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Illustration by Kris Di Giacomo from Enormous Smallness by Matthew Burgess, a picture-book biography of E.E. Cummings

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

Source: Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers – Brain Pickings


In 1865, a Victorian mathematician wrote a fairy tale that would go on to live parallel lives as one of the world’s most beloved children’s books and a modernist masterwork of philosophy that mushrooms its yield of wisdom with each reading — one of humanity’s very few works, alongside perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, which subtly and seamlessly fuse art, science, and philosophy.

Nearly a century later, in a 1961 lecture titled “Where Do We Go from Here,” Marcel Duchamp prophesied that..

Source: Salvador Dalí’s Rare 1969 Illustrations for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Rediscovered and Resurrected – Brain Pickings


Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton

“The roaring of the wind is my wife and the Stars through the window pane are my Children… I do not live in this world alone but in a thousand worlds.”

BY MARIA POPOVA

“Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul… Seek solitude,” the great French artist Eugène Delacroix counseled himself in 1824. Just a few years earlier, another timeless patron saint of the creative spirit extolled the rewards of solitude as a supreme conduit to truth and beauty.

Celebrated as one of the greatest poets humanity has ever produced, John Keats (October 31, 1795–February 23, 1821) married an extraordinary capacity for transcendence with an uncommon share of sorrow. His short life was suffused with loss from a young age — his father died after a horseback accident when Keats was eight and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was fourteen. And yet even amid his darkest despair, Keats…

Source: Keats on the Joy of Singledom and How Solitude Opens Our Creative Channels to Truth and Beauty – Brain Pickings


Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

“Context is everything.”
(Peter Drucker, business management consultant, social ecologist and “the man who invented management” in the modern era of complexity, according to Business Week of which I’m not a regular reader.)

This blog advocates frivolity, and revels in images, especially of dead queens, at the same time it sniffs at celebrity photos, selfies and Hello! wedding photos.

So here it presents, in full consciousness of double standards, a stupendous piece of self-advertizing by a grandiose, self-made English politician, and patron of the arts, who hired one of the most gifted court propagandists of any age, Van Dyck, to sell his materially advantageous marriage to a higher-born aristocrat, the daughter of an earl, as a divine union featuring groom and bride half-naked, flaunting everything except their genitalia.

villiers

Anthony van Dyck Sir George Villiers and Lady Katherine Manners as Adonis and Venus c. 1620. Oil on canvas Private collection. Image…

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Originally posted on Brain Pickings.

At Christmas time in 1944, more than a decade after the resounding success of Brave New World Aldous Huxley (July, 26 1894–November 22, 1963) penned his one and only children’s book, The Crows of Pearblossom (public library) — the story of Mr. and Mrs. Crow, whose eggs never hatch because the Rattlesnake living at the base of their tree keeps eating them. After the 297th eaten egg, the hopeful parents set out to kill the snake and enlist the help of their friend, Mr. Owl, who bakes mud into two stone eggs and paints them to resemble the Crows’ eggs. Upon eating them, the Rattlesnake is in so much pain that he beings to thrash about, tying himself in knots around the branches. Mrs. Crow goes merrily on to hatch “four families of 17 children each,” using the snake “as a clothesline on which to hang the little crows’ diapers.”

Like Gertrude Stein’s alphabet book To Do, Sylvia Plath’s children’s verses The Bed Book, and William Faulkner’s The Wishing Tree (also his only book for wee ones), it never saw light of day in Huxley’s lifetime but was published…

via Gorgeous Vintage and Modern Illustrations from Aldous Huxley’s Only Children’s Book | Brain Pickings.


Pen and Ink Love Greeting Card
Pen and Ink Love Greeting Card

Although she won’t know this until it’s published, I have combined a delightful article from Pippa Rathborne’s Last Post blog about love and the Brownings with some of my Pen and Ink products from Zazzle, which include Elizabeth Browning’s famous sonnet.

Pen and Ink Love Bag
Pen and Ink Love Bag

Pippa writes:


Feeling weary, stale and unprofitable, I’d vowed to give up blogging for a while, but the always happy thought of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning has spawned this self-indulgence.

As I mentioned before, I was named after Browning’s Pippa Passes, and immersed by my mother in the love story of Robert and Elizabeth while I was growing up, Flush the spaniel and all. For a long time, as happens with history’s celebrities, their romantic personae overshadowed the value of their individual work.

If ever there was one, theirs appeared to be a marriage of true minds. It is painful to consider the possibility that in reality he had a restricting effect on her writing, specifically on her social and political freedom of thought. Robert had trouble stopping Elizabeth from dressing their only child, their son Pen, as a girl. Ignore, ignore, forget, forget, facts are only the dreary letter, not the spirit of truth.

And, anyway, Pen grew up filial, amiable and cheerful, a lover of Italy, a restorer of a palazzo, a painter and a bon vivant. He did not inherit his parents’ intellectual genius or determination, but he did not…

Continue reading“How do I love thee?” collateral « LAST POST.


Pen and Ink Love Round Sticker
Pen and Ink Love Round Sticker

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnet 43, Sonnets from the Portuguese, pub. 1850

Pen and Ink Love 3 Ring Binder
Pen and Ink Love 3 Ring Binder

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Design available at the following galleries:
Zazzle (UK)
Zazzle (US)

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

PART FIVE of ROMANTIC FICTIONS AND CASUALTIES

two sistersbuckAdam Buck, Two Sisters, print, 1796. London.
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Sense and sensibility, reason and passion, love and illusion, neoclassicism and romanticism dancing on the eve of cataclysm.
During the years 1795 to 1797, while the two elder Siddons sisters were engaged in their own danse macabre with Thomas Lawrence, Jane Austen wrote her first draft of the novel that was eventually published in 1811 as Sense and Sensibility.

It should have been the end, the two beautiful girls consumed by passion and disease, but the Tragic Muse had another daughter, only nine years old when her eldest sister died, a child with a name like the peal of golden bells under a blue sky, a tiny Buddha with a ferocious will [1] and eyes that glared like a torch in the night on the charades and vacillations…

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Michael Rosen, Writer

This article by the British children’s author, Michael Rosen, is marginally off-topic but I believe it should be read by everyone in light of what’s happening in the UK and around the planet. If I’m reading it correctly, it’s a ‘call-to-arms’ for us to think in different ways about the world around us in the hope that we can change the limiting structures and hierarchies that have been in place for centuries, and by doing so, enable better, happier and more satisfying lives for every person. Something has to give, that’s for sure, or we will be wedged forever in a universe where the poor become poorer and the rich richer, surrounded by a landscape devoid of meaningful culture.

Incidentally, if you haven’t already read and shared Michael Rosen’s books with  your children, you’re missing a trick. My favourite is You’re Thinking About Doughnuts.


1. In the place that gets called ‘left-of-Labour’ or the ‘radical left’ or the ‘alternative left’, there have been all sorts of shifts and realignments. This is not as new as it looks. They happen all the time. The big ones happen when the most vociferous, most successful of the groupings goes through a crisis.

2. The real crisis for the ‘radical left’ is that we have failed to dent the politicians-media agreement about how to present the economic crisis. This agreement runs something like this: some bankers did some silly things…the result was a lot of debt and a credit squeeze…Labour did some silly things…the only way out of it is for government to spend less…this means that we must all agree that to save our skins, we must cut public spending…and we must freeze or cut wages…the only people who can be trusted to do this are the Tories.

3. We know that this is a hoax. Even quite right-wing politicians like Alan Johnson call it a ‘fat lie’. In fact, there are several lies. The bankers (and all the other financiers) weren’t just naughty. They smashed up big sections of the system that enables capitalism to operate. Through our governments’  actions all over the world, we have been taxed to keep that system solvent. Through our governments’ actions we have lost large sections of our welfare, education and cultural institutions – hospitals, schools, social services, benefits. Through our governments’ actions, people’s wages have been cut and/or people put out of work.

4. While this has been going on, the super-rich, the hyper-rich have got richer. The main reason why they have got richer is because the ‘cost’ of employing people has gone down. I say ‘cost’ in inverted commas, because it’s only a ‘cost’ from the point of view of those who employ. For everyone else it’s their ‘income’ or ‘spending power’. People don’t see themselves as a ‘cost’ nor should they!

5. So, ‘austerity’ is in fact, a realignment, a shuffling. It’s the means by which the poor stay poor (or are made poorer) and the rich to stay rich (or get richer). It’s nothing to do with the money that Labour did or did not borrow during its time in power. It’s entirely to do with the decisions that are made by financiers, finance ministers and giant corporations. Having taken risks that failed (on a massive scale, involving all sorts of gigantic fiddles and cons), they are trying to claw back solvency through making the mass of people work for less money and have much less by way of public services and benefits.

6. The ‘radical left’ has been saying this throughout the time of the crisis. However, we haven’t dented the consensus. This argument is hardly ever heard. Or, when it’s heard, very little happens. There are of course sporadic and brave efforts by people to defend jobs, wages and services. But, if we are ruthless and honest with ourselves, what has happened is that this hasn’t spread far and wide. It hasn’t become ‘generalised’, as the jargon has it.

7. And, just as importantly, it hasn’t enabled us all to see clearly that ‘wealth’ isn’t really what turns up in the figures on bankers’ computer screens. It isn’t even really ‘money’. Wealth is what we make and do with our minds and bodies. We work in places made with the past effort of the minds and bodies of our forbears. All the machines and infrastructure that enable goods and services to be produced and pass between us are made through…

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A musically delightful way to end the day, courtesy of belsbror.

belsbror

Before I sign off for the day, I think you are all entitled for an explanation why I intentionally posted only videos today. It’s rather simple actually: my mind was out there somewhere, obviously far away from writing. 😀

I will leave you with a famous short story, the narrative expertly sung.

Be well!

Goodnight guys and gals! 🙂

BLOGGING   LIFE/STYLES   MY STORIES   WHISPER   ZONE

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“The British Museum has lost its charms,” sang the great Ella Fitzgerald about a foggy day in ‘London Town’. Never will it be so, and with record visitors for 2013 announced yesterday, this spectacular attraction today celebrates 255 years since it was first opened to the public and Google is in on the act.

If you have yet to visit the museum, my, but you have a treat in store for the collection features a cavalcade of antiquities and cultural objects.

Did you know that if the trustees had not rejected it on the grounds of cost and its location, the site of Buckingham Palace would, instead, have been the British Museum for the gentlemen considered Buckingham House, now occupied by the Palace. They chose Montagu House.

Perhaps the Museum’s most talked about objects are the spoils of Lord Elgin, the marbles from the Parthenon in Athens. Personally, I believe they should be returned. Do you?

In the meantime, I urge you to plan several visits to make the most of the British Museum.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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