Sunday, November 29, 2009


Welcome to the very last chapter of my Book Passages series. Chapter 20 is an excerpt from the play "Stuck" by Neil Haven. This is the only passage that I sought out instead of having it sent to me without a specific request. "Stuck" is the play that will be at the In Tandem Theater during the run of my Book Passages Exhibition at the 10th Street Gallery. The Theater and Gallery are together under one roof. In fact the Gallery is in the lobby/lounge area of the theater.

I originally was going to ask Miranda Levy, the Art Gallery Curator, to ask the theater director to pull a passage from the play once I knew that "Stuck" was running during my exhibition. Miranda had already agreed to my idea of have some of the theaters actors read the book passages during the opening of my Book Passages Exhibit on February 12, 2010. I thought that finishing the series with a passage from the play would be a fitting close to my Book Passages visual journey.

As luck would have it I was at an American Society of Media Photographers meeting in September. The topic was professional photographers who also have created a fine art career separate from their commercial work. I was speaking with a woman named Maria before the meeting started. She asked about the project I was working on. I explained the project and my intent to finish with a passage from the play, "Stuck". She said she is friends with the playwright, Neil Haven and could ask him if he would like to pull out a passage for me to interpret. Wow. What were the odds of that happening? I gave Maria my business card and about a week later I received an email from Mr. Haven expressing his interest and enthusiasm in helping me out. So the passage below was picked out by the playwright himself. So cool.

Reading the passage that Mr. Haven submitted for interpretation I was immediately immersed in the solitude of thought that would take place while "Stuck" in an elevator for six hours; in complete darkness. What would go through your mind?

I feel that ending with this passage really brings the Book Passages series to a respectable close. Even the name of the play, "Stuck", is somewhat of a metaphor for how I'm feeling as I complete this visual journey. This journey has taught me a lot as an artist. I have grown a lot during this eleven month visual journey. I feel like I have many creative paths I can take but at this time I'm uncertain what road I'll choose. I have met some talented people on this journey and I can't wait to work with them in the future. Thanks to all of the friends and family that have supported this project by showing an interest in it by viewing my blog posts and making comments along the way. Thanks also to the many new cyber friends I've gained along the way. I hope that you all continue to drop by occasionally as I will continue to have new thoughts and images to express and show.

A few things to look forward to are:
  1. The opening night of the Book Passages series at the 10th Street Gallery on Friday February 12, 2010.
  2. A LuLu book of my Book Passages images combined with poetry by a talented St. Louis writer, Michelle PG Richardson. Michelle is creating new poems inspired by the images I created during this visual journey. I think the creative process of people sending in passages for interpretation from the written word, my visual interpretation from those passages and now a new literary interpretation creates a very interesting thread of creativity, communication and thought.
AND now for the final passage, Chapter 20 of the Book Passages series.

Stuck by Neil Haven


....Anybody ever been stuck in an elevator? It happened to me last summer. There was this huge thunderstorm and the hotel got hit by a power surge. It knocked everything out for about six hours. I was stranded somewhere between the fifth and sixth floor. So I heroically called for help on my cellphone. But then they couldn't figure out how to get me out. So they were all yelling down to me, telling me I'd be fine and that I'd be out any minute. I think they were worried I would go insane and eat myself. I didn't. I was fine. It was just dark for longer than I would have wanted. So anyway, I was in there for a good eight hours before they finally got it running. When I arrived at the next floor, they were kinda freaked out. Apparently I'm the first person in history to be stuck in an elevator for eight hours and then not get out of it when the door opened.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Aspects of Error and Illusion

Believe it or not this is Chapter 19 of the Book Passages Series. This chapter was another very tough one to visually interpret. I received this passage submission early in the process, March 17 to be exact. I would read and re-read the words sent to me struggling to keep the character names from distracting the overall concept of the passage. I thought of skipping this passage and picking one a bit easier to interpret but to stay loyal to my initial intent of working close to the order that I received them I finally excepted the challenge and here are the results. Obviously this passage comes very late in the order that it was received but better late than never. As always, I enjoy and appreciate the dialog created from these passages and images so as we close in on the end of this visual journey please share your thoughts.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed results of a young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it. A new Theresa will hardly have the opportunity of reforming a conventional life, and more than a new Antigone will spend her heroic piety in daring all for the sake of a brother's burial: the medium in which their ardent deeds took shape is for ever gone. But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorothea's, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorthea whose story we know.

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effects of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dear Old Dad

Today is the Fifth Anniversary of my fathers death. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him and speak to him. This collage of images show him in the many poses he'd let me do with him while I was in High School playing around with my camera. He never said no. He was a man of few words. Soon after he retired, my job was close enough to his house so for about a year I would go to work early just to sit and have a cup of coffee with my Dear Old Dad. Sometimes we talked and sometimes we just shared parts of the paper. What memories! I have many more like this but this one is one of my favs. I miss you dad. Our backyard campfire talks, our coffee outings to Alterra, our........(poem)

Victor Anthony (Mecyssne) is one of my favorite musical artists. His words and music are so smart and touching. He is an amazing storyteller. Below are the lyrics to his song Dear Old Dad from his Skinnybones CD. He also is an amazing photographer. You can check out more of his work at his blog, Leica Diary.

Dear Old Dad
Daddy had a voice like a seersucker suit on a
muggy summer day

Mama met him in a train station during World War II
Pretty soon I was on my way
He'd spin me around and around in the air
And never let me fall
Later on he was always there
All I had to do was call my

Dear old, dear old, dear old dad
My dear old, dear old dad

Cars today all look the same
They all look like orthopedic shoes
You got to squint real hard just to read the names
"Cause you can't tell a Chevy from a Subaru
He always had the finest rides
That the bank would let him borrow
When I was just a shaver he'd bend the law and
let me drive
Made me feel like a silver dollar my

Dear old, dear old, dear old dad
My dear old, dear old dad

Got a picture of him by the lake
With his stogie and a pole
Cigar keeps the bugs at bay
That's what my old man told me

We laid him down in the cold, dark ground
On a muggy summer day
Friends and family all around
All that I could think to say was

Dear old, dear old, dear old dad
My dear old, dear old dad

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reflections by William Schulman

Welcome to Chapter 18 of my Book Passages series. A few times on this visual journey I have gone off the main road to visit some interesting passages that could only be found on the back roads of this incredible trip. Those images and passages are reflected in the radio dialog "God", the recent passage from Mary's novel and now William Schulman's poem.

For those who may not know, William (Bill) Schulman is my father-in-law and has been one of my biggest supporters on this Book Passages journey. Also for those who may not know, Bill is an incredible artist and retired educator. Even now he continues to create new work on a regular basis with his brushes as well as his pen. Check out the links I've provided which help provide some background to the man behind the poem starting with one of my favorite paintings by Bill and a brief review from Gary John Gresl on the Retrospective Show Bill had at the Charles Allis Museum about five years ago .

This visual interpretation of Bill's poem is fittingly abstract just like much of Bill's art work is. It's as much a visual interpretation to the artist as it is to his poem. I feel I nailed it. If you are looking for a narrative illustration you will probably be disappointed. If you appreciate the abstract play of his words to my visual reflection it may become one of your favorites as it has mine. Either way it should provoke some kind of response and if it does then please share your thoughts in the comment section of the blog. Your opinions help shape the dialog for others to enjoy and contemplate.

Reflections by William Schulman

Reflections hold rigid,
my Ronson fails once more.
The candle sputters but will not light.
All seems light, yet the numbing dark
interfaces my veins and arteries.
Blood has coagulated in blue-ivory,
bed-ridden fancies collapse in my coma,
Rigor mortis stains my breath,
my last follicle twitches in vain.
All parasitic lice begin to starve.

Reflections pool in my ankles in strange ways.
They stretch me out on a snooker table-
I crush the chalk with a clenched fist.
The green cloth is blue in the pockets.
Dull clicks become icier.
The Van Gogh light shade glows citron.
They rack me up.
The yellow ball hurts my eyes.
I have an immense desire
to scratch!

These are not a series but two separate options. Which one speaks to you more? Please comment.