Dr. Quigley quotes Robinson Jeffers, “…take a walk, for instance, and admire the landscape: that is better than killing one’s brother in war or trying to be superior to one’s neighbor in time of peace. We could dig our gardens…We could, according to our abilities, give ourselves to science or art; not to impress somebody, but for the love of the beauty each discloses. We could even be quiet occasionally…”
Better than killing, so many alternatives. I chose writing. But still something needs to get me out of the chair. Used to be handball, tennis, baseball, now I do as Jeffers suggests. I take a walk.
Dr. Quigley in his book Housing the Environmental Imagination, quotes Thoreau, “We are wont to see our dooryard as a part of the earth’s surface.”
I surely do, it is why I offer up so many photos of the view from my office. I used to think that my dooryard could be anywhere. My first apartment was as a studio.. I knew from the get go that it wasn’t large enough. I needed more than a dorm room.
The good news is the studio had a huge balcony on which I could grill. I had learned from a friend known as the “food scientist” that eating like a king at breakfast and a pauper at night could enable me to lose weight.
First thing in the morning, I grilled either pork chops, lamb chops or steak and added it to three eggs, bacon and toast. I surely made my dooryard as part of the earth’s surface just by the animals I brought there albeit they had already been butchered. I don’t remember if I lost weight.
Not sure I can tell that story with any success when I meet Dr. Quigley for dinner next week, but I surely enjoyed the memory his book provided.
Friedrich Nietzsche writes, “We have art so that we shall not die of reality.”
I don’t think of Nietzsche as being the most positive guy I never met, but I like this quote. Since he is dead, I have to think I have changed and not him. Or he actually had a moment of bliss.
I take him to mean that art is as much an outlet as an escape; for the artist and the patron. What say you?
Tor House is the name Robinson and Una Jeffers gave the house they built in Carmel, California. Tor comes from the rocky points they saw when visiting Dartmoor, England. The home was important to his poetry. My house is important to my writing. There our similarities end.
He built his house. I live in mine. They built theirs with stone carved from the boulders of the coastline in Carmel. Someone built ours a long time ago and then more recently someone else put aluminum siding on it. I don’t even have to paint it and yet I feel ownership. Just by being present.
Robinson did all that work on his home and still had time to write. Very little of my home competes for my writing time. I think, “advantage Bob.” An advantage I have yet to capitalize on. Maybe I should build a shed or something.
In “On Art”, an essay by Edward O. Wilson in the anthology Biopoetics, Wilson writes, “I emphasize the expansive role of poetry to argue that whereas art and science are basically different in execution, they are convergent in what they might eventually disclose about human nature.”
How does that happen? Does it happen? What do they disclose about human nature?