Sunday, December 4, 2011

What ever happened to "sincerely"?

I was reading my daily update in the Awe-Manac this morning and learned that Dec. 4 is Wassily Kandinsky's birthday (although he died in 1944). Kandinsky, the Russian artist known for his love of the abstract, is one of the artists featured at the Rosengart Museum in Lucerne, Switzerland, the museum Caroline and I inadvertently stumbled upon, but feel in love with, in May. I'm not going to pretend to know a ton about Kandinsky or, to be honest, art in general. I recognize names, but would probably do poorly on a "match the artist with work of art" game. I love going to museums, but would never feel comfortable evaluating pieces with someone whose art knowledge is even in the "modest" range. I say "I don't exactly know why, but I like this one" far too often. When someone asked me a few weeks ago what kind of art I enjoy, I fumbled around the question with random comments about particular works, colors, and styles I'm drawn to, but never really answered the question.

This is a question, however, that I want to be able to answer...and not simply so I can sound pretentious while standing in the middle of an art gallery. I want to do it because I appreciate beauty and should be able to explain my proclivities with clarity and specificity; because I'm an adult who should, at this point in my life, be figuring out who I am and why I like what I like; because "I have eclectic tastes" shouldn't cut it when discussing art or music. Thus...

I am giving myself a homework assignment. In the next Pillow Book post, I plan to offer a reasonably articulate answer to the "what kind of art do you enjoy" question. I know, your seat edges are already feeling the pressure.
A bit of foreshadowing...A good place to start with this question is with the book that inspired this blog, When Wanderers Cease to Roam by Vivian Swift. You've surely heard me mention this lovely, witty, and deceivingly profound travel journal before (and I'll explain more in the next post). If you haven't already checked it out, I encourage you to go buy it for yourself as an early Christmas present (or come to the Cumberland County Public Library to literally check it out). I was fortunate enough to nab a signed copy this past week. A friend who lives in Nashville worked some magic with/decorated end tables with nativity scenes for/promised an IKEA kitchen to a former intern who now works at Parnassus Bookstore. Said pawn grabbed one of twelve copies sent by Swift specifically for the store opening. Wait, it gets better...
Not only do I now have an autographed copy of one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors and bloggers, but as soon as I can get a copy of the receipt and a picture of my pet menagerie to her, I will also have a painted portrait of selected child. Swift had posted on her blog one day about the Parnassus opening (it's an independently-owned bookstore) and mentioned that she would paint something for those that picked up a copy of her book. When I emailed her this afternoon about now having the book and receipt in hand (thank you, Paul, for delivering to the CCPL yesterday), I had a reply within an hour that was as inviting and laid-back as her blog entries seem. Perhaps most importantly, she did not sign it, "Best, Vivian." I have no idea when "Best" became all the rage, but it makes me want to punch myself in the face for some reason.
Anyway, how cool is this?
Even if you can't describe what type of art you like, try to tap your artistic/creative side as you get ready for Christmas. Here's a great gift idea: make a recipe box using paper (wallpaper, magazine pages, old cards and notes with graphics you like, contact paper) that "looks like" the recipient. Fill it with some of your favorite recipes. The one below was sent to me by the wonderful Miss Alexus Tolley.


  1. I've been so wanting a writing prompt, and yours is perfect. I'll start on it tonight...right after I watch an episode of Friday Night Lights ; )

    p.s. although I use "best" in my more formal emails, you can ask Kelly about how much I hate it. It really is a stupid closing.

  2. Oh, yours is going to be so much better than mine. Guar-an-damn-tee you.:)
    In all seriousness, I really look forward to reading yours. You should post it on here!

    Getting ready to put in Love Actually. Really do wish you were here on my tiny loveseat, drinking iced coffee and watching it with me.

  3. My adviser signs his emails with cheers!
    Makes me happy :)