Contemplation of a face..

“There was a slight greasy sheen on the tip of her small, neat nose and a spattering of tiny red spots on her forehead, but these aside there was no denying that her face–well, her face was a wonder. With her eyes closed he found that he couldn’t recall their exact colour, only that they were large and bright and humorous, like the two creases in the corners of her wide mouth, deep parentheses that deepened when she smiled, which seemed to be often. Smooth, pink mottled cheeks, pillows of flesh that looked as if they would be warm to the touch. No lipstick but soft, raspberry-coloured lips that she kept tightly closed when she smiled as if she didn’t want to show her teeth, which were a little large for her mouth, the front tooth slightly chipped, all of this giving the impression that she was holding something back, laughter or a clever remark or a fantastic secret joke.”

-David Nicholls
One Day

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“The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.
The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new
material his impression of beautiful things.
     The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism
     is a mode of autobiography.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt
without being charming. This is a fault.
     Those who find beautiful meanings in
     beautiful things are the cultivated. For
     these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things
mean only Beauty.
     There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral
     book. Books are well written, or
     badly written. That is all.
The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban
seeing his own face in a glass.
     The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism
     is the rage of Caliban not seeing
     his own face in a glass.
The moral life of man forms part f the subject-matter
of the artist, but the morality of art consists
in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.
No artist desires to prove anything. Even
things that are true can be proved.
     No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical
     sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable
     mannerism of style.
          No artist is ever morbid. The artist
          can express everything.
Thought and language are to the artist instruments
of an art.
     Vice and virtue are to the artist materials
     for an art.
From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art
of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor’s
craft is the type.
          All art is at once surface and symbol.
     Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
       Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and no life, that art really mirrors.
     Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows
     that the work is new, complex, and vital.
          When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he
does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing
is that one admires it intensely.
     All art is quite useless.”

     -Oscar Wilde

Just me, my thoughts, and some water…

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“The lakes are something which you are unprepared for;they lie up so high, exposed to the light, and the forest is diminished to a fine fringe on their edges, with here and there a blue mountain, like amethyst jewels set around some jewel of the first water,–so anterior, so superior, to all the changes that are to take place on their shores, even now civil and refined, and fair as they can ever be.”

-Henry David Thoreau

“Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll…”-Lord Byron

“The beach is not the place to work; to read, write, or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, to damp, too soft, for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries down that faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points, and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even–at least, not at first.

At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea-shore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribbling.

And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense–no–but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps the channeled whelk, a moon shell, or even an argonaut.

But it must not be sought for or–heaven forbid!–dug for. No, no dredging of the sea-bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach–waiting for a gift from the sea.”
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh