Music is mostly interesting because of its arrangement of sound, but it goes much further than that when you realize it is also an arrangement of people arranging sound. This arrangement of people who make the sound can be anywhere as long as they are together. Now together does not mean touching, together means musically together because as far as distance is concerned, they can be wired with sound attachments and be in different parts of the world; yet they are together just like Miss Harbrough in high school always said, "Stay together!" Music can be made while an entire foreign group of people are doing something else besides listening and that has come to be very exciting. Yet they all know while they are not listening that all the musicians are together and that is the excitement. If the musicians are not together the music stops. Dancing to music when the musicians are there was once very exciting because everyone who danced knew that the musicians could see that those who were dancing were together with the music.
Now that music can be made through recording, it's no longer necessary for anyone to see musicians. Musicians must be excited to hear their music being played by them from another time than playing it. They can hear the music they made while walking and even riding in elevators and it's the actual recording of their sound. So musicians, like movie stars can go somewhere and hear or see their art form after having done it at another time.
All of this sounds like a new and free form of doing music, but it isn't new or free, it is like it always has been because there still must be that time when all the musicians must be together.
Natural sounds, and sounds that come to being heard during the course of the day have nothing to do with music because there is no knowledge of the sounds being together. To hear birds and even explosive machine sounds at different unplanned times is not musical. I have been told by people that the sounds of the world is music but it isn't, it is only sound.
The same occurs in making art. Now that objects of art can be less conventional than was always expected, many people go around seeing objects of art and hearing sounds which they call music and they are only wasting their time. A piece of wrecked automobile lying along the side of the road is not a work of art, just like a partially torn advertising poster or the rain stains on subway walls. They can all give us an attitude that takes us toward something that is art, they can be beautiful, but nothing is art until it is moved from where it started to a proper place from where it is to be seen.
The sounds we hear each day are not music until it is put together and after listeners are told it's music. Beautiful objects found or made cannot be works of art until they are placed somewhere so that those who see can see. It can't really be concluded by an individual, it must be dragged through proper authorities until it is actually in an exhibition hall or a museum. The same with music, it must finally be performed in a concert situation or it is never music.
Now it doesn't matter what the names of the people are who finance or judge which object is art as long as the object gets from where it started on to a museum, then it is art because it was seen to. Art is seen to.
I didn't know that upon writing and writing, and planning a book to come out of all the writing, that I would begin to read differently. The thing that has happened is I hear a voice. This is all inside and impossible to actually describe, but it is a consistent voice that says all the words I write while I write, but I didn't really hear it so clearly as recently when I was reading something other than this.
It's seldom that I catch myself reading closely enough to realize what's happening inside. The voice sounds like me, but it's like a mirror image which moves so completely with my voice that it's very difficult to hear it because I'm in the way and when I try to stop, it stops. If I try to make the sound it doesn't come. However once in a while I can slip into realizing that I'm hearing the voice and it's always been there, and it's the same voice that I've always used to sing with when I sang silently -- I always sing silently and I can sing anything I want to at anytime. I'm fairly good on orchestration too. The same voice sneaks in when I think something over to myself carefully like when doing arithmetic or measuring out units for painting or drawing, but this voice is much more prominent now and I can read all the things I once had trouble reading before I heard that voice.
Writers need that voice and use it always and it must have a great deal to do with the voice of the muse, because without that voice there is no life going on in reading or writing.
Painting is silent, so silent that any sound is a disturbance. If I play any music when I'm painting nowadays I get very confused and wonder if the music will ever finish so that I can get back to the mental blank I had going, but lost because of the musical sounds. Friday i discovered that painting is like farming. It's only on a farm where you can do an action over and over again and find yourself in a reverie that is a blank and you wonder if that wonderful soothing blank will ever come back because you know it's impossible to turn it on by yourself. Shucking corn is one of the best jobs for this gaining of a blank in your consciousness. Perhaps it's because you're in the middle of the corn stalks all hidden from everything except the sky. The dried corn husks are only general comfort-making sounds you quit listening for. You might sing for a while, but finally something creeps over you and there is a long silence, even the spit in your mouth doesn't change, you are hardly functioning inside yet you're shucking corn as well as you can. You only know this happens after it's happened.
So the painter has little concern for the words that describe his work after it's exhibited, he has no concern if he got to this blank many times while doing a painting. He only must have the blank come in order to continue doing his painting. What the artist needs is the blank so he can go on doing what he does and the only reason he paints more paintings is because the blank continues to return, and there's no way nor any need to try and get to this blank by trying something else.
Sunday is like every other day to me as far as painting is concerned, although it isn't in the air, and the air causes me to sleep later and not insist on getting to work. I know there's no mail downstairs, so I have no reason to leave here. I pick up things on Sunday and don't hesitate getting involved with fixing things or even sewing things back together. On Sunday I think a lot about Saturday night and eventually conclude a lot about the painting I'm doing. Lots of times I make major changes, but mostly I arrange for the change to be made on Monday. I've often thought that when I was adult and had a comfortable space to live in I would walk around slowly with or without a cup and saucer, going to and from a comfortable chair reading and thinking and being quiet, and paying no attention to the many hours that are passing, then finding I've concluded many things and have grown together more. It's what I always thought the way to be adult was. An adult does adult things and becomes so completely adult that finally they are old. If I ever do this kind of thing it will start on a Sunday. At around four-thirty, after I've lined up Monday assignments for myself I often spend time being adult but before many hours go by, I'm down to little things again like sweeping the stairway down to the flight below me. It was once a worry to me that this building was not maintained. There is no one to change light bulbs in the hall, nor clean any stairs and the stairway usually remains padded with a silt kind of dust that is only found in abandoned buildings, and a week can go by very easily and no light bulb is changed unless I change it on Sunday.
Orville and Wilbur Wright did their first moment of flying on a Sunday afternoon. The kind of flight people do has to do with sound and everyone thinks flying is silent. Silence has to do with what happens underwater. There is sound underwater but it has little to do with locomotion. It is wrong to say that Orville and Wilbur Wright got their idea of flight from an eagle. A bird flies with its own movement and airplanes fly with sound or there would be flying machines that flap their wings. Our knowledge of flight comes from insects. All insects have an energy that is untiring and those which fly fly on an electric noise, just like jet planes or propeller planes and, although we are told that the noise made by airplanes is being lessened, and that sonic boom will soon be unheard, we are being told incorrectly because aeronautics has to do with sound. Cubism has to do with aeronautics but only spiritually in that both were conceived at the same time and naturally the look of both is similar.
Once I saw more than I heard, but since I've been taking dance classes, I see and hear at the same time without reference to either one. It takes seeing and hearing at the same time and without thinking of either to move through space. The same thing happened in seventeenth-century France, when taste and scent become one. This is so common that most people no longer realize that most taste is scent -- Post Toasties, for example.
There's a lot more to say about Sunday, but Monday always comes in when Sunday gets most interesting. When I was young and idle and lazy I wished that Sunday would last a year, then I would be ready for Monday and then the rest of the week because it would be easy to remember that no matter what happened, a year of Sunday was going to return very soon.
Songs call it Blue Monday, but Monday is green in the morning and yellow in the afternoon. Monday has two parts. Monday Mornings is an institution and Monday afternoons follow like yellow. Since everyone goes to school when young, Monday has changed from the times when some didn't go to school. Then, to an individual, Monday changes when there is no longer a school to go to. How many people continue going to school just because they can't get on with Monday. Any day of the week has a morning and an afternoon, but they are only taken notice of during that week. Monday Mornings is Monday Mornings anytime of the year any year. It isn't possible to like or dislike Monday because it is everywhere when it's here. Even rich people have Monday, even the ones who don't have Friday and Saturday. There is even Monday in the summer on Fire Island.
I always swallow a lot on Monday and clear my throat and paint towards my best. It is Monday when I can get out old questionable paintings and see them clearly and even work on them, but I never finish them. I have finished paintings on Monday because finishing a painting has little to do with the painting. It is always finished before I finish it because I wouldn't know myself. Finishing a painting is like taking off roller skates after having skated and that has nothing to do with roller skating. Or it's like walking the bicycle to the place where it's kept which has nothing to do with riding the bicycle. Seldom is a painting finished without my doing something about it. Once I let paintings finish themselves just by hanging on the wall until everything about them became normally past of itself, but of course that was when I didn't know that every painting must be forced into its normal parts. That's what normal is. I never regret losing a painting, even when it's one I've worked for a long time and had some marvelous discoveries with. When it seems to want to go under, I put it under and realize I've lost a painting. It's very difficult to really lose something that is important, so finally the painting I lose becomes unimportant.
When I first went to dance class at Mary Anthony's studio the class was always led by a big well-formed girl who spoke English so crisply I thought she was European, but she was Bennington. She had a strange name like Ursula, but it wasn't Ursula and I can't remember what it was. She was not a beginner and she danced as crisply as she spoke English and she frightened me enough for me not to talk to her before or after class. She looked like everything she did was important. However one tires of attitudes of fright finally and one day I was early enough to be at Mary Anthony's studio before most of the students got there and the Ursula-type girl and I began talking. She said her back was so tired because she had been typing all day. She worked in an insurance office like all those typewriter girls I see when I peep into business office windows on Wall Street. I thought they were all happy sitting there being efficient with their typing skill. I knew they were only doing routine typing but they were warm in the winter and cool in the summer and were allowed to go into those beautiful big office buildings that the entire world has arranged for them to have. They had beautiful clothes and purses and even the homely ones had to put on some artificial air while walking into those buildings. Ursula said she hated work and hated Monday.
It was so much better when i was afraid of Ursula and thought she was special, but she was merely Bennington and Post-Bennington at that. The Bennington girl somehow learns to get what she wants and knows what she is getting. What she doesn't learn at Bennington is what to do with it after she has it. The saddest part for a girl from Bennington is having finished. There must not be a Monday at Bennington.
It must be the cause of not accepting Monday that those who decide to hate their mother hate their mother. I know it's because of Monday that any young man leaves home. Not that they leave on Monday, but they make their plans on Monday. I went away from home to the Army on Monday and never returned to live there. While I was on the farm and especially while plowing on a tractor I made all my Monday plans. You can talk to yourself out loud while plowing on a tractor because you are alone and the tractor noise lets anyone hear where you are but they can't hear what you are saying and plowing like that is wonderful for Monday dreams. It takes a long time to react to Monday when living on a farm because each day is itself and plants and earth know no day of the week. I had to get up to milk at five in the morning and when I left the house to go to the barn I always thought of where I was in my life, especially when the cold wind hit me as I left the back porch door. It was much later in my life when I found that the day of the week can take care of a great deal of wondering where one is in life and that can be why Monday is such a dreadful day for some, but all in all it is rather silly to hate a day of the week. It makes hating too easy and too handy when hating is such hard work it's difficult to actually do.
There is an English man, a young man who is named Michael Miller. I like talking to Michael and seeing what he is wearing because he has beautiful clothes which are mostly reclaimed or they have been made from some other piece of clothing. Some people have told me that Michael is stared at because of his long hair and everyone thinks he's a girl, but everyone knows he's not a girl they are really staring at his long hair. Actually if he didn't have long hair people wouldn't stare, but Michael Miller insists on being stared at and when you get close and after you have seen the clothes up close there is hardly anything left to stare at. His face is very long and thin. His mouth doesn't fit together in a relaxed way and you know his teeth are not touching one another behind those closed lips, they are working back and forth because it's very hard for Michael to relax. I've had only one very good conversation with Michael Miller and it was a Monday conversation about his hating his childhood. Of course I am not English and for all I know in England Monday may be quite different from American Monday or Mondays on a farm, but I could never get him to tell me how old he was when he came to the decision of hating his childhood. Michael is only about twenty-two years old which is the proper age to decide such a hate, so I sensed he hadn't been hating his childhood terribly long, but his real problem is forgetting such an unimportant incident, but that makes Michael Miller.
I hate Tuesday. If Monday is like Hell then Tuesday is like Purgatory. When I taught painting I always had a Tuesday line-up of floppy students who promised me and themselves that they were going to do something this week even though Monday was a wasted day.
If I take a dance class on Monday, I am strong and all the effort turns into ease right then and there, but come Tuesday I am usually stiff and heavy and any form of movement is agony. Of course when dance is professional all that kind of worry cancels itself. Professional takes care of a lot.
On Tuesday nights when I sleep I dream. Once it was a repeated dream, a dream about being asleep and usually where I was actually sleeping, the only difference was paralysis -- I could not move. There cropped up many interesting situations during the paralysis, there could be Lee Guilliatt there reading or talking on the telephone and rather quietly because she didn't want to wake me. And there I would be trying my best to groan or turn slightly, just enough to make her look over and see I was in distress. Then i would try and scream, but all the pressure I would build up just would not arrange for any sound at all. Then I would rest and try forgetting but very soon I would remember it again and again go through the terrible tussle of trying to move. I knew if the telephone would ring or there would be a real and loud knock on the door I would wake up because I knew I was asleep and dreaming. Eventually when I began having this dream I told myself it was foolish to consider such an amount of stress and strain and I refused to get interested and all these paralysis dreams went away. It was a lovely situation when i could talk all the fear away of a dream during a dream. Some people say it is too much bedcover and not enough fresh air that causes such frantic dreams, but i think it's merely Tuesday. I had a few dreams that were repeated when I was small too and they were rather horrible. They took place on Tuesday evenings while Dad and Bud Otts were carrying in milk from the barn. I was too young to milk. It was always on Tuesday evening just at that time of year when the summer was at its end and it was a bit cold. The sunsets in Indiana are their most magnificent in early fall and they start too soon and last too long. As Dad and Bud Otts carry the milk to the house -- each carries two ten-gallon buckets -- a Model T car drives up and a young attractive girl gets out and shoots both Dad and Bud with a pistol. I'm standing there very frightened and Aunt Renie runs out seemingly knowing all about the situation. She is not screaming, just efficiently taking care of the wounded, Selma helps. Both Dad and Bud are not killed but are badly wounded and bloody and Dad always says, "A man just can't get anything done around here." I decided while I was awake that the woman with the pistol was an Ottensmeyer woman named Hilda May. She was mysterious to me and visited Aunt Renie during the day once or twice. She had an old car, was attractive and wore clothes that came from the big city. She and Aunt Renie would sit and talk quietly behind closed doors. I tried to listen but it was useless because I never could understand conversations that were not part of the usual happenings around the house, just like I can't understand private letters. I concluded Hilda May was reporting on Aunt Renie's husband and the way things were going in Chicago. These visits were not happy and I could see Aunt Renie didn't want much part of it. Although she seemed a bit ashamed of her situation there on the farm, she held up her image very well, but I could see that she knew how it was to be young and dashing, living in Chicago and going to lunches.
The way to go to sleep on purpose is mentally take blank sheets of paper off a high stack one after the other. The chance of running out is not a worry and it's easy to understand how sleep takes over. Fifth Avenue is a scar in the earth and one side is yellow, but I can't remember which side. Mushrooms don't care if you don't find them and that makes them different from apples and potatoes. Potatoes really care and when digging them they often jump out of the ground. My signature is on my shoes. When I close my eyes I often have spiral designs moving everywhere. The designs are made from very thin lines just like the engraved designs on dollar bills, but I'm not thinking of money. I never think of money.
When McKay was taking a course in business English in Chicago while we were roommates, he often talked of his teacher Miss Napiantek. He did love saying her name. Miss Napiantek taught in a very severe way and seemed to be the only teacher McKay respected and feared, but one day she walked into class and said "I just love verbs."
There are things that I know so little about that I don't know how to think about them. However I do know that in order to get to be able to think about them I don't do anything, everything finally just comes to be known.
Anybody can levitate.
Bob Singer is a singer and in his apartment in Manhattan he has two rooms. One is painted blue, has a blue couch and a blue chair and a blue rug and all the light bulbs are blue. In his bedroom there is a green bedspread, green walls and a green rug and all green light bulbs. That makes Bob Singer a singer.
At home there were ready-made holes in the warped wood sheds that surrounded the house. Pipes and small pieces of wood could be forced through these holes and were. Just now I found a spring neatly connected to one end of a long wooden triangular-shaped pole that was forced through one of these holes. I was wondering if the holes in their commonness were like the spring that is attached to the stick by screws. These screws, it was neatly done, were as if it was once used for something else, or had been made for a certain use.
When you are reading and look up and see someone familiar is college.
I have never laid eyes on Margaret Drabble, nor Jo Marincola, as far as that's concerned.
If there is to be a windy day during the week it will be on Wednesday. Dad called Wednesday Windsday and I thought it was Windsday until I went to school and learned to spell the days of the week. I still think Wednesday is a very difficult word but it isn't a difficult day. It's the day when people with jobs do their work. It's when students identify themselves as students and it's blue. In hospitals they use Wednesday blue in sick rooms because they say it's a psychological color that lifts up a mood. It is true if the blue is the correct blue but those nurse types tamper with this conception and always tone it down until it's gray and gray is nowhere. In a photograph where gray is important, it is important because it tells where the black and white is. The black and white is something and the gray is nothing. Hospital rooms should by all means all be painted black and white. If not for any other reason than the patient knowing where he is.
Wednesday is sensible and has Wednesday night which is social and echoes bingos and small community activities. Farm Bureau is Wednesday. It isn't usual to start reading a book on Wednesday, nor finish it, but the day when the major part of a book is read.
Mr. Cowen was my calligraphy teacher, although the course was called lettering, Mr. Cowen taught calligraphy. I saw him around school often and he seemed to be teaching the type of Art Student who wore suits and ties and good dresses and studied architectural design dress design and interiors. He wore a brown suit often and looked like an historian. He wasn't a calligrapher, but taught calligraphy very well because he made me into a calligrapher. He told me I was not the best student of lettering in his class, but I was the only calligrapher. I just couldn't believe in the type of pen points we were using. They were made by Speedball Company and they were instruments that were designed to make lettering look like it should be. Indeed the letters did look like they should but a brush makes letters be what they are.
Letters are everywhere and when one is calligraphed, that particular letter is relieved and can come to a certain place and remain there. Letters are best when they are carved in stone of course. Letters are like stars in that they are too numerous to think of counting, but when you have printed one you know you have one and there is one less in the universe. A letter from the alphabet is as far as one can get in abstraction, but that can be confusing because abstraction doesn't go very far. When i say a letter I mean an A or a B or a C, but I mean all the A's that have been lettered and are yet to be lettered, then B, then C, then all through the alphabet. In music there is A.B.C.D.E.F.G., but when you learn to play a piano you start with C. I studied calligraphy on Wednesday.
Mr. Cowen was small and had Parkinson's disease, so that when he calligraphed a letter he shook slightly as though a motor which was too powerful vibrated inside him. He said that if he didn't shake he would not be a calligrapher, and he mixed color to an exact thickness so that it flowed evenly and the slight shake kept each stroke even and certain. He said you don't thin the color to make it the consistency of ink, you thicken it. He said that one thinks backward when calligraphing, and when you think backward you don't forget a letter. He was able to calligraph characters on a blackboard with a piece of chalk held on its side and there was never a weak partially shaded stroke.
To calligraph a word one forgets its meaning and becomes only interested in what each character is doing about its neighbor. Even repeating a word has nothing to do with repeating. I know a woman named Nancy Christoferson who talks a great deal and sews lots of costumes and the only time I met her she talked only about how electricity doesn't like the cold and that is why an electric refrigerator is always interesting and often in trouble. She doesn't look like a Nancy and must have the mentality of a calligrapher. She must know that the characters of the alphabet are so independent that they dislike being put together until there is always a magnetic field between calligraphed characters. Each character has such a personality that if while calligraphing it, it doesn't look right, it isn't right and nothing ever happens to it, and you might as well start over. If on the other hand a word is misspelled, but all the characters are perfect, you leave the misspelled word, naturally. Calligraphy isn't to read, it's before reading, it's to watch.
I never agrees with its space. F can take the same place as P, but F is very different from E, when one would think they were related. M is the biggest character and is black and heavy no matter where it is. It fights with W because W is too young. S is the most difficult character to make because it has no support, no matter where it is. G could easily be done without. B, R and P are not related. There is no such character as Q. H and N do not like being together, but do enjoy their being placed at different times in the same word. T lives by itself. C is older than M and is probably the oldest character. If anyone draws a C slowly they will see how it is the beginning of the idea of alphabet. A is very smart but has gotten that way recently, yet it remains the leader. J can never decide which height it wants, and it is always too high or too low or it doesn't work. One would think that an L could be turned into an E, but neither character will ever allow it.
Mr. Cowen did not teach me all of this, he taught me where all this was and I continued thinking in a calligraphic habit after all those Wednesdays. Any still pattern has its calligraphic story, but I'm still on alphabets. Other calligraphic descriptions can carry me all the way into Thursday.
Numbers are the unemotional side of calligraphed character. There is no tension in observing a one against a three. That is the reason that numbers are all words and characters of the alphabet are only themselves. Of course the character I can do both. X has a great life yet to come. Perhaps numbers are the way they are because they are Arabic. Numbers are their most beautiful when they are handwritten during a mathematical exercise. Documents with numbers are always very uninteresting and don't become effective unless some of the numbers are spelled out. Naturally mathematics is non-visual.The calligraphic mess made with a nest of numbers cannot be seen by the mathematician but only by an observer who doesn't understand the mathematical plot. However, mathematics can get emotional and at that moment, characters of the alphabet are introduced. Algebra is emotional.
Many new style faces have been invented in order to introduce a new dimension to the alphabet, but none has worked better than the original Roman characters. There is a trial system now used in printed material that planes down all the serifs so that the characters are all parallel bars, but this will not remain any more than the liquid illusion that was popular during Art Nouveau. There have been all kinds of varieties, but they only measure an era and eventually even the meaning of the words are like the stylized typeface.
Characters of the alphabet are one-dimensional in that they have no space in front or behind, like ink blots. One-dimensional forms are not for visual understanding but for intellectual understanding.This leads to reading. The one-dimensional patterns on rugs are for reading. Any printed fabric that has a simple blot-like design is read like printed words.
Now there is a new alphabet that is going to make a change and perhaps affect the Roman alphabet as we know it today. It is the I.B.M. alphabet. The new and very strange thing about this alphabet is that it is not even one-dimensional, but only line -- single thin line making the characters. Still more confusing is this alphabet is not meant to be read by people who read, but by machines which read. The IBM alphabet is clear enough to be read by people, but that isn't its real use. The most strange part about this alphabet is that it has no diagonals just like a loomed weaving has no diagonals because there are no diagonals on a grid system. A grid system is mechanical and works only on horizontals and verticals which is just enough to handle the illustration of a problem mechanically, but if there is no diagonal, there is also no circle possible and that puts an end to calligraphy.
Were vertical and horizontal lines our most primitive thought or are they our most recent thought.
Thursday is something else. It is kind and is the only day that can be sandwiched among Wednesday and Friday and totally misplaced, even in some cases forgotten. One is so accustomed to the week flowing by that by Thursday there is less worry about identity and existence that comes with week worry. Thursday is brown, has no divisions and sounds like Brahms. I was born on Thursday like Eartha Kitt. Naturally, Thursday has a great deal to do with rugs.
If a rug could do more it would be three-dimensional and would become a pot. I guess a pot would turn around upon itself and become a rug, but I don't know enough about pots. The thing I do find very important to know, however, is that knowing so much about rugs does not account for knowing a lot about everything. A rug does not give information but only itself, and reading a rug makes you stand still and you don't ever go anywhere. That's why a flying carpet is always so interesting. Such an image is an example of two of the most opposite associations. It's in no way like a cow jumping over the moon, but it does make me think of it. When I do think of associations like that I realize that is how not to think when reading a rug. Don't let associations enter. Rugs include dime-store linoleum and rugs made by American Indians and rugs that are oriental. They all lie flat and can be walked on, they can hang, but only certain ones can hang, and all one can do is be there with them for as long as they are with them. I think it's better not to own a rug. At least I don't own one now.
Rugs have nothing to do with pictures. Pictures do something with anybody's seeing and cause an after impression which can change a life. It's very easy to ride on a flying picture instead of a flying carpet. When a rug gives you a visual plot to watch, it sees to it that the same plot is finally reversed and that cancels everything, when a picture carries you away with its plot. Pictures are not the rugs of the West, but rugs are the pictures of the East and that is important to remember when thinking about pictures. The picture that taught me this is Peter Blume's "South of Scranton" because it only has to do with a picture. Although Peter Blume was born in Russia, he is an American painter.
America makes the best pictures. Europe makes the best paintings. Americans cannot do anything about painting well. Some have tried and they have all become Rembrandt Peale-looking exercises in paint application. Something can happen when an American artist studies in Europe, however, but that something discontinues defining what American pictures are.
"South of Scranton" is filled with space, actually a void, and it's all black and blue. Black and blue is very necessary in vision. When there is no vision there is black, when there is any vision, there is blue. Everything we see starts with blue, then the eye translates through the blue to a color, then a form. "South of Scranton" has the best of repeats and arbitrary forms, it has reference to a proscenium illusion, and all the texture that vision wants to run over, but most obvious is the American temperature and spaces which makes it a pure picture. If we were not human we would not know one human person from another because they all look alike. If we were not human we would not know one picture from another because they all look alike. There would be a timid chance however of being able to distinguish "South of Scranton" from other pictures because of the male form repeated in places throughout the picture and that causes the picture to be out of time and space with itself. Pictures are involved with themselves, that is what the best pictures do.
Blue is used in rugs and stained glass windows and mosaics and everyone thinks it works the way it does because of the material from which it is made. The blue wool in rugs, the blue glass in the Chartres windows or the blue in the Ravenna mosaics has only to do with blue and the way our eyes see. Naturally, or unnaturally the blue works with or against the colors that surround it, but blue today still works in all those magic so-called forgotten techniques because we are born with blue in our vision. Vision is blue like blood is red.
Rugs remain not being pictures because their designs lie upon themselves like rugs and to see them one reads them. More often than not, they have calligraphic messages, but no one reads the messages. Even those who can don't, and those who do fly away on the magic carpet in the end. We don't read the words that are written high above the New York Stock Market entrance, just like we don't read the words on a dollar bill. That is the way calligraphy works on rugs. It's not reading writing as though it's to tell something, it's reading design, like window shopping. It's a certain kind of looking without doing anything about it even inside yourself.
There are some paintings and pictures that have calligraphic words in them and during all my investigation of calligraphy I've never been convinced about this as being something that causes anything to happen. When i see a picture or a painting that does the special thing it should do, an explosion goes off in my senses. It's a sound very deep inside, but it is sudden and loud and as unexpected as falling down a stairs. Sometimes it comes when the painting is first seen, but mostly it comes later when the thought of the piece drifts into my memory. When I was in the Army it started because I was in Amsterdam at the Rijksmuseum and when I entered the room where Rembrandt's "Night Watch" is shown I fell down. It caused a great deal of noise and guards came to see me, and although I didn't see the painting very well, I've heard the fall many times since. I spend very little time thinking why a painting is important. I just know and it's like feeling good after eating a good meal.
When Fra Angelico paints a straight line of gold letters coming out of his angels in his painting of the Annunciation, he is not being part of my thinking about calligraphy in painting. He is painting a miracle. When Holbein paints skinny numbers and words around his portraits he is describing space and time, so there is a way to use calligraphy that has meaningful words. When Rembrandt did the etching of Dr. Faustus with a round spot of light having things to read on it, he is being foolish -- here is where a written message does not work. It's too late in history. Cubists use calligraphy as one-dimensional form in their paintings and collages and they do not become phrases for reading and so work as part of the painting. It's pictures like Robert Indiana's LOVE that do not work either as a picture or a message, not even as a poster. Saul Steinberg works with words and calligraphic symbols but he is seasonal and a high-class cartoonist.
Words that are calligraphed in pictures and paintings only make them into rugs and rugs are rugs. Each time I think of putting my signature on a painting I think of the painting turning into a rug, so i don't sign my signature at all. The eye looking at a painting must shift its occupation at that time in order to read words and it is only confusing.
Bradley Tomlin, Cy Twombly, Mark Tobey use calligraphic knowledge and make calligraphic pictures, but they are not read like writing or rugs, they are looked at because they are pictures.
Picasso's "Girl before a Mirror" makes me fall down stairs.
The difference between a painting and a design is never a problem. It's like the difference between a Fabergé egg and a chicken egg. To know the difference makes the product.
Friday is artificial. Whenever any series is invented there is a necessity to complete it so that it becomes a series. Seven days in a week is a series of days and although it's difficult to conclude, there was a time when there was no seven and when there was no week. Even though the Old Testament suggests seven days as a series, it doesn't account for Monday followed by Tuesday then Wednesday and on until Sunday. Is Sunday the last day of the week, or the first. Like peas in a pod, when there are seven peas, there is one that is a wish-pea in that it's too small, or has disengaged itself from growth and is already dry. One thinks of seven in many ways. I tend to understand seven by thinking five and two when I add, and that's because I still count on my fingers. When I draw or paint a series of seven images I think of three, three and one. It evens out optically but I can't think of just seven. If coins are lined up one next to the other, and they are all the same type coin and there are seven of them, if they are pushed at one end the coins will all move at the beginning a very short distance and when they break up, they always break at the second coin or the sixth coin, and in that way seven continues to confuse. I'm sure I think of seven in the way Hans Arp does.
So among the thoughts about seven there are the days of the week to be considered and the breaking point in the seven days of the week is on Friday. Look how Friday has been handled through the ages. There is a religious Friday that everyone responds to in many different kinds of religion. There is superstitious Friday and there will always be a superstitious Friday until somehow the days of the week are changed and the days of the week are going to be changed very soon because it's now that everyone is able to question why seven days. Everyone now is able to know that there was one time on earth when there was not seven days in a week and no week. There is too much talk about five day weeks and four day weeks. I prefer five day weeks because five is a normal number. We all still count on our fingers. Still Friday happens to be the sixth day in the week. Each time the new number concerning days of the week is discussed, Friday is the main day involved. Friday is suspicious, Friday is superstitious and one day there will be no more Friday.
What did Robinson Crusoe do with Friday.
Friday is Green and Black. There is no such thing as thanking God for Friday. All Gods resist Friday and tell you so every Friday.
Friday is taking things for granted. It is a private day and applies to community and home life. Of course there must be one day like this at this time of the world for as long as it may last. Friday is when one can say pretty. Friday is when average dominates. Pretty girls are pretty girls on Friday. I liked when Catholics couldn't eat meat on Friday. No one cared about anyone eating meat on Friday except the privacy of the home. Bill Updike told me one Friday when I was not eating meat and we were in High School that everyone knows who doesn't eat meat on Friday, that that is the day, the only day of the week when meat is really good. The eating of meat any other time than Friday is only a habit and a sort of homage to Friday's special phenomenon. He said that champagne is similar, that it is very good anytime, but knows how to be much better on special occasions, and indeed, champagne is much much better on special occasions than just having it out of the refrigerator for no reason. I told him that there were times when Friday was a special day in the Catholic Church. When Christmas falls on Friday I ate meat on that Friday and it didn't seem to be any different than another day. But Bill explained that I could never have known the difference because being Catholic had changed me from the normal way of living to a special way, and I could never know what everyone knows about the taste of meat on Friday, just like most people do not know the taste of champagne because they haven't had the proper experiences and only understand the taste of a special occasion.
When I first moved to Avenue B the apartment was unfurnished and drab. While fixing it up during off moments I found there was a small window rather high up in the wall of a tiny room which I was using for my bedroom. One Friday I stood on the bed and opened the window and looked out. It was the only window on that side of the wall and it surprised me that I could see out across the block from that window. I certainly had expected to see a blank wall. It was cold and windy and I didn't want to look out very long because I was worried about getting the window to close again. Then I saw across some distance a family all seated at a table. The thing that made me see the situation was suddenly their lights were turned out and they were seated in candlelight. The father and the son had their little skullcaps on and they were putting on their shawls and were beginning their private Friday night. All this was done without anyone seeing them. I watched them each Friday for a year.
When I was in high school and would go to a Friday night party or dance everyone there acted as though they had not come there from their home, because home was too close for them on Friday because Friday is home. Hair curlers are for Friday. Plaids clash with polka dots because of Friday. That's why the word pretty, as in pretty girl comes from the family of Friday. Friday family.
Because of Friday my world has the traditional meaning of beauty. Such things as receding colors, golden mean, and balanced composition. Josef Albers is Friday. All collected knowledge of automatic identity is collected and distributed because of Friday. I like Friday, but I can see it best because it is going away.
Now what can I say about Saturday. I know one thing certain about Saturday. It is not a school day. Going to Saturday classes is like going to summer school. You never get the credit.This has only to do with qualifying Saturday, not disqualifying it.
I have heard of a Chinese method of medicine in which needles are used to puncture into different parts of the body and it relieves pain. The Chinese part of the process is that the needles are not put where the pain is, but for some reason they know where the complement of the pain is, so the needles are inserted in surprising places other than the actual sore spot. The only thing I really know about this Chinese medical treatment is that it has to do with Saturday.
Veronica Yockum was a girl who was in my class all during grade school. She developed into a woman early it seems to me, and by the time we were in the eighth grade she had breasts as big as Queen Elizabeth II. This was a very quiet rural community and the Yockums were farmers and had little class, so Veronica didn't know to carry her big breasts proudly and they were wrapped with cloth somehow, because I could only see one volume on her chest like she was in a half-inflated inner tube, plus I could see safety pins and creases of wrapped cloth showing through the back of her sweater. She was not an interesting person, her hair was very long on top and bobbed in back, she wore long hair on top in a series of parallel curls about an inch long, all riding along the top of her head. For a long time I thought it was her way of holding the hair so that on special occasions she would have a hair-do. I looked for her on Sunday when we went to Mass to see if her hair was specially combed, but it was always the same, even at the school Christmas play. Every school student must finally write their poem for class. We all wrote ours for English class. I can't remember mine now, and Buck always had Aunt Hootie write his and they were always soft and very well rhymed and like whipping cream, like Aunt Hootie. The only poem I can remember was Veronica Yockum's: "The sun was shining in the sky and Dad and me went out to milk." That was the entire poem. Sister Bertilla said that Veronica had not understood about poetry and Aunt Hootie said it would have been better had Veronica said, "The sun was shining in the sky while Dad and me went milking by" but that's Aunt Hootie.
The Saturday part about Veronica Yockum was that day at school when she raised her hand as if to recite, but she only informed Sister Bertilla, "Sister, every time I write my leg hurts."
Every weekday in China is Saturday and the weekend is like Monday and Thursday.
This begins describing Saturday.
One important stripe of value that has been put on Saturday is Saturday night. No other day of the week has its night so carefully divided. Even Friday night has to do with Friday, but Saturday night has nothing to do with Saturday. I always thought it was like the movies I went to with my father: the main film was for him and the cartoon was for me. Later I saw the main film to be Saturday and the cartoon was Saturday night. Saturday night is like it is because it's so far from Sunday night. When dusk comes in on Saturday it always seems to me there is a week between that and Sunday night.
I went to town on Saturday afternoon until I was in my last year in high school, then I was allowed to go to town on Saturday night. Up until that time, during the summer before I went to bed, I sat for a long time on some smooth cement steps that were the steps to the back part of the yard. There are always front and back steps in farm houses, but sometimes there are steps to the very back of everything that is very private. It's where washing is hung, water is drained, and things are left out all night. I've always been lucky having had this step to sit on and on Saturday night I could sit there playing with my toes and see the lights of Vincennes shimmering high in the sky. I knew that nothing much was happening there, but my, those lights. They told me that there was a great deal more in the world than I could ever imagine on those smooth steps in the very back part of the house.
But Saturday night isn't here yet. I'm only up to Saturday afternoon. On the farm Saturday afternoon is very hot in the summer, but never very cold in the winter and even if you have to work on Saturday, for some reason quitting time comes at three o'clock and there is time to lean on posts, consider where you are, and mow a bit of the lawn. Saturday afternoon is a time when everyone learns where they are, not so much in their work, but in their lives. It just comes sometime during the afternoon if you're listening to the Metropolitan Opera Broadcast or fixing fences, there's a quiet time that comes in and takes over and if you let it in, you find out everything about yourself and what you are doing in a week. Most people come out of this and talk about going to church the next day, even if they only talk about what they are going to wear.
In winter Aunt Renie baked pies and cakes on Saturday afternoon when she didn't go shopping in town. Since then Aunt Renie has always smelled like dough. I smell like old alfalfa and didn't know how I smelled until very recently because it isn't simple to find your own trail by smell.
The difference between living in the city and living in the country is water.
On the Saturday afternoons when I've gone to town I always went to the movies. They were always double features and one time I left the movie and it was already dark and although it was winter I was conscious of having lost location of time. I still don't know if it's the age of the times or my age at that time, but most movies made me dislocate time somehow, and on that particular day, when I walked out of the movie, and it was dark, I saw Bud Otts and Agnes waiting in line to go into the movie. I had lost time, it had already turned into Saturday night while I was still Saturday afternoon.
The time for the change was after milking, and when I lived in Chicago I was very confused about Saturday afternoon changing to Saturday night. I ate alone on Saturday afternoon and after I had eaten it was Saturday night. Then, when I made friends and was invited to eat on Saturday night with them I knew eating had to do with Saturday becoming Saturday night.
My first Saturday at the monastery was curious. This was my first experience of Saturday turning into Saturday night without milking and it was very difficult to know when Saturday night began. It didn't begin, there is no Saturday night in a monastery, there is no Saturday night in the Army which is where military and monastic lives get similar. There cannot be a Saturday night unless you are alone.
Alone does not mean lonely and alone does not mean alone on Saturday night. In the loft when Saturday changed to Saturday night I knew the exact time the difference came. When I was very small and had to go to bed while everybody stayed up, I thought as the night grew on towards midnight the radio programs became more and more daring, then at midnight there were nasty programs like what I heard to be called midnight shows. I also knew that at the stroke of midnight there was a dazzling and instant pierce of light all over the world. It was so instantaneous that no one could see it unless they knew about it and watched on purpose because it was all over during the bat of an eye. Now that all applies to Saturday turning into Saturday night, except for the radio.
It is now Saturday night, something has happened to my heartbeat and for the moment I cannot get enough breath. The afternoon sun is still showing, I'm still in the studio, but a conclusion of my day is already showing in my brush. I can't hit the sharpness I can hit with a brush in the morning. If I try a new brush it will not work any better because the lack of sharpness is in me. Saturday night is not for painting, although I have painted sharply after dark on Saturday night, but that was before Saturday night began. It doesn't always start at a certain time, but it always lasts till at least dawn on Sunday and sometimes on till Sunday afternoon. It's only once that Saturday night stayed until Monday morning.
So I, like everyone now will think of days of the week as given things until they go away. There is no use playing each day for what it is because each day is what it is anyway. Whenever that sharp dazzling light shocks the world at midnight, the day turns into the next day and even if you go to church on Monday instead of Sunday, it's Monday church you're going to. Even if George Washington's birthday is changed to make a longer weekend, it's the changed George Washington.
Days remain themselves even if their date and name are confused or forgotten, and regardless of what kind of calendar anyone uses the days know themselves. At home the most ridiculous month anyone could think of was Jewvember. They referred to the 81st of Jewvember.
Days being days regardless where anyone is or what they are doing makes me go to color. Color and days are the same. Although one is material and one is time, they are still the same. Objects can be lost or buried but they remain being their color without anyone seeing them. Days cannot be buried but they can be lost and they remain being that day. If a tree falls in a forest and there is nobody near to hear it does it make a sound? The answer is not interesting when one knows that the tree remains having its color if it falls or not. Color is included in matter.
Do cats purr when they are not in the presence of a person? Ask a cat. He will tell you it doesn't matter.
The main point in having fright is merely the absence of color. Spirits and ghosts get to be that way because they somehow have lost their color. Frightened hair turns white overnight because fright takes away color. There is safety in color.
When it's time for lots of color in fashion it's because of safety. White wedding dresses are full of fright. Only navy men wear white suits to weddings. White interiors are not safe although it makes spirits really transparent.
Lots of color makes a lot of noise and as long as there are lots of people doing lots of different things at the same time these things are all different colors and different sounds and when they all get together everything is very loud. When sound is made up of many sounds it results in noise and noise finally gets very loud, and that is alright with me, but what I see disappearing from the world is line. There can't be any line in loud color, there can't be any line in noise and if there is no line what is there to do. I'm not interested in line I'm interested in realizing there is no line anymore. Among the meanings of line I mean the Matisse line the Masson line, the Joan Miro line too. There is a line when there is one color or two colors. Josef Albers took line and pressed it into an intaglio relief without any ink and it became a low relief texture depending on light for its value.
Light. There is lots of line in light, but color in light is arbitrary even when it is mastered and that is because light goes away. The interest in light nowadays is the interest in its going away. Not going away to stay away, like days of the week. Color in light is exactly not like days of the week. Color in light goes away in order to come back and when light flickers or goes on and off very quickly it produces line and this is where line has gone. There is no longer even a Picasso line.
End of Days