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Picturing a World

Thanksgiving 2018

Things you love sometimes lead you to personal connections that no one else might ever make but which nourish your soul. This year I have been exploring the art of Samuel Palmer. Every November I read Greer Gilman’s Moonwise. In September, up popped this engraving by Andrew Davidson, which reminded me of both. It also suggested its own mysteries independent even of the Riggs story it illustrates.

Great stimulants to the imagination are gifts to be thankful for, especially in dark times.

In a recent post, Terri Windling quoted Martin Shaw: “[I]f you keep staring at Medusa, you get turned to ashes. And when I meet a lot of activists at the moment, I meet a lot of people utterly consumed with the seemingly horrible narrative of our times. I see a lot of burn out, because they have no shield to reflect, they have no art to reflect, the immensity of what’s right in front of them. If all you do is stare into hell, you will become ashes.”

Instead, “Stories are a way, an artful way, of negotiating very difficult things in such a fashion that, in the very demonstration and articulation of those stories, more beauty works itself out into the world.”

Stories, drama, art, music, dance, myth—they are not escapes from the unbearable; they give meaning and shape to life. We need them and all their beauty.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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