Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Exhibition

Pictures at an Exhibition.  Mussorgsky.  Why do I remember that?  Not my usual style.  And this was not my typical evening.  It wasn’t Mussorgsky.  Not even music.  Something quite different.

My typical evening sounds pretty boring.  Home from work, eat, gym, a little TV, and some writing.  Recently I’ve been trying to get back to things I used to do.  Before children.  I’m an empty nester now so my life belongs a little more to me.  So, I’ve been going to concerts and the theater and art movies.  And art exhibits.

This time it was an art exhibit with a lecture regarding the exhibit.  Artists, meaning, technical details.  Interesting stuff, albeit maybe a little heavy on the details for someone like me.  But it was good.  Huge, round plastic sculptures in one gallery and modern American painters in the next.

The sculptures were done by an American guy in California during the sixties and seventies.  Giant pieces of Lucite, hand cast and hand polished.  Each one a single color, but many colors represented.  They looked like they had clouds inside them.  I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t roll away.  There seemed to be nothing holding them in place.  Like a coin on its edge, they just stood there.  In a mesmerizing kind of way.

The American painters were household names- Warhol, Lichtenstein, Nevelson, Rauschenberg, Kelly and so many more.  Great stuff.  I need to go back to this one.

What was most interesting was the fact that this was not only not my typical evening, it was not among the sort of people I typically associate with.  I have an interest in the arts.  I’m not an artist.  These people were mainly art museum staff, art benefactors, art collectors, and of course, artists.  I felt very vanilla in this multiflavored world.

Even within this crowd there were subgroups.  Those all in black.  Think Halstead, not Goth.  Those all in white.  Those with boots, cowboy and otherwise.  Those with scarves.  Long haired men, short haired ladies.  Several with trousers rolled up to their knees.  Small purses.  Man bags.  Wine sippers.  Beer drinkers.

Can’t stereotype the art world after all.  Diverse group, like most others.  I kinda like this bunch.  They seem to think outside the box.  Like me.  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?  http://www.personalhistorywriter.com

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September 23, 2012 · 2:41 am

Change is Good

It’s funny how our thoughts and ideas change over time.  Not that they necessarily change from good to bad, or bad to good.  Or even from wrong to right, or right to wrong.  They just change from what they were to what they are.  They reflect the changes we go through in our life’s journey.

Some represent a sea change in the way we view or understand our world.  Now I’m a democrat.  Now I’m a republican.  Others are just little things.  Today I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Yesterday, I couldn’t eat one if you paid me.  But they are all part of our story, and all interesting in their progression.

My wife wants to buy new furniture for the living room.  When I heard that I thought to myself, “oh gosh, this could be painful.”   Not because I was afraid she was going to spend a lot of money.  She’s pretty reasonable.  It was because our tastes are different.  Enough so that I might not be able to sit in a living room filled with furniture she picked out.  But wait, I was in for a surprise.

She grew up in a household with traditional American furniture.  I’m not sure that’s the proper label, but I think you know what I mean.  Ethan Allen meets Norman Rockwell.  Nothing wrong with that.  She also grew up in a household where you didn’t sit on the furniture.  Not even the chairs.  It was all for show.  She called it her grandmother’s museum room.

I grew up in a house where the furniture was designed for function and comfort.  And form.  Early feng shui.  It was modern, and classic.  Eclectic.  Mother is an artist.

Dragging me along for my inputs, my wife says, “I want to look at Italian furniture.”  We lived in Italy for a couple of years when we were first married and the furniture we saw was of the baroque fashion.  Highly polished wood with inlay.  It was nice, but way too ornate for me.  My idea of Italian design is Ferrari and Lamborghini. And the Italians are famous for furniture that mirrors those sleek designs.  I didn’t realize that my wife was aware of that so I was stunned when we walked into a showroom that looked like modern art.  It was beautiful stuff.  She liked it.  I liked it.  And when that happens we know we’ve hit on the right thing.

We didn’t buy anything, but I came to understand that my wife’s sense of style and fashion had changed.  Grown if you will.  And I think being married to me has helped with that.  Not that my sense is great.  It has just given her something new to think about and explore.  In furniture, and other things as well.

So, change is good.  That’s part of our story, what’s yours?  www.personalhistorywriter.com

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collector’s folly

This has to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.  Well, there was that time back in the day when parachute pants were popular.  Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that was silly.  But this thing, it’s just goofy. 

 Just lying there, waiting, it looks ok I guess.  Brightly colored.  Purple.  Teal.  And spots.  Very tame.  Inert even.  But when you touch it, or pick it up, it wiggles and squirms.  But it isn’t afraid or trying to get away.  That’s when I have to scratch my head, smile and wonder what genius came up with this thing.

 I collect pens and this is an oddball.  Some of the pens I have are just plain works of art.  The antique fountain pens with the etched nibs. Others perfectly functional.  The Cross and Schaeffer pen and pencil sets. Others just reminders of people or places from the past.  Like every Hampton Inn I’ve ever been in.  I’m a klepto when it comes to hotel pens.  Lots of companies use pens for advertising.  Some are good pens that make me think more of the advertiser.  Some are terrible pens, which makes me think less. 

 As an interesting matter of fact, the company that developed my website had somehow managed to get one of their pens into my hands and when I went to meet the guy for our initial meeting, I had that sucker in my pocket.  Fate!

 My thing with pens started early.  I remember collecting pens in junior high school.  I think they call that middle school now.  Back then the standard pen was the Bic ballpoint.  I remember a TV ad where someone strapped one to an ice skate and skated around a pond, writing on the ice I guess.  But afterwards, the thing still worked!  Then there was the Bic Banana.  It was so popular you could hardly find it in the stores.  Big yellow thing.  Go figure.  And the Bic Click.  That was upscale. 

 When I graduated from high school my parents gave me a pen.  Not just any pen.  Much more than a Bic.  This was a Hallmark special edition made from a solid piece of rosewood and enhanced with gold-filled hardware.  It was smooth to the touch and well balanced.  And it wrote very nicely.  In spite of my illegible handwriting.  My first beautiful pen.  I was hooked and had to have more.

 So now I have this crazy looking thing.  You may have seen something like it before.  It’s in the shape of a fish.  Colored like a neon trout.  And carved so that it bends and wiggles and squiggles.  Not a beautiful pen.  Not a classic.  Barely even functional.  But I hate to write with it anyway because I’m afraid it will run out of ink.  It was hand carved by an international artisan.  How do I know?  He signed it.  His name is China. 

 Don’t know how I got it, but it’s part of my collection.  And I keep it not because it’s beautiful, or valuable, but because it makes me laugh.  And I need some more laughs in my world.  That’s part of my personal history.  What’s your story?  Write it down for the future.  http://www.personalhistorywriter.com

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