Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Got it...

As I was packing, today, and prepping for another packing job on Tuesday, next week, in Connecticut, I got the "why" of "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor". One good thing about this job is it brings me in contact with all sorts of different books, and they send my mind on its own little wander, quite often.

The library I'm packing deals with Flemish art history and critique and all, from the 15th Century up to today. We're talking thousands of books in Dutch, French, German, Russian, Italian, Czech, name the language, there was one written in it, no question. Including a lot in English.

One title hit me -- "Art & Anarchy", by Edgar Wind, published in 1963. It's "a collection of a series of lectures he presented on the BBC in 1960. The work takes its title from its first essay on Plato’s 'sacred fear,' a central feature, as Plato described it, of the Greek response to a powerful work of art. Wind contends that art once acted as a primal emotional force, able to enthrall the masses and stir them into frenzies. As he explained it --

(Plato) rated the strength of man’s imagination so high that he thought a man could be transformed by the things he imagined. Hence he found miming a most perilous exercise; and he devised curious laws that would prohibit the miming of extravagant or evil characters. Recitations were to change at such moments from dramatic to narrative language, so that a certain distance would be established between the speaker and what he says, as if we were to speak of evil only in the third person, not the first, for fear we might otherwise become evil.

But Plato’s sacred fear has dissolved since the renaissance and the experience of modern art has become one of superficial delight without lasting emotional force." (I got a lot of this from the Wickipedia article on Edgar Wind.)

I think I read this book back when I was seriously considering becoming an artist. I was working in an upscale department store as a visual merchandiser, building and designing display materials and doing windows and mannequins and such. I started straight out of high school and worked at it for five years before going back to college for film.

But I was taking art classes, too, and I think this was one of the books referenced in a class. sent my brain on its own journey as I packed, and led me to a place where I could see I was overcomplicating the situation in OT. Sometimes the best answer to a question is the simplest one. And now I know what happened, when, to whom, where...and why.

Of course, now the trick is to keep a reader from figuring that out before I want to reveal it in the book. I guess I'll have to see just how devious I can be. Hee-hee.

No comments: