Saturday, June 23, 2007


"Art is the enemy of the routine, the mechanical and the humdrum. It stops us in our tracks with a high voltage jolt of disturbance; it reminds us of what humanity can do beyond the daily grind. It takes us places we had never dreamed of going; it makes us look again at what we had taken for granted."
- Simon Schama

Last week I received my advance-order of Historian Simon Schama's Power of Art from BBC America, and have been enjoying the episodes on David, Rembrandt, Turner, Caravaggio, Picasso, Bernini, Rothko and Van Gogh. Below is a photo of Schama on the left, with Andy Serkis who plays Van Gogh on the right.

Schama has the gift of storytelling, and this series takes it to the max with some re-enactment. But what I am in love with is the language of Schama's scripts. Our English language is always in flux, changing and growing and shrinking. Schama uses language as a painter uses color and brushes to enchant our imaginations and attention. He is a master.

On YouTube, there's an hour-long lecture by him re: his book Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution given at Google in Mountain View:

The P of A series is also showing on KQED Channel 9 in the Bay Area at 9pm on Mondays. Check it out.

There is also a C BBC take-off on YouTube of Schama in which it seems he participated, at least vocally: Simon Schama and the Power Rangers of Art

Americans find Brit humor pretty goofy, but I love it. It shows the Brits still know how to laugh at themselves, unlike us Yanks.

Meanwhile, I've let the laundry pile up and am struggling with the last chapter of my novella. I need to make that last chapter as finished as the first, and that is not easy. I found my original first draft written 7 years ago and it is still nearly word for word with refinement. But the ending, the ending must be changed almost completely.

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