Monday, March 26, 2012

The Spring 2012 Reading List

This spring of 2012 means something to me because it is the last spring (and the last season) before I become someone's father. We are expecting a son at the end of July. I would imagine that subsequent reading lists to have a second person involved in their construction. I find the very notion of reading with a child very exciting. I can't want to put Shel Silverstein or The Hobbit on my seasonal reading lists. But that gets ahead of things. This spring's reading list is short.

Death Comes for the Archbishop
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
The Beauty Salon

In short, the books I've been meaning to read, meaning to finish and the books still waiting on the shelf.
I hope your reading lists are fun to construct. I also urge you to finish what you start.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Supplemental Reading List Wrap-up

The grinding halt. It was not exactly so overt. Rather, the grinding halt happened when I stopped looking. I barely felt the lurch, the stop—grinding or otherwise.
It happened some time after the supplemental reading list surfaced and I have little or no reason for what happened.
In the years I have been a reader, I've noticed a few things about myself. First, I'm a bit of a binge reader. During a binge, I will read at least a novel a day. I can keep that pace for long spans of time. Case in point: I wanted to read a novel a day in 1998. 1998 was my first year out of college. I traveled for most of the year bouncing between Denver, San Francisco, Mexico City and Lisbon. The novel a day pace slowed by year's end. I read 198 books. Needless to say, a duration like that tends to make one weird, and as I recall, 'weird' would be a nice way to describe my 1998 state of mind.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Denver Revisited, Part I: Home, Umbrella Factory and a New Day

I went home to Denver during the second week of February.  February in Denver is my favorite time.  Unfortunately, it was not time for sightseeing, old friend visits or long afternoons of wandering the streets which hold allure, ghosts, memories and gold.

I suppose I just don't know what it is about the place.  It may be the history, my history, it may be the air with its thin, dry and light flavor.  Who knows?  Whatever it was on that Sunday morning in February, I just couldn't think outside of how much I missed the place.  It's all right to be homesick once in a while, right?  I found myself being homesick for the streets, the lay of the land and the quality of light.  It was strange, because oftentimes when someone is homesick it's because of their people.  And for me, it was the streets.  Who knows?
The trip to Denver came as a business trip for me. Umbrella Factory Magazine. After months of little direction, too much miscommunication, ennui and desperation, we're getting back on track.   Perhaps greater than the trip home was the trip home to learn new things, think new thoughts and tackle a new job.  Taking over the back end of the magazine, the programming, webmaster and business stuff is a big deal for me.  After all, when UFM began, just checking my email was a taxing chore.
A new day?  It is.  I feel like the new UFM job is part of it.  And I feel especially rejuvenated after a few days in Denver.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can Art Be Quantifiable?

Years ago, I knew a print maker who worked with copper. What was so amazing about his work was the process. He would start with a tremendous plate of copper. When we consider the cost of copper, this thing was truly amazing. Then, he would spend hours, days, months in all likelihood, making small engravings that would eventually produce the prints. The prints were amazing, and perhaps slightly more than the process itself.
At this time, he worked as a waiter in a very popular and exclusive restaurant. I worked the neighborhood bar. He was ten years older and this story is now ten years old. In short, I am the same age now as he was then.
Now, here are a few things about my copper artist friend for the sake of our discussion. First, he was used as an example by my mentor of the time. You see I had a mentor who was a businessman and he was friends with the artist. They were the same age. My mentor was an artist in his own way, but he functioned mostly as a businessman. Both the businessman and the artist knew that I had aspirations to be a writer. The artist bade me well in my pursuit and in my endeavors taking my desire for a life's calling. The businessman told me that I ought to be in business and that all I should do is earn money. He thought I should leave writing behind. His example was the artist who had nothing and he had sacrificed his life for his art.