Thursday, December 25, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
"Have you read this quote?" She asked.
As it turns out, the quote is from my own unpublished S/F/Fantasy novel, THE GODS OF THE GIFT. It's from the page after the title page, where I have set quotes by two fictional writers. Of course I told her of this quote's provenance. It's weird and ironic, though, to find that something of my writing worked its way via osmosis into the outside world. No one has ever read this book in its entirety. Only my partner knows the gist of it.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Until recently astrophotography demanded the use of film. Today's DSLRs have sufficient control of high ISO noise so it's possible to take a shot like this and have it work When Comet Hale-Bopp (named after two discoverers who spotted the comet independently) reached perihelion in 1997 I reached for my trusty Nikon F2 and loaded it with Fujifilm 400 print film. The stars are not blurred through this five minute exposure because I mounted the camera atop an aligned telescope drive. Astronomers call the practice Piggyback photography. On this one night in late spring of '97 I was able to get to a dark-sky site in Oriental, CA. I got half dozen useful exposures of this body that was called The Great Comet of 97. It remains in my memory as the brightest comet of my life. It stayed visible for much of 97 before it rounded the sun and vanished into the southern skies. I used this image for the cover of my music CD, OUT OF THIS WORLD Art's CD on Youtube
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
As I was setting up the pages for Tumblr, I was asked the following question in setting up my profile:
How Do You Define Your Work?
Holy Shirt! What a question! It caused me to pause....and pause...and in this manner some days went by...and I paused some more.. This is how I finally defined my work.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Lately I've been getting messages from people that I would term
"Cries From The Heart". The French have a term for this: Cri de Coeur. A Cri de coeur is deep, serious and without artifice. It's the real thing. I've gotten emails, facebook messages, texts, phone calls, cries from everywhere on Earth. They are wails of desperation, despair. In May I uttered such a cry to a few of my friends. Perhaps that's why I'm getting these messages now. People feel they can let down their guard. I hear from strangers, from acquaintances and from friends. It's as if our bodies are distilling our experiences and allowing these feelings to percolate downward into the Earth. "WE'RE IN TROUBLE!" is what I'm hearing. Well...what else is new? We've been in trouble for some time now. When Robin Williams died there was a collective outflow, as if a giant balloon had been punctured. PSHEEEEWWW! Suddenly the world had lost an important shade of color. Gone! Our palette was subtly impoverished. I found myself thinking, "If he could get to such a state, then ANYONE might find themselves so distressed that they start looking for a way out."
Fortunately, I survived my May crisis but I will admit that it left me frightened. It was ungodly painful! I don't want to go through that again. I don't want anyone to go through such an ordeal. Perhaps it was a true mid-life crisis, just a little late. I didn't have the crisis about getting old in my fifties. But at 65, whammo! I write this because I think it's time to be honest. Hang on tight, my friends. We live in "interesting times" as the Chinese curse has it. "May you live in interesting times" is an oriental malediction.
It's like saying "may you be witness to much war, famine and suffering."
We have all of that and we are forced to be witness because we live in a global information network where the news is even pumped through men's room urinals. It's important that we help one another, any way that we can. Expect to feel confused. Reach out when the confusion gets overwhelming. Reach out, anyway.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
“I seen it comin’ for a long time. It wasn't no shock." said Mr. Tilton, who has worked in the House for thirty seven years.
“There are fingerprints on top of fingerprints. Seems like everybody
wanted Compassion out of the way. The timing is suspicious, I must say.
Only last week, Wisdom was blown to pieces in the Senate. Officials in
Congress are trying to pin the crime on lobbyists. Of course the
investigation won’t start until the end of the current filibuster.”
There's some deeper wound that exists in all of us, some Original Grief that accompanies us into the physical world. It rides along with us in our physical bodies and sometimes it just waits there and does nothing but cause pain, momentary pain, endurable pain. But sometimes that primal slash starts to bleed and no matter who you are, you can't stop the bleeding, you can't stanch the flow. Your psychic energy begins to drain from you just like real blood and you get weaker and weaker and you tell yourself, hang on, be a warrior, endure. You do NOT want to hear some fool tell you "Get over it. The past is the past, it's over and done with. It's time to move on." You don't want to hear that because the fool who says that is clueless, has no idea how deep psychic pain can take you.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
I've noticed that some (as they are called) Baby Boomers are like Jews who are anti-Semitic. My mother was a classic Jewish anti-semite. Hateful rhetoric dropped from her mouth like crap from an owl's cloaca. "The Jews will trick you every time," she often said. "You can't trust them." Another of her favorites: "Money's what they're about. Money money money. Jews do one thing well, and that's make money. It's a shonda that Hitler didn't succeed in wiping them out!" The word "shonda" is Yiddish for "shame" or "too bad".
As I got into my early teens I stopped being afraid of my mother. I'd outgrown her. She couldn't beat me up. "Mom", I would riposte, dodging her clumsy right hook and restraining my urge to retaliate with a knockout uppercut. "You're a Jew, I'm a Jew, dad's a Jew, Sandy's a Jew. How can you say this horrible Nazi crap?"
My mom was crazy. I mean truly bat-shit crazy. Sometimes there’s “good crazy” but mom was “bad crazy”. Her mind ran like the railroad tracks that led to Auschwitz. There were predictable stops at the same stations at the same times. There were no deviations. Is that one definition of crazy? "An extreme rigidity of thought in which facts and nuances cannot be accommodated lest the pathological structure of said rigidity be broken like a bridge without proper support."
Let me get back to my original thesis, regarding Baby Boomers. I'm seventy plus years old. Demographically I'm a baby boomer. In other cultures I would be a respected Elder but in Amerika I am seen by some as an irrelevant, un-hip old fart who still listens to Sixties pop music. Let me correct this misapprehension. I listened to (and still listen to ) John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and their ilk. I admit to being a huge musical snob. Keyboard monster Jessica Williams is the only living legend in my sandbox, and she refuses to be tied up by the label JAZZ. I will also offer a place of honor to Leonard Cohen. He has given me enormous pleasure with his music.
I enjoyed post-1965 pop music. Within my vast stack of Coltrane and post-bop LPs were a limited number of pop records. I bought the second Rolling Stones record. I bought five Bob Dylan records, starting with Bringing It All Back Home and ending with Blonde on Blonde. I hesitated at John Wesley Harding. I had to wait a few years for Dylan's Multiple Personality Disorder to roll over like slot machine fruit to a configuration I recognized. I never bought a Beatles record. I am a fan but I still don't buy their records. Who needs to?
It's weird when I read articles in which Baby Boomers are generalized into a sociological cluster that resembles a haul of mackerel in a giant net. Our nation has been dominated by some nebulous force called Youth Culture since we were Youth ourselves. Now, if we don't understand or enjoy Hip Hop we're relegated to the Outer Limits of cultural discard.
Some of the best music I hear is television background music. These are theme songs, fragments or riffs designed to enhance the drama. They are sound-memes, identifiers of hit series like Sons Of Anarchy (Review) or Breaking Bad. My ear tells me, "Hey, that's pretty good stuff..". Fortunately one can buy a lot of these TV songs and themes. They are sold by the show and the season, not by the artist. They're like playlists. They ARE playlists. The show's composer, such as Dave Porter from Breaking Bad, is not interested in tearing up hotel rooms and snorting coke with groupies.
The contemporary musical acts to which I am exposed are forgotten as soon I've heard them. I give Lady Gag props for her science fiction wardrobe and catchy tunes. But most of the singers or bands I hear get me to wondering. Can they play at all? Five years ago I would have thought so but lately there’s something stirring on the music scene and it’s Covid inoculated. These musicians are awesome and they’re not touring. They’re in the studio.
The dance shows knock me out. We love the dancing and choreography. Love it! I'm convinced that dance is in the midst of a golden revival, that we are witnessing the invention of truly new languages.
When we see a band or a musical act, the odds are about fifty fifty. They’re either phenomenal or phenomenally boring.
I have no refuge. If I
want to listen to jazz I'm welcome, of course. But there is no more John
Coltrane, no more Charles Mingus. Now we have Marsalis Gumbo, that well
known New Orleans dish. God bless the Marsalis clan as the best thing to
happen to jazz. It's good stuff,
it shows awesome technical prowess and a smidgen of soul. It seems,
however, that musical innovation is being led by technology. One can buy
a machine that makes sounds that might emanate from remote corners of the
galaxy. It has no difficulty playing in 15/8 time. We can write and play
whatever we want! Our imaginations have been unfettered. Where are
the people putting these awesome tools to use? It turns out that the
really good musicians, players who are imaginative AND proficient have migrated
to the world of television and film, where they provide so many excellent sound
tracks. They're not interested in being pop stars. They're
interested in doing their work and making a decent wage. BTW, they're on Youtube, offering their teachings.
There are no musical categories any more. Jazz as a dynamic art form ran out of gas around 1970. It had played itself into a corner called "New Wave" or "New Thing" and hardly anyone could tolerate the caterwauling that emerged from the saxophones of Albert Ayler or John Tchicai. (A confession here: at the time, I loved New Wave. I was taking acid). Today, however, I find that Jazz hasn't disappeared at all. It's grown and flourished! Who wouldda thought?
I'm not ashamed of being seventy plus years old. The alternative is to be dead.
Anyone who has reached such an age has survived a given amount of horrible pain.
I'm proud to be a survivor. I know certain things. Pain is a great teacher.
My mother taught me by negative example not to feel contempt for my own tribe. Her railroad tracks ran out in 1980, when she committed suicide. She rolled up on the terminal station of her mental Auschwitz and it didn't look very inviting. The sign said "Arbeit Macht Frei" and poor mom was in no condition to Arbeit.
I know this isn't my best-written piece, I know it's sloppy and barely hangs together. I'm trying to start a conversation. I'm tired of being dismissed by little kiddies half my age who are now taste-makers, trend-setters and power brokers. INFLUENCERS.
I'm in the business of making a living as a writer and I passed Rejection Slip #500 a long time ago for my novel, CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MANhttp://www.artrosch.com/2014/06/my-novel-vice-of-courage-chapter-one.html. It's as profound and touching a story as any novel in print, it will make you laugh and make you cry but it has no vampires, nor anything with long teeth, it's just about people and the way they go about healing themselves from having crazy mothers. Seventy pages of this book take place in 1982 Afghanistan! It's exciting as hell!
Literary agents, editors, publishers, taste-makers and other cultural filters and gate-keepers will some day be either seventy plus years old or six feet underground.
I invite them NOW, (before it's too late) to get on my train, whose tracks are constantly being built right under the engine and we never know where we might end up.
(Today's magic word is "Duck on a string". Okay, four words).
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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