Rooted in Loneliness: Thoughts on Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn

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Art, like life, relies on communication. What happens when empathy fails and we are struck by how unintelligible we are? Sometimes it seems that the only thing we can share is loneliness itself.

409660_23b2cb16 © John Mavin with CCLicense

One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said, “We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I’ll make one. I’ll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I’ll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I’ll make…

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Animal Images, Inspiration from Nature, Part Two

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Human beings have strong identifications, both positive and negative, with animals. What do our natural responses tell us about ourselves?

Wolf © Sue Coccia Wolf
© Sue Coccia

What follows is a gallery of art selected from the output of three outstanding artists, Sue Coccia, Athena Jahantigh and Rex Homan. I selected them not only because of their imaginative artwork, but because these artists also have great connections to native traditions. Clicking on the name of the artist will take you to their website. An internet search will turn up plenty of sites that explain what certain animals mean, but they can’t always interpret what they hold for you. If you are interested in the archetypal significance an image has held over time, which is fascinating, this website on totems and animal symbolism provides good content without being too definitive.

All images are used in accordance with Fair Use Policy for analytical and educational purposes. The links in the captions below…

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Animal Images: Inspiration from Nature, Part One

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From adorable kittens and puppies to majestic lions and wolves, we love pictures of animals. What need do they fulfill?

Public Domain Image via Pixabay Public Domain Image via Pixabay

When I am attracted to the image of animal, be it a painting, a sculpture, a photo or any other representation, it is usually because I’m identifying with the creature’s attributes or abilities. That kitten is so cute, mischievous and lazy; that bird soars through the air, feathers agleam with beauty in the sun. Much of the time the quality or talent I’m attracted to is either something I prize and wish I possessed in greater quantity or something I identify with much to my chagrin. Yes, I’m probably anthropomorphizing more than is logical. Am I alone? I expect not.

My cat, Yuri My cat, Yuri

Native American and other indigenous peoples live in much closer proximity to wild animals than most city dwellers, although we have our companion pets. These pets are all the more precious to…

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Quote for Today: M.E. Thomas

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© Subharnab Majumdar with CCLicense© Subharnab Majumdar with CCLicense

When you grow up as a girl, it is like there are faint chalk lines traced approximately three inches around your entire body at all times, drawn by society and often religion and family and particularly other women, who somehow feel invested in how you behave, as if your actions reflect directly on all womanhood.

M.E. ThomasConfessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

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Lovingly Carried: The Enchantment of Božo Vrećo’s Lejlija

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Our world seems increasingly fractured by mistrust and hate. Can music, especially that of the human voice, heal those fractures?

Sevdalinka or Sevdah music is a genre of folk music that flourishes in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. These elaborate and virtuosic songs are set in moderate or slow tempos and speak of love, loss and longing. Traditionally, these melodies have been unaccompanied by instruments, giving the singer complete control over rhythm and tempo and creating the potential for intensely emotional and spontaneous performances. Sevdah is related to Portuguese fado in subject matter and in origin, stemming from a synthesis of Asian, Greek and Sephardic sources.

Image © Petra Cvelbar used in accordance with CCLicense Image © Petra Cvelbar used in accordance with Fair Use Policy

Božo Vrećo, lead singer for the band Halka, is a popular singer of Sevdalinka. He combines traditional elements with an extremely modern sense of identity and…

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A Woman with a Persistent Question: Maria Sibylla Merian and Insect Metamorphosis

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from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian

The questions asked in youth can lead us on journeys that last a lifetime. Sometimes persistence is rewarded with answers.

In the late 17th century there was a common belief that insects were beasts of the devil, spontaneously generated from mud. Few scholars understood the life cycle of the butterfly and insects were certainly not proper subject matter for study, especially for a young lady. Fortunately, curiosity is a powerful thing.

Maria Sibylla Merian Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian was a scientist, botanical artist, engraver and illustrator, famous for her contributions to entomology, the study of insects. Born in 1647 in Frankfurt, her father was the influential Swiss engraver and publisher Matthäus Merian the Elder, who, unfortunately, died before Maria reached the age of four. Her mother later married the painter Jacob Marrel, who taught his stepdaughter how to draw and paint and encouraged her passion…

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Deciphering the Dream: Robert Altman’s 3 Women

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Dreams allow symbols, objects and personalities to form fluid associations. Can their suspension of reality help us understand our lives?

bf612f5785c453edd2d32866b514a54b.jpg

Robert Altman was having a terrible day. He had argued with Warner Brothers executives over decisions about his next film project and things had been said that couldn’t be unsaid. Much worse, his wife had to be taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital. Doctors were unsure she would survive. In a few minutes of fitful sleep, Altman had a dream.

He was directing Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall in a film about identity theft set in the California desert. Upon waking, he jotted down a few notes and went back to sleep, eager for more details. Altman was convinced that his vision was important and wasted no time in getting approval for this new idea, as vivid as it was disjointed, from 20th Century Fox. He…

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