Sunday, April 27, 2008
"If you could invite anyone from history, dead or alive, to have over for a dinner party, who would be there?" My good friend Jim asked me this question a couple of years ago and it occurred to me recently that I never gave him an answer. I have mulled it over and culled from an exhaustive list these finalists...
Lucian Freud, Alfred Hitchcock, Ludwig Van Beethoven, William Shakespeare, Henry David Thoreau, Diane Fossey and John Steinbeck. There are seven because including myself that would be a nice round number and frankly, I'm petrified enough trying to cook for myself let alone seven amazing individuals.
Freud is on the list because his unrelenting work ethic, his ability to paint flesh like nobody's business and his frustrating stubbornness at not granting interviews. If he was at my table I could corner him and make him tell me his secrets.
Hitchcock is there because I am fascinated at the demons he tried to exorcise through film. He clearly had abandonment issues, was eccentric beyond compare and was a master with a camera. Rear Window is a perfect example of his cinematic brilliance.
Beethoven, in my opinion, wrote what his heart felt more than any other composer I have ever known. I cannot hear Missa Solemnis without getting goosebumps to this day. To have an auditory vocation and to be deaf on top of it proves that the music came from somewhere celestial.
Shakespeare. What more can be said of him? He wrote what the soul feels unlike no one else. Plus, he wasn't all pretentious and highfalutin', which he could have been. In each of his puns, soliloquies and sonnets he expressed his genius.
Thoreau, that paragon of simplicity, an unfettered life and such a keen observer, must also be included. To appreciate things just as they are, to live as lightly on the land as possible, is so admirable.
Diane Fossey spent the better part of her life devoted to helping conserve and protect the mountain gorilla. Her tenacity of purpose and unwavering efforts in the face of the utmost hardship saves her a seat at the table. To fight for those who do not have a voice to do so holds a place very near and dear to my heart.
John Steinbeck, who didn't think he deserved his Nobel Prize (pshaw), is one of the best storytellers I have ever known. To describe familial epochs so fluidly, so naturally, so sensitively, is unparalleled in my books.
So that would be my ultimate dinner party...with vegan fare of course. I know Thoreau wouldn't object to the menu but I know Freud is quite the carnivore so hopefully he wouldn't protest too much.
I was driving in my car yesterday and singing....while I was singing some ideas for paintings came to me. I wondered if perhaps the act of singing stimulates parts of the brain that govern creativity...or perhaps singing might serve as a conduit to creative ideas.
Today I took a hike through the Arboretum at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Magnolias and Eucalyptus are in bloom with the most heavenly bouquets imaginable. I was looking at the back of the blossoms and thought that most of the time we like to take pictures and concentrate on the front of the flower, the vibrant, pollen-coated side. The back of the flower is just as beautiful to look at, with the important task of holding up the pollen and most attractive parts of the plant in the hopes of pollination happening and thus ensuring survival of the species. What lies behind the blossom, underneath, is just as magical as what we gravitate towards usually on the opposite side. It is the road less traveled by.
I just finished watching The Swimmer, with Burt Lancaster. It is quite unlike any film I have seen before. Lancaster is brilliant, as a man on a voyage of self-discovery as he crosses from one side of his town to the other by way of his effete neighbours' pools. It is definitely worth a watch.
Listening to: Claire De Lune by Claude Debussy
"This above all: to thine own self be true"~Shakespeare