Thursday, September 10, 2009

Early September

The most beautiful month? Still a little robust, but mellow. Our trip to the State Fair (capitalized, like a deity) was brief, due to an eye injury Hilary is recovering from. But things are so familiar that even a glance reminds us of the beauty and allure of the various buildings and exhibits.

The critic in the Tribune described the art show as inferior, sentimental. This struck me as a little far-fetched and dismissive, considering how many works are on view there every year. But having seen the show, I would tend to agree that relatively few of the pieces on display had much of an impact. There was a very fine black-and-white photo of a cliff-top monestary in Meteora, Greece. A nice lithograph of the exterior of a bus in North Africa somewhere. But all too many staged "theme" photographs with crows (for example) and close-up portraits of frustrated or pensive or determined or jadded young women. I did not see a single interesting functional pot. Among the three-dimensional pieces I recall an attractive necklace made out of used coffee-filters that had been rolled up into long narrow cones and strung on a piece of string. But the piece that sticks with me most is a wooden case of the kind printers used to keep their various pieces of type in—and still do, if there are any cold-type printers left. But this case happened to be filled with tiny ceramic figures of alligators. Why? I don’t know. But it looked pretty cool.

And speaking of cool, it was a cool morning, and the light and color at the north end of the fairgrounds was superb. We sat for a while eating a mocha-on-a-stick as we watched an elderly couple dance to a polka band at the Farmer’s Union booth. The same Peruvian musicians were trying to make music on their primitive flutes at the Caribbean restaurant near the chicken barn. Noise and people everywhere. But with limited time and no agenda, the sheer color of the scene made itself felt more strongly than ever.

In the last few days I finished five books and sent them off to the printer. (I didn’t write them; I only edited and designed and produced them.) Now I’m packing for a week-long vacation in the woods. Looking at long-sleeved shirts a little differently than I did a few weeks ago. Wondering which books will appeal to me a week from now. Maybe Death in a Truffle Wood. Or From Hegel to Nietzsche: the Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Thought. Or The Forest of Childhood: Poems from Sweden.

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