I have been reading Rumi.
I do this whenever I am heartsick, soulsick. Usually it’s for something I can’t identify, though there’s always some exterior thing like a convenient hook to hang it on: my dog bit my little one and had to be surrendered; my 14-year-old told me a great big whopper; my in-laws have rejected their own grand-daughter and disinherited my husband as a means to communicating their supreme dislike of me; my husband is cranky with exhaustion and overwork and a long string of fourteen hour days; the publishing industry is in a stupid place, and largely, in my view, because publishers publish the same damn crap rather than searching out interesting work, and then they wonder why people don’t want to buy it; our financial situation is fraught, as is our situation with our two former spouses…. There’s no end to people and matters that will serve as an excuse. Rumi says, “Everyone chooses a suffering that will change him or her to a well-baked loaf.”
But I think that is preferable to avoiding the suffering, and failing to rise. That happens, too.
So there is all this stuff amenable to being blamed for my anguish, not to mention that it is that time of the month. But is the body or its relationships or its contexts really the reason for this melancholy seeking without an end?
Yesterday this poem of Rumi’s manifest itself to me, in a moment of bibliomancy, or at least I like to think that the Divine was smiling wryly at all my flailing about, and granted me this mouthful of grace.
Coleman Barks calls it THE MOST ALIVE MOMENT:
(THE SOUL OF RUMI, translations by Coleman Barks.)
I cried after I read it. I found excuses to cry all day. It’s something I rarely do. And then my husband showed me this photo on his iPhone of his Apollo’s outstretched arm. Even in process, it was beautiful: gesture and form, a supreme example of artistry. I cried some more, alone, in my bathroom, so no one knew I was being so silly. And I remembered why this man, this life, this set of choices that has led to this moment in all its bittersweet, empty fullness.
My speech at the ICAA
WELCOME to this book launch and celebration of classical art!!
So I have posted a new article on Medium, a site I’ve never used before, about my experiences at the 64th Viennese Opera Ball.
I was invited by a dear friend who’s an Austrian Countess.
What a gorgeous gala! Filled with music, song, fashion, and delectable food. Not to mention the fascinating people I encountered.
I loved the ball and enjoyed myself immensely. It was the most beautiful pageantry! It was truly a treat and I recommend it.
Read all about it on Medium.
Day 10: Letter to a friend
So, friend: I hope it pleases you to hear, if you can be pleased with me, that I continue to enjoy my time here. Two fun meetings, and a close encounter of the strange kind.
At Lynn’s birthday brunch, British painter Richard B. spoke to me about his art, which ranges from oils to watercolors to lithographs; he even took a brief detour into sculpting. Today we met at The Select and spoke about the possibility of a book, to be published by Parvati Press.
You know I’m ambitious. I want to grow the Press: quality fiction and art books being two genres whose authors I’d love to add. Richard is a lovely, thoughtful man who’s been making art for decades. He has something to say about art and life and love–you know, the good stuff. He was taken aback by my forthrightness when I told him he had to write a book for my Press, and then I outlined for him how to do it.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been bossed around so thoroughly,” he said, in a genteel tone of amazement.
“You’re getting the benefit of my reinventing the wheel repeatedly,” I told him. “Try it; it works.”
“You Americans,” he said, shaking his head. “In France, we say this about you. We say, ‘Why?’ But you Americans say, ‘Why not?'” He shook his head again. “What do you think is the benefit of all that self confidence of yours?”
“I’m not self-confident about everything,” I pointed out. “Just what I’ve spent years learning, and blood, sweat, and tears making my own. Then, yes, it has benefits. It makes me willing to take risks. In America we say, ‘You can’t hit the ball if you don’t swing the bat.’ So why not?”
But I don’t think you like my willingness to take risks, do you? My willingness to follow the energy? I can’t help but wonder if that’s what put you in such a regrettably snarky mood, before I left. Regrettable for me, anyway. You seem quite comfortable with your sadism.
Anyway, of course there is no trip anywhere without encountering some handsome friend of the Wayward Countess. She had sent ahead an introduction, and I met Gaël, a sweet young soul–a fellow Leo–with the cool head of an accountant and the poignant depth of a mystic. Our conversation covered topics from real estate products in Paris offered by HSBC to the paranormal. Interestingly, Richard was also a Leo. I guess today was my day for encounters with other lions. The pride was on the move….
It would be a trifecta if Francois is a Leo. He certainly isn’t what I expected, when he made himself known to me at the Fontaine St. Michel. But more about that tomorrow.
I’m launching a BlogTalkRadio show. I’ve created the “Independent Artists & Thinkers” show and our first show airs Thursday, April 16 at 1 pm EDT. I’ll be interviewing dancer and Artistic Director Lori Belilove, founder of the Isadora Duncan Company and Foundation.
This internet radio show is focused on one of my personal passions: the journey of the independent artist, who creates and sustains art outside the structure of the big studios, publishing companies, and galleries.
It’s my belief that the most interesting, creative, and original voices today are heard outside of the big corporations, studios, and galleries. Individuals of courage and inspiration are seizing the opportunities to create and promote their art themselves. I intend to support them and to bring their stories to you–to the world.
On this premiere show, I’ll interview independent artists of all kinds, unusual thinkers, and healers about their process. How do they do it? How do they start with an idea and bring it to life in the world? This show intends to illuminate the journey. Feel free to call in to 516 453 6052 with questions, or livechat with me at blogtalkradio.com/independentartiststhinkers
On this first episode, we’ll ask: What does it take to found and sustain an artistic institution? Lori Belilove has some ideas to share with us.
Lori Belilove is recognized around the world as the premier interpreter and ambassador of the dance of Isadora Duncan. She’s sought after as a unique contemporary artist who understands the essence of Isadora. Known as a solo dance artist for her interpretations of Duncan’s signature solos and staging of Duncan’s group masterpieces, she has also been recognized for creating powerful, contemporary works in her own voice. The purity, timelessness, authentic phrasing, and musicality of Duncan dance has been passed down to Lori through a direct line of Isadora Duncan dancers.
Lori is also a choreographer and the Artistic Director of The Isadora Duncan Dance Company. The company performs regularly and increasingly garners invitations to perform around the world. Lori herself is a dynamo as well as a dancer of supreme grace and appeal.
I’m excited about this new endeavor, and I hope my readers will tune in, either live or via archive. If you’re listening live, then, please, phone in! I’d love to hear from you. Consider this an invitation!