powered by SignMyGuestbook.com

Language Log

Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012 - 2:12 p.m.

Another thing about my mother's visit. Last one this visit, I promise (she went home, or back to her brother's place anyhow, yesterday).

I get a calligraphy journal. I love it. Love all the work in it. A source of deep inspiration and awe to me. It's published quarterly.

The new issue comes. She looks at it for a couple of minutes and then says, "Well, okay. I don't understand what _this_ is about." and puts it down.

Me, I find it fairly self-explanatory. There are pictures of art. Next to each picture is a paragraph or two that tells about who the artist is, what the text is, and anything else that might be of interest. It's not phrased in an especially hifalutin way. It's like, "So-and-so has studied calligraphy and painting for 30 years. The book is a compilation of the poetry composed by the artist. Beeswax on orange peel with eco-glitter." (Only the materials are usually less fanciful, more like sumi and gouache on washi, which even if you don't know what those are, are from the context, clearly materials and so who the hell cares. It shouldn't be a fatal garden path, so to speak). Anyway, not High Artspeak.

I am usually left speechless when she says something like this, mainly because nothing I think of to say is kind and I'm trying to be nicer. What is there to not understand? There are pictures. It is art. You look at them and think about whether you like them or not. Admire or evaulate the design and craftsmanship if you feel up to it. But that sounds way too obvious to say aloud, so I shrug and go back to holding my tongue.

previous next


Leave a note