I know that lots of schools begin their year in August, but here most of our public schools begin the day after Labor Day. That was true when I was a child as well, and even now I feel the pull of that new adventure. Which of course requires new supplies. Apparently I’m feeling the call of gold and dots and a trip to Paper Source supplied a beautiful fix. I’m certainly ready to labor with more joy now.
Speaking of labor, yesterday, Labor Day, was day four of our city’s annual Fringe Festival – the performance festival that seeks to push boundaries both with experimental works and in offering them in neighborhood settings that allow folks who may not have regular exposure to the arts a chance to delight in them. It’s always a wonderful couple of weekends with 50 or so plays in the offering.
Yesterday we attended a solo performance play by Steve Duchrow called Peddler of Dreams: Two Feet, One Idea, Two Thousand Miles. It was a tale of Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay who in 1906 walked across America. He was on a mission to spread his Gospel of Beauty, imploring folks to “strive to make their own home and neighborhood the most beautiful, the most democratic and the holiest in the world” through the devotion to arts and democracy. He refused all transportation, money and companions and carried only his book of poetry called “Rhymes to be Traded for Bread” – accepting a night’s lodging and a meal in trade for performing his work.
The play was a delight, and like all good pieces of art, it has lingered in my mind. It has me thinking about what my Gospel of Beauty might be. This may be yet another call to write a manifesto. But in any case, I was thinking a lot about beauty today as I dismantled my Venus Retrograde altar. While it’s now time to put up an Eclipse Season altar, I know I’ll be thinking about my own gospel of beauty as I do so.
As one of the symbols of Venus, one of the things I had on my now dismantled altar was this swan postcard art by Charley Harper. I may return it to my Eclipse altar. Swans are often considered to be solar animals, but I also feel a lunar quality to them as well, and they also represent the energies of grace and transformation which I suspect might be useful energies to hold this month.
Today also happens to be International Literacy Day. Statistics indicate that one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. I hope this is an issue we can remedy within our lifetime.
Celebrating the gift of literacy was something I thought about today also. I received an issue of Flow magazine published in the Netherlands for paper lovers. Fun and bonus points for containing a little packet of pretty papers along with some envelope templates. I’ve also begun reading the science fiction alternate history timeline novel Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card and am being swept up in it as well.
All in all, I’ve had a wonderful day thinking about and celebrating beauty and literacy, and delighting that I get to set my own curriculum in my own beauty school.
What about you? What are you reading? Laboring at? Finding beautiful? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Hi Debbie – that play must have been so interesting … I’d not heard of Vachel Lindsay – what a great way to promote your own country … I wish people would keep ours clean and devoid of litter … people are so lazy.
National Literacy Day – so sad so many miss out on not being able to read.
I’ll be posting about some of my books in the coming posts … and months probably! Cheers Hilary
I really did enjoy the play. I confess to having a great soft spot for poets and Lindsay was such a salt-of-the-Earth kind of man promoting beauty as a way of life it just captures my heart.
I look forward to catching your book posts – happy reading til then.
When I read Beauty School, images of hair curlers, scissors and various colorful makeup products floated through my brain. Having a friend recently graduate from Barber School (a cousin of Beauty School) may have been an influence. I love this new way of thinking of Beauty School.
I’ve long known that Beauty was a guiding grace in my life but was not aware that there was also a Gospel of Beauty…. I’ll be pondering what mine might look like. Do share if you create a new manifesto.
Speaking of beauty… dots make me swoon and gold dots are better by far. I love all your new papers. They will keep beauty inspired in your eclipse season.
Smiles and Sparkles
LOL – you know I love word play, so indeed I was inviting the imagining of the idea of a cosmic beauty school filled with scissors and colors and sparkles. Doesn’t that seem like a fun play to contemplate one’s own Gospel of Beauty?!
You’ll be the first to know when I write a new manifesto – but I’m already thinking dots, and gold, and swooning most definitely should be a part of it.
What a fun post Deborah! Sounds like a fascinating play and I like the term Gospel of Beauty.
The term labor is an interesting one. When I hear the word labor, I think hard, struggle, pain and the flip side of course is the beauty of birth. I have two adult children so I speak from experience. When I think about labor in relation to the work I do now, it’s more about creativity, giving birth to new ideas and concepts and there is no struggle or pain. It’s all about playing with ideas, being passionate about the retreats and classes I am creating and feeling joyful.
Oh I am so into finding beauty everywhere I go. Yesterday visiting a flour mill, I was struck by the beauty of a person doing their passion. Thanks for this more modern version of beauty school.
How wonderful Kimberly. I bet your year-long food project is going to provide you with an amazing array of beauty experiences. Can’t wait to hear about them.
Loved to hear that the art “had lingered in your mind”. What a wonderful description. I’m sure any artist would love to hear those words.
And those notebooks from Papersource- just darling!
You’re right Sue – I think that is the ultimate compliment. Here’s to always having wonderful things lingering in our minds.
This is so good. I read of a woman who did that – walked across America. I would say that it is on my bucket list to do such a thing but first is walking the Appalachian. We went to see A Walk in the Woods last week. My daughter and I have both read the book and loved it. While the movie was not quite as funny as the book (I nearly peed my pants reading it), it was a great introduction to Bill Bryson for anyone whose never had the good luck to find his work.
How perfectly in tune with your love of beauty too. When I read this, I was realizing that you are that also. You collect beautiful things and bring them to your blog for all of us to discover. You are like a curator for the ultimate beauty museum. I love that about you.
Have a wonderful weekend, Dear Deborah!
I can definitely see you walking the Appalachian Amy, and really experiencing it deeply.
And I must say you’re comment touched me deeply – I delight in the idea of curating a beauty museum. What a fabulous and fun idea.
Oooohhhh, a trip to Paper Source, how fun! I just went there last week and spent more than an hour roaming around. Looks like you found some beautiful items for your creations.
I truly enjoy reading how you change up your altars from time to time. I learn so much. I find it all so intriguing. Awesome!
Paper Source is such a great place to soak in a dose of beauty and inspiration isn’t it?
Deborah, I love how you connect beautiful paper with literacy. Actually, I love your brain in general. I think one of your great gifts is your ability to connect the seemingly-unconnected in interesting and exciting ways.
That swan? Glowing white as the moon, and hence a lunar bird in my book!
Thanks for the kind words Harmony. I love the idea of being a connector. And I think you’ve aced the swan/lunar connection!