Wednesday, January 16, 2019

"It was [the Swiss artist Henry] Fuseli who taught [William] Blake that art was a highly emotional and intensely personal business.  While painting, he said, 'First, I sits myself down. Then I works myself up. Then I throws in my darks. Then I pulls out my lights.'"

"A person living as an Epic Poet should be able to exist on 5s2d a week, [according to the artist Samuel Palmer]."

[from Paul Johnson's The Birth of the Modern]

* * *

I seemed to spend all of yesterday wrestling with literary administration: solving some online-class snafus, dealing with an invitation to teach a workshop that had some untenable conceptual problems, sending out an application for a research fellowship (always perplexing when it comes to creative work), pondering a request for a manuscript edit, considering an invitation for poem submissions . . . It was one of those days when I did not exactly seem to be working and yet I worked for hours. Fortunately, I also managed to invent a delicious salad: red grapefruit, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh greens, balsamic dressing. It was excellent alongside minestrone, a fresh-tasting contrast with the slow-cooked vegetables. Also, I found a pencil case, finally!

Today will feature more classwork, more solving of administrative issues, more cooking and laundry, more reading about Romantic-era painters, more walking on slippery sidewalks . . . As much as I enjoyed New York, I'm glad to be back at Alcott House, with my white comforter and thick pillows, my pots and pans and knives and bowls, my hearthrug and my books and my bossy cat. Snow is on the way this weekend, and I am all for it.

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