Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday, Fasting, and Fan Fair

Ok, so they don't call it Fan Fair anymore, but it's happening. And it's hot. I can't imagine how folks are walking around in this heat nonsense. I suppose Judge and I did it when we were busking and slinging t-shirts at the same event two years ago, but I can't imagine it now. Perhaps I've turned into a wimp.

I like this watercolor by Susan Beauchemin. She's one of the daily painters I get in the mail. I like the wobbly-looking legs. You can go to the site and buy her art. I also like this one. I want to eat them. It's by Oriana Kacicek. I think the reason they appeal to me so much right now is because they are forbidden. Not that I'm on a diet by any means, but Judge and I are trying to eat whole grains, fruits, juice, and fish - and skip the refined sugars, msgs, etc. Needless to say our diet hasn't been great recently, so we're trying something different. Attempting to "get right." Wish me luck.
Also, another sweet for anyone out there in the blogosphere, some information on Alexander Pushkin. I went to BookExpo America last week in Los Angeles and this Berkeley non-profit publisher of poetry had a booth there that I stopped at. We were talking poets briefly, and the person manning the booth told me that in Russia, everyone was a poet. The cab driver, the street sweeper, they all could recite lines and verses of poetry and were very proud of it. I had never heard this before, but I told him it reminded me of Nashville being a songwriter town, where everyone, bum and cab driver alike, were songwriters. But it entertained me to think of all the high cheekboned, severe-eyed Russian reciting poetry while doing menial tasks, (and I mean those descriptors to be compliments, by the way) and thought what a beautiful thing it must be to know such lengthy lines of verse. So here, Alex Pushkin's small bio, on his birthday, and a poem following.

It's the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, (books by this author) born in Moscow (1799). He's considered the greatest Russian poet of all time. His mother was descended of a slave from Cameroon who had been bought as a gift for Peter the Great. His father was a small-time nobleman. Alexander was short — only 5'6" — and left his side whiskers and his long fingernails ungroomed.

He liked women with small feet, the opera, and smoked sturgeon. He once called his wife his "113th love." He had extreme mood swings that scholars say would today be diagnosed as manic-depressive. His poems about the monarchy earned him enforced exile to the south in 1820. He liked to sit in bed with a notebook on his knees and compose poems.

He was quick to anger and a participant in numerous duels. His final one was with a French nobleman who fancied Pushkin's wife — and Pushkin died from the wound he received in the fight. He was only 38. His most famous work is Eugene Onegin (1823).

And a poem by Pushkin pulled from Pushkin's Poem's website.

If I walk the noisy streets,
Or enter a many thronged church,
Or sit among the wild young generation,
I give way to my thoughts.

I say to myself: the years are fleeting,
And however many there seem to be,
We must all go under the eternal vault,
And someone's hour is already at hand.

When I look at a solitary oak
I think: the patriarch of the woods.
It will outlive my forgotten age
As it outlived that of my grandfathers'.

If I caress a young child,
Immediately I think: farewell!
I will yield my place to you,
For I must fade while your flower blooms.

Each day, every hour
I habitually follow in my thoughts,
Trying to guess from their number
The year which brings my death.

And where will fate send death to me?
In battle, in my travels, or on the seas?
Or will the neighbouring valley
Receive my chilled ashes?

And although to the senseless body
It is indifferent wherever it rots,
Yet close to my beloved countryside
I still would prefer to rest.

And let it be, beside the grave's vault
That young life forever will be playing,
And impartial, indifferent nature
Eternally be shining in beauty.

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