Archive for June, 2009

Overexposure
June 30, 2009

Walking home from work in mid-June, I encountered the annual Vancouver nude bike ride.  About 100 naked people rode down Robson Street with or without body paint.   It was fun to watch the tourists on the street react.

I later mentioned this event to H. who is Japanese.    She laughed and said it wouldn’t happen in Japan.   Women in that country couldn’t even let their bra straps show through their blouses. 

H. then told me about a Japanese friend of hers.  This woman felt undressed even when she took off her glasses.  The friend got contact lenses after years of wearing glasses.  She then felt so exposed that she bought a pair of glasses with plain glass in them and wore them over her contacts.

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Umbrella Islands
June 24, 2009

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It’s raining in Vancouver today.

Bloomsday
June 18, 2009

Oops, I missed Bloomsday, which was June the 16th.   Bloomsday is celebrated as the day Leopold Bloom wandered Dublin in the James Joyce novel,  Ulysses.

I had tried twice to read Ulysses but only got part way through.    One Bloomsday in Vancouver, a local actress sat in a downtown bookstore and read the whole book aloud.   I listened to her for about 40 minutes and she inspired me to try it again.   I bulldozed through an old paperback version, finished it, then threw the book away in celebration. 

I was visiting  Ireland a long time ago when I stopped by Dublin to see my ex-boyfriend G.   He was living in squalor, working as an actor.    He casually mentioned that he had got a good acting gig .  

“I’m going to be your man, Leopold Bloom.”  said G.,  “Walk around Dublin on Bloomsday.  I’m not going to do it without a minder (bodyguard), though.”

“Good idea.”  I said, while flipping through magazine or something.   G. got the job probably because he had red (or ginger) hair, like Bloom.   Years later, I realized that this was likely something of an honour and G. had casually slipped it into the conversation, hoping for an enthusiastic response.   Oh, well.   That’s probably why the relationship didn’t last.

The ending of the book is beautiful – when Molly Bloom says yes to life –  but the humourous line that somehow stayed with me (don’t know which character said it) was: 

 “Scruff off the top of your head – cheapest lunch in town.”

A Carnation
June 17, 2009

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Eggs
June 9, 2009

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“Magic is sometimes very close to nothing at all.  Nothing at all.”  (Zinedine Zidane)

I  noticed the retired soccer superstar Zinedine Zidane is coming to Vancouver to play against the Vancouver All-Star team.   Last year, I put the above quote by Zidane up on my wall as an inspiration.  I found it in an article in the sports pages.   It’s a great comment that could be applied to any endeavour – soccer, art, cooking or whatever.

I have been drawing and painting eggs a lot lately.  I find drawing them fascinating.  They are everyday, low-key, domestic objects which are instantly familiar.    Eggs seem almost abstract when drawn.    They are smooth, tapered ellipses that make excellent studies in reflected light and shadow.  It’s a challenge to draw the shape as accurately as possible.   In a busy world, eggs are one of those incidental yet magical things that we take for granted.

Purposeless Play/John Cage
June 3, 2009

John Cage, the composer, asked himself the question – why compose music?   I liked his answer and think it is a good explanation of why we are creative, whether painting, composing, writing or anything else. 

“Music is purposeless play.  An affirmation of life, not an attempt to bring order out of chaos, or to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living.”

Here is another quote from Cage that I heard many years ago and liked:

“I don’t know why people are afraid of new ideas.  I’m afraid of the old ones.”