Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 27, 2014



March 27, 2014

While I was wandering around my favorite used book shop, Alias East on Glendale Bouvelard, I found a copy of Francis Ponge’s “Soap, ” which is a poetic approach to that wonderful compound of natural oils mixed with sodium hydroxide.  I wanted to be exposed to the everyday object, that one normally uses, but never thinks about.  Not only is the natural world cut off from us, but also the artificial world of sorts.  It gets to a point where we don’t know the difference between the two worlds.  The only other poet that comes to mind is Frank O’Hara, with respect to his writing noting specific objects and colors in his life.  Writing is reporting, and poetry goes into the prose and makes certain objects stand out from the rest.  It is just like a surgeon opening a body and seeing all the muscles and tissues laying in front of their eyes, yet focusing on removing that bothersome tumor.  To write with a pen, or by a surgeon’s knife, both goes into the world and take out what’s essential to the poet or doctor.



One of my all-time favorite actresses is Hideko Takamine, who starred in numerous films by Mikio Naruse, which my favorite is "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs."  Made in 1960, but could have been made anytime in the 20th century.   She plays "Keiko' a young widow, who wants to be able to open up her own bar in the Ginza district of Tokyo.   The film is incredible because it analyzes the social world of Tokyo in such precise manner that it is both chilling and beautiful at the same time.   In the end of the film she fails to purchase a bar, due to family issues, social issues, and the landscape of women just trying to exist in a world that is often harsh and unfair.   After seeing the film, one recognizes that culture is meant to explore and tear apart - and only an artist can do something like that.

There is the practical side of art and medicine where you need a clear head to explore a territory, and the ability to make that exploration is both a skill and a natural talent.   The long-running Japanese comic strip Sazae-san is amazing because it is reported to show life of a typical family in post-war Japan.  I bought a couple of collections while waiting for my flight back to Los Angeles at the Narita Airport.  I read them on the plane, and even though the strip is supposed to be humorous, I found it deeply touching in that as an outsider, I can see what daily life was like back then.   It then struck me how important of a document that this comic strip is - because in an artistic manner, it tears into the culture, and brings out what is important, but done in a way that is almost Robert Bresson like, with respect to his classic film works.



It is with these thoughts, that makes me pick up my pen and notebook to expose a world within my world for my readers.
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