy furniture, obesity, navigation, theories of aging, solitary city walkers (flaneurs), electronic navigation, development and expansion of cities, Main Street in Disneyland, utopian communities, shopping malls, Colfax Avenue in Denver, historic controversy of right-of-way between cars and drivers. None of the topics are fully developed, but it is useful to have them for reference for further reading or research.
Opera. Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro. The Metropolitan Opera live broadcast, Saturday, October 18. I thought twice about spending four hours in a movie theater on a beautiful autumn day, but I’m not sorry that I did so. The production was strong in both musical performance and acting. Comic timing was spot-on, and the production was laugh-out-loud funny in many scenes.
What matters? A friend said, “It doesn’t matter what you are writing about; what matters is that you are writing.” A priest, saying good-bye as he left for another assignment, said, “You don’t have to be perfect; what matters is that you are on the journey.”
Costs. If I buy a piece of art at an artist’s studio, I do not pay tax. If I buy it at a gallery, I pay 6.75% tax. If the art is costly, I pay much more than I expected for the purchase. Why would one buy art at the gallery, if he or she can go to the artist’s studio? How much business do galleries lose because of shoppers who don’t want to, or can’t afford to, pay a high tax on an already costly investment?
Quotations from readings of the week. (1) “Walking has the benefit of providing us with actual freedom: freedom of movement in any direction, freedom from sluggishness and torpor . . . (Wayne Curtis, The Last Great Walk) (2) “Music gave us identity. What we listened to told us who we were.” (Elizabeth Hudson, “Song in the Key of Life,” Our State, November, 2014)
Thank you for reading. I hope you are having a good autumn.