Posts Tagged ‘Kevin and Marc in the Morning’

Early Morning Coffee with David and Herman

October 1, 2018

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Revisiting Herman Melville in the Pre-Dawn

All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks.  But in each event–in the living act, the undoubted deed–there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask.  If man will strike, strike through the mask!

Captain Ahab’s speech in Moby Dick

Yesterday afternoon, while visiting with my friends, the Darrs, our conversation turned to literature. The Darrs are such passionate readers. As we talked, Moby Dick somehow entered the conversation. I confessed that I had not read the book till the summer of 2014, and I could not put the book down till I was finished. This morning, rising at 5:00, I made coffee and sat down to re-explore the pages of this great work.

For nearly thirty years, I patiently pointed out to anyone who would listen, in the lecture rooms or in the lounges, the scaffolding of Platonist thought in literature.  Plato’s split-world view was divided between Ideas and Appearances, the former permanent and spiritual, the latter ephemeral and physical.  And the permanent ideas provide the scaffolding for the physical appearances.  In this dramatic confrontation in Moby Dick, Captain Ahab publicly confronts a reluctant Starbuck who protests that selfishly seeking revenge on a white whale is impractical business.  Ahab twice retorts that Starbuck inhabits a “little lower layer”–the realm of money, measurement, accounting and computing.  This layer is only a portion of the pasteboard mask that hides the real intelligence lurking behind it.  I heard Ahab shouting at me when he cried out: “If man will strike, strike through the mask!”

I believe that most of the  dissatisfaction blistering from life today is caused by a failure to “strike through that mask.”  What is the mask, the wall, the barrier, standing between us and what we seek?  I shuddered every semester when my philosophy class would read and discuss Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.”  One prisoner broke his chains and rose to the world of truth.  The class discussion would always enliven when students began discussing the chains that bound them, the masks that daunted them.  The human predicament is the quest for something more, and often finding that that “something more” was a mere mask, not what we really thought we were seeking.  There is so much to ponder here.  What is the nature of the mask through which we are challenged to strike?

I rose early this morning, because the inaugural broadcast of the “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” show will run from 6:00-10:00, and I didn’t want to miss the event. I so wished to be in the gallery when the show launched, but alas, I have a doctor’s appointment here, two hours away from Palestine. So I will only be able to tune in and listen. For any of my readers who would like to hear the show, you can go to the website and click on the link to “listen live.”

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

smooth rock

Thanks always for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Sunday Afternoon Musings in the Gallery

September 30, 2018

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Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things which I did. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tching-thang to this effect: “Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.” I can understand that. Morning brings back the heroic ages. 

All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigourous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I woke this morning, hoping to salute Thoreau’s Aurora, but the sun never revealed itself. A heavy fog from the Gulf spread over this part of east Texas, and a pale, wet gray shrouded the Davy Crockett National Forest. Nevertheless, it was still the dawn, and Thoreau wrote of dawn being the heroic age–that all intelligences awake with the dawn. So, as soon as the gray light peaked through the French doors of my bedroom, I rose with a glad heart, boiled water to French-press my coffee, and soon found myself settled into the rocking chair on the veranda of the store facing to the east, and decided to spend the best part of the morning allowing thoughts to flow toward me and through me, uninhibited.

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My recent reading of biographies of Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway have stirred me to write this morning. The details of Kerouac’s itinerant life always leave me with the same kind of disturbed thoughts that I get from reading about Hemingway: these men had such a passion for disciplined writing that always drives me to find another gear to crank out work, no matter how tired or discouraged I may become in my own life and work.  They truly induce me to work even harder in my research, thinking and writing.  But the misery of both these men brings me to such overwhelming sadness. I know firsthand the double hell of self-doubt and second guessing. And when I read of those struggles of great artists and writers, I feel such grief, and often wish I could have been a friend to them in their days of conflict.

Arriving at The Gallery at Redlands in downtown Palestine, I found the town quiet and enveloped in the dark blue-gray of the low-lying clouds. With the music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM playing softly in the gallery, I took out a stack of my old journals and several books I’ve been reading lately. And, as usual, I found the various authors addressing topics that dovetailed nicely to produce some observations about life. In addition to Kerouac and Hemingway, with their struggles over the writing process, I read about G. W. F. Hegel and his wrestling with world history to forge a philosophy of the historical process.

Hegel’s mind was Faustian in the way he incorporated and excerpted virtually everything he studied throughout his lengthy life, and then fashioned all that knowledge into a comprehensive system.  His mind reminds me very much of that of Paul Tillich, with that interdisciplinary drive, and of course I have always wanted to be that way.  Looking back over decades spent poring over texts of theology, philosophy, Bible and American literature, along with images from the history of art, I find myself continually seeking ways to weave these strands into a series of essays about life. I believe that all knowledge is connected, even though it often demands an Olympian perspective to see the connecting joints. I am always holding out hope, that over time, I will learn the art of simplifying to the point that I can recognize the connections better.

I was surprised by a visit from Ron and Dian Darr, friends of mine since the 1990’s. They drove a long distance to spend time with me this afternoon in the gallery, and we had a wonderful time over lunch, discussing ideas, reminiscing over trips we’ve made together over the past, and trips we’ve planned for the future. I’m always sorry to see them leave; there is never enough time to cover all the territory we enjoy covering while together. Thanks, Ron and Dian!

And thanks to all the rest of you, for reading.

We hope you will tune in tomorrow morning for the inaugural broadcast of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. From 6-10:00, enjoy listening to “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”!

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

smooth rock

So . . . until next time, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands, adjacent to Smooth Rock 93.5 FM broadcasting from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown, Palestine, Texas.

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I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee in the Wilderness

September 30, 2018

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Coffee Always Seems to Taste Better in this Setting

. . . I’m off to the cabin–and am looking forward to the strong mountain air . . . I am working full tilt and am annoyed only by the coming semester and the philistine air that surrounds one again . . . It’s late night already–the storm is sweeping over the hill, the beams are creaking in the cabin, life lies pure, simple, and great before the soul.

Martin Heidegger, letters from his cabin in the Black Forest, July 24-April, 1925-1926.

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My Favorite Country Retreat

I closed down The Gallery at Redlands at 9:30 last night and began my fifty-minute drive to my favorite refuge in the country. Waking around 7:00 this morning without an alarm, I found a dense fog enveloping the land. After showering, dressing and making coffee, I took up my favorite abode on the veranda and enjoyed the serene landscape spread out around me. By the time I took the photos above (around 8:30), much of the mist had evaporated, but still there was a muted color on the distant horizon, and deer continually emerged from the edge of the woods to poke around in the tall grasses.

I resumed reading from Rüdiger Safranski’s Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil, particularly the portions of his residence in his cabin in Todtnauberg on the edge of the Black Forest where he did all his significant writing. As I read, I listened to the crows across the road, and occasionally looked up at the autumn fog from the Gulf lifting off the distant forest ridge. The caress of the morning breeze across my face took me to an even calmer world than what I felt in that east Texas wilderness. Before we opened The Gallery at Redlands last year, I would escape to this place, especially during the cold winter months, and enjoy days of quiet where I could read stacks of books, fill my journals and work on some serious watercolors, including some of my favorites below:

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Goods Stored on the Shelf of the Store where I Reside

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Door Separating the Store from the Residence in Back

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Where I Sat while Painting the Doorknob Above

While sitting outside, sipping coffee, reading from the biography, and scribbling scattered thoughts in my journal, I began to ponder seriously the notion of returning to this sacred space once the weather turns cold again to see what I could accomplish with some space and quiet around me for a stretch of days and nights. I have this compulsion to churn out a large body of work, and I’m happy during these post-retirement years to have opportunities to hole up in a quiet space and let my creative bliss run uninterrupted. I am always inspired by stories of Martin Heidegger retreating from the University of Freiburg to take up residence in his Black Forest cabin to think in solitude and eventually write Being and Time. Such a quiet space is a luxury for anyone wishing to create in silence, and I shall always be grateful to my dear friends for providing such a space for me.

Before closing down the gallery last night, I managed to complete a composition of the wrecked church perched on the hill of the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas where I visited last spring.

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Working in the Gallery at Night

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Completed Watercolor of Terlingua

Sunday morning is dark and quiet in downtown Palestine. The taped music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM is filling the gallery, and I am loving the atmosphere as I work here in The Gallery at Redlands for the day. I hope you will tune in to the first live broadcast of this new radio station tomorrow morning, from 6:00-10:00. You can stream it from their website:

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

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Smooth Rock 93.5 FM–Window to the World

“Kevin and Marc in the Morning” promises to be a fun way to begin each weekday. I cannot wait to hear them for the first time.  And so . . . this is Dave signing off on Sunday morning from The Gallery at Redlands, alongside 93.5 FM in the historic Redlands Hotel located in downtown Palestine, Texas.

Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.