Saturday, July 14, 2018

I Have a Lovely Problem

The Blues

The Riverside Community Art Association Gallery in Riverside, California is hosting a show, to be called Writers Who Art, Artists Who Write. If you are someone like me who writes and who goes visual by photo, this makes an opportunity to let one modality speak to the other. The projects are to be in the form of a diptych of 11 x 14 boards with the work arrayed on them. Lisa Henry, one of the organizers and the one who so graciously invited me to participate, agreed that thinking of the whole as a multi-media chapbook was a useful conceptualization.

At first I thought of the photos mainly as illustrations of the poems. Then I realized that the poems could be expansions of the photos. I have occasionally been asked to contribute photos to accompany pieces of other people's writing, and I have thought of it as showing a mood. The whole process makes it clear to me that I am, fundamentally, expressively more verbal than visual. Still, I wanted the entire diptych to make the viewer look from one thing to another, and to find that one thing commented on the others. A completely different way of thinking and proceeding and making choices for me, and I really appreciated it. The diptychs will be coming home at the end of next week, and I'll try to take decent photos of them and post them here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dozy Neuropsychologist Thinking Out Loud

The violin-maker's cat, over-exposed

We were talking about Trompe this morning, and I remarked idly that his cluster of behaviors rather resembles Frontal Lobe Syndrome. Then I started thinking about it, checked in my books, and finally saw the following online:

Characteristic features are:
  1. Decreased lack of spontaneous activity - the patient feels no desire to do anything and is unable to plan activities, but may have periods of restlessness.
  2. Loss of attention - the patient displays a lack of interest and is easily distracted.
  3. Memory is normal but the patient cannot be bothered to remember.
  4. Loss of abstract thought - eg, cannot understand proverbs.
  5. Perseveration - a tendency to continue with one form of behavior when a situation requires it to change.
  6. Change of affect - depending on the nature of the damage to the brain, the patient either becomes apathetic and 'flat' or becomes over-exuberant and childish or uninhibited with possibly inappropriate sexual behavior.
  7. The mini mental status protocol [the one used recently on him] does not measure frontal lobe damage properly. Other tasks where this impairment might show up are:  inability to maintain a sequence (messes up the order of elements); inability to follow instructions ["Do Not Congratulate" "Do not look at the sun"]; paucity of vocabulary ["I have the best words"]; inability to orient oneself in space [e.g., trouble learning the layout of a new place, such as, oh, the East Wing], inability to inhibit undesired actions [tearing up documents after being told repeatedly that they must be saved intact]. And there's more, isn't there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day

Pie are square. Pie is round. Pi is approximately 3.14159265.... I know this--that is, I still remember this--because my idea of a good time in high school was to compete in the honor society quiz team against other local high schools. Other students submitted questions (vetted by our faculty sponsors) and we four had at them. Students liked to ask us to give the values of e, and π, and√2. All to 10 places, of course. I specialized in reeling them off like a phone number. God help me, I still love to produce right answers. In this instance, I have wrestled for 52 years to produce the perfect pie crust.  A golden flaky crust is almost a prayerful experience--and takes the same kind of focus and intention and devotion. We'll have some for lunch, and maybe for breakfast tomorrow, if any is left. It's only a 7" pie. But check out the flaky layers!

Postscript:  If I do say so myself, this may have been the best pie I've ever made. Pastry as buttery and flaky as any I had in France. Miam miam! [French for 'yum yum']