08.01.17

So that’s it, then. I’ve reached the block of having nothing to write about, and thus, am writing about it. Funny how that works.

Here’s August, complete with her 98-degree weather and looming haunts of the impending close of baseball season. Yesterday, Austin saw 97-degree weather, and while that’s still unthinkable to some parts of the country, it’s a breath of not-as-hot air to Central Texas, where Cool Weather likes to book the latest flight in. I’m taking that as a win, after the Mariners beat the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, and Rangers within the last week or so – I’m not sure when the Mariners were last standing second in their division, but I sure like seeing them listed above the Angels. #Approved.

This past weekend also saw the announcement of a new little boy into ma famille, one “Pierce.” If 98 degrees in August wasn’t Texas-y enough for you, a paintball shoot to announce a baby’s gender certainly should be. Get back to me if you find that you still need more Texas in your life.

As far as the Waverly, well, the pattern continues. My dives into Goya’s art are proving to reveal riptides into “East Village Art,” namely, Jean-Michel Basquiat; Basquiat has only just surpassed Andy Warhol as the most expensive American artist, though only having lived to be 27 years old, and I’m sure you’ll soon be reading about some nugget that I’ve found.

Unrelatedly, folk music will again be on my musical résumé soon, and who knows where that will lead me in the Live Music Capital of the World… I’ll be happy with just a few of my favorite wooden stages. While looking for essays by a recently discovered Norwegian author, I’ve connected with some great book promoters that will fuel my sister blog with more ways to support authors. One exploration leads to the challenge of the next one, new blessings and new interests rear every day. It’s the settling that settles, quite literally, as we remember to import what matters and file away what doesn’t.

“Simplicity is the final achievement, the crowning reward of art.”   – Frederic Chopin

Without Jury, But With Cupcake

DT1922Last week marked Edgar Degas’ 183rd birthday, and if any reason exists to treat oneself to a gourmet cupcake from a local bakery, it is to solitarily celebrate the birth of a hero (which may or may not have been exactly what I did). Degas was a founding member of the Société Anonyme des Artistes, or the Society of Independent Artists. It was this group that launched exhibitions apart from the traditional, elitist Salons of the day, and the Society later came to be known as the “Impressionists.”

While in Boston this past April, I got to see my very first Degas, The Rehearsal, at the Harvard Art Museum. As I turned the corner into my first gallery just past the café, there it was, hanging directly across from the doorway. I knew him immediately,  with his arms outstretched toward me for a Texas-sized hug, and seemingly wishing, “Bon voyage,” as I was preparing to cross the pond for the first big solo adventure of my twenties.

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Edgar Degas, The Rehearsal. c. 1873-1878. Harvard Art Museum, Boston, MA.

A few days later, I passed an hour in a corner of the London National Gallery surrounded by half a dozen more of Degas’ paintings. Having made plans for Brighton later that week, it was difficult to keep myself from going all the way into France… but there would’ve been no returning.

Degas and his friends knew how to #lovealocal. They “blurred the lines” between art for recognition and art for art’s sake. In adapting and operating under the slogan, “Without Jury nor Reward,” Degas and the Society showed that it’s okay to claim independence in your art, and not succumb to opinions of a jury specifically for their reward. 

Happy birthday, mon chevalier.

“Art is the desire of a man to express himself.”
– Edgar Degas

Nous Voilà

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I’m so proud of my French heritage, especially on French National Day, and more especially this year, since July 14, 2017 also marks the 100th anniversary of the day the United States joined WWI.

If you know anything about the bits of French history that have intertwined with American history, you know that French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette voluntarily came to America from France to fight in our Revolution against the British. Lafayette eventually became a trusted bestie of George Washington and was promoted to General, and led invasions while successfully persuading the French army to come to America to help fight. After the war ended, Lafayette returned to France and helped lead the French Revolution against Napoleon.

A century and a half later, when the world began fighting itself, the United States managed to stay neutral for three years before reluctantly deciding to join the war – by sending a million troops to South France to help defend the French from German invasion and make a declaration against the Axis Powers. When they arrived in France, US General Pershing went to Lafayette’s tomb to pay homage, with an interest in showing that America shares and respects Lafayette’s desire to see freedom.

France was America’s first ally when the United States was born, and since 1775, France and America have faithfully supported each other throughout the years. Nothing surpasses brotherly love in the name of independence, and I can’t wait to get to say “thank you” to the land of my fathers in person.

Quill and Quire and Quentin

While stumbling onto The Daily Posts’s Quill for today, I was reminded of learning a new word a few weeks ago. Being a book review blogger interested in supporting authors in doing what they love to do, I found myself researching a particular author one afternoon in order to best represent her work as a product of her character. My search led me to Quill and Quire, a Canadian book review magazine, where I spent a few moments digging. I eventually navigated through other “About”-related pages until I found the FAQs, where Quill and Quire stewardly explained what a “quire” was:
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74076e18d348378247b7da29244ea0c26e21d9ac (1)Normally, I’ll have a second thought about a new word anytime I hear one. When it comes to proper-ish nouns, though, I’m not as inclined to wonder about what a strange word might mean. It’s easy to go nuts trying to come up with the most unique name for a band, club, book, brand, pet, etc., and most of the time, I’ll resort to the thought that somebody was just trying to be different… While I’m sure that the person tasked with naming Quill and Quire was certainly going for a unique name, I didn’t immediately wonder what “quire” could mean.

I’m glad to have been prompted to learn about “quire,” though, as it’s certainly struck my bookish fancy. Feels very Harry-Potter-ish. While looking for images of quires like the one above, I’ve just now learned that a quire can also refer to a “choir” of music.

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Church Quire.

Preaching to the quire.

That just doesn’t even look the same. Although, if Quentin Quire was on the church quire, perhaps even singing from a quire, maybe I’d understand a little better.

If we were having coffee…

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Yummies at Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery, in Cardiff. Cappuccino on point, and best heart-shaped cookie I’d had in a long time!

If we were having coffee, we’d be at a locally-owned coffeehouse, likely Cherrywood Coffeehouse if it was evening, or Radio Coffee & Beer if it was during the day. I’m actually enjoying iced coffee from Radio as I write! You’d know about me that I’m a little obsessed with supporting local businesses, especially those that turn around and support local art and music. Long live the local.

If we were having coffee, I’d TOTALLY be paying attention to everything you were saying! I’d just also totally be paying too much attention to what music was playing overhead… It’s a curse. My brain is eternally in tune to music around me, even if it’s barely in the background (apologies in advance!).

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about my upcoming road trip to Mobile! “Mobile?!” you’d say, “Alabama??… Why?” I’d snicker to myself while preparing my defense, and then attempt to describe why I want to go to Mobile. I’d end up having no legitimate answer other than, “It’s an excuse for a road trip!” and you’d shrug it off and remind me to take pictures. I’d invite you to road trip with me to Colorado to see Garrison Keillor in August, and we’d go back and forth for a minute or two before leaving the topic with no real commitment… Then, take another sip of our coffee while telepathically agreeing that last minute, spontaneous trips are the best trips, anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about this great new community of bloggers that use an “If we were having coffee…” prompt to freely write about what’s on their minds! Like a way to reflect on the last few days, or maybe to anticipate what’s coming up next, or maybe notice something new about their personalities. I’d tell you about my lifelong struggle to write about what’s on my mind, and then tell you about how I wrote the fastest blog of my life when I wrote my first IWWHC blog. I’d pause… and wonder if using the same prompt every weekend like every other IWWHC blogger was a trend that I wanted to succumb to… and then I’d drop the thought, because you’d likely already be talking about something else while I was wondering what song was playing!