Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A MEMORY PALACE & The Keys to the Museum of Innocence

"What matters in life is not what happens to you,
but what you remember and how you remember it"
   - Gabriel Garcia Marquez  1927 - 2014

Some blossoms in the orchard - Chateau de Charras

Soon I will be on a train, then on a plane back to San Francisco...memories are flooding in; all the friends & relatives I will see and the eras we've shared.  It may be my last trip back to the states.

I want to build a Memory Palace, like the one Mira Bartok constructed in her memoir "The Memory Palace," to cope with the devastation of a ruined family and a schizophrenic mother.  An excerpt from her book:

A Memory Palace.  A man named Matteo Ricci built one once.  I read about him the year after my accident.  Ricci, a Jesuit Priest who possessed great mnemonic powers, traveled to China in 1596 and taught scholars how to build an imaginary palace to keep their memories safe.  He told them that the size of the palace would depend on how much they wanted to remember.  To everything they wanted to recall, they were to affix an image; to every image, a position inside a room in their mind.  His idea went back to the Greek poet Simonides, who, one day while visiting friends at a palace, stepped outside for a minute to see who was at the door.  As soon as he went outside, the great hall came crashing down.  All the people inside were crushed to death and no one could recognize them.  Simonides, however, remembered where everyone stood at the party, and recalled them one by one so their bodies could be identified...Ricci told the scholars that the place to put each picture must be spacious, the light even and clear, but not too bright.  He said that the first image they should choose for their memory palace must arouse strong emotions." 

In Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk created his own Memory Palace in The Museum of Innocence

Orhan Pamuk - Museum of Innocence, Istanbul

"My Father's Death"
The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul
Pamuk did it for different reasons, based on the book he wrote by the same title, published in 2008. The book set in Istanbul is the account of a failed love affair between a wealthy businessman and a poor distant relation, Fusun, a shop girl. 

Füsun and Kemal are to be married after a trip around Europe together, but fate has something else in store altogether and they get separated for life after a night of intense love making. Kemal regards each object related to Füsun and their love, collected over the years, as portraying some discrete moment of happiness and bliss in the passage of those nine years. He decides to convert the Füsun’s house into a museum of innocence, including all these objects and also other memorabilia related to the period. 

The Museum of Innocence - Istanbul

Internalized memories rendered material and external. What Marquez says is true:  we can choose how and what to remember.

More Blossoms - Charras

And here's to forging new memories...

Gallery - Chateau Sainte Catherine

We had a successful April 19th opening, champagne flowed & Gabrielle's gorgeous canapes consumed with gusto! 

Cherub - Chateau Sainte Catherine

And Joyeux Anniversaire to my little Angel, Lisa.  Off into the sky we both have flown.  You are tucked inside my Memory Palace forever.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

"THE OPENING OF EYES" & Me Talk Pretty One Day*

I've got news for you
I've got news for you too

"There isn't enough of anything
as long as we live.  But at intervals
a sweetness appears and given a chance
prevails." - Raymond Carver, Ultramarine: Poems

Rape Fields on the way back from Brossac

Three weeks ago I was offered a position as Director of Art Gallery at Chateau Sainte-Catherine near Marthon - with an April 19th already advertised Opening, no artists, no hanging system, floor unfinished, no heating system or lights.

New born lamb - Doumerac
"And what did you want?  To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth."
                - Raymond Carver

Near Marthon
I took a long bike ride in the forest; heard my first Spring Cuckoo & pedaled to Marthon past the jaunty, rust-colored slugs enjoying their mid-day salad & some staggering tulip displays.

Tulips - Marthon
     Past more rape fields                      
I used to think it was mustard


An accusatory sheep


And finally a Viper!

Viper - Charras

"CHANGE," he hissed, as he slithered away.  I took le poste, l'emploi, le boulot, le job.

Cherub - Chateau Sainte-Catherine

Today we hung the show

Painting - Susan Lishman

Susan Lishman

Ken Oliver - Mixed Media

Ken Oliver & Sue Frankland
Ken Oliver - Mixed media (layered tapestry) Gloria Swanson, Cannes

The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.

It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years 
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

   --David Whyte
      from "Songs for Coming Home"
      1984 Many Rivers Press

I signed on two extraordinary artists:  Ken Oliver and Susan Lishman, whom along with my friend & resident artist, Jodie Tucker, and the tireless (and I mean sleep deprived!) efforts of Gabrielle & Bill from the Chateau, made it happen. Thanks to Kevin, who designed the invite. But first and foremost, un Grand Merci to Jean-françois & Dominique Bassard, the owners of Chateau Sainte-Catherine, for sharing their gorgeous Chateau, creating this opportunity, without which none of this would have happened.

Please join us at the Gallery/Atelier for a Vernissage, April 19th 2 - 5 www.chateausaintecatherine.com, Route de Marthon, 16220 Montbron. 

I'm very tired now and must catch some zzzzzzzzz's

Colt - Chateau Sainte-Catherine

Note:  I'm not abandoning Tarot!  If you look closely at the first gallery hanging photo you will see a Tower in the background in desperate need of repair.  Someday it may be a "Tarot Tower," & I will do readings there - one can (and should) always dream. After all, it was La Tour at Chateau de Charras which brought us to the region of the Charente (the Secret Garden) in the first place. Kismet/Fate, a guiding hand, the Higher Self, and THE FOOL...how else can you explain it?!

The Brossac Marche Zen in March was a huge success.  I was busy all day with approximately half french and half international querents.  I used both the Lenormand deck and the Thoth deck in equal measure.  But I realized I must work harder on my French language skills in order to capture the nuances of the cards.

Next Tarot Event - April 27th, 10-5, Le Marquisat, Les Gardes de Pontoroux

Karena Lowman's Class - Ronsenac

David Sedaris*