Thursday, August 18, 2005

On reading and seeing, and not sleeping

Time for a blog, even though there is not time.

Night before last, I was restless, I went for a bike-ride and prayed. Both good things to do when restless.

Last night I was restful, I rode my bike to the park and read"A Hedonistic Defence of literature" in the Christian Imagination edited by Leland Ryken. That is a thoroughly good book. The book to have on the subject of Christian Poetics and Aesthetics. With contributions by Lewis and Tolkien, George MacDonald and G.K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Conner and Dorathy Sayers, Brian Godawa and Peter Leithart, Francis Schaefer and Gene Edward Vieth. As well as countless others I had never heard of.

Actually I read half the essay in the bath, and half at the park. I love to read in the bath.

After that, I came home and ate some great spinach soup my mother made, then a bit later, at sunset, rode my bike to the beach (1/2 a mile away) and watched the moon and the sunset from a long pier. I like this peir, because it goes way out into the bay, about 100 yards, and turns to an L shape at the end, and their is never anyone on it in the evenings.

I love to lay down on the railing and put my head over the side and watch the sky upside down. If you wait a while and can imagine that you are looking down into the sky, it changes where you are. It becomes truly alien and new. (here's an image I found online and flipped over:)

I think when you do that, you can actually see the sky (or anything else) more truly, because it is unfamiliar. In learning to draw, the main work is learning how to truly see what is there by unlearning all the preconceptions and visual shorthand that our brain imposes on the world around us. One of the first exercises in any drawing class is drawing a famous drawing upside down where you don't know what it is. Only then can you truly see what it looks like instead of what it means. I also had fun looking upside down at the trees as I floated down the Guadalupe last weekend. Trees are so odd when you look at them that way, and so are splashes. Reminds me of what Tolkien said in On Fairy Stories:

"We should look at green again and be startled anew (but not blinded) by blue and yellow and red. We should meet the centaur and the dragon, and then perhaps suddenly behold, like ancient shepherds, sheep, and dogs, and horses--and wolves. This recovery fairy-stories help us to make."

Also reminds me of a Lewis quote from my favorite non-fiction work of his :
"I believe in God like I believe in the sun rise. Not because I can see it, but because I can see all that it touches. "
- the Weight of Glory

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Amber said...

That looks like an excellent book. Thanks for sharing!

8/19/2005 11:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home