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NEWSLETTERS
Below is the current issue; also recent issues,
back to September, 2017.For all back issues,
 
click here.



 

angel with pearl

May 2018


CONTENTS

NEW GALLERIES

WORDS
EXHIBITS

NOTE: To view the galleries, words, etc.,
described below, click on the highlighted links.



1803-NOS-PR-images-v3.jpg
Sun(Above: Power Plant, The Driver (Havana), Desire, Blue Eyes, Water with Lemon, and Sun)

 


NEW GALLERIES

ART
2018, 2017, and 2005–2016 (works added)

PHOTOGRAPHY
2018Mexico CityHavana (all three from 2018) and 2017. If you are curious about Cuba these days, the Havana collection, though by no means comprehensive, should shed some light.

WORDS

About Now — Remarks, poems, and essays by Émile Zola, Susan Sontag, James Baldwin, W.H. Auden, and Emily Dickinson. Part of my Newton Open Studios art exhibit a few weeks ago. Read them here (lower down this page).


EXHIBITS
Recent
  • Spring Newton Open Studios, April 7 & 8 at Newton City Hall, with 19 other artists. There are many art lovers in and near Newton—200+ visitors spent a respectable amount of time at my exhibit. Thank you to readers of this newsletter who came by. Good to see you! 
  • If you missed the show, you can see most of the 20 or so exhibited works at the 2018 and 2017 art and photography galleries mentioned in NEW GALLERIES, above. 

Current

 The 2018 Maine Photography Show, in Boothbay Harbor to May 4. 

  • The show’s juror, Peter Ralston, included Afterlife, a photograph that shows the (digitally re-colored) remains of a shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species, which I found last summer on the beach at Reid State Park on the coast of Maine. You can see the photo here at the Squeezeshot website, in FAVORITES Gallery A
  • Peter (ralstongallery.com) is the leading contemporary photographer of coastal Maine. He said to me of Afterlife, “It’s what Andy Wyeth might have called a ‘wondrous strange’ image!” Peter grew up in Pennsylvania next door to Andrew Wyeth and family, and has been the family’s friend and collaborator ever since. “Wondrous strange” is the title Andrew’s wife Betsy chose for a book about the Wyeth painters, Wondrous Strange: The Wyeth Tradition. It is also a Shakespeare reference that you may recall from Hamlet, after Hamlet and Horatio have encountered a ghost: 
    • HORATIO: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
    • HAMLET: And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. / There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

In another current exhibit, two artworks of mine, Blue Migration and Warming, appear in Together is Better: The Marvel and Mystery of Fish Migration, through June 16 at Monkitree (monkitree.com) in Gardiner, Maine.The exhibit celebrates increasing fish migration on the rivers and streams of central Maine, as watersheds there become restored. The two works also appear here at the Squeezeshot site, in the new 2018 art gallery.


 


WORDS


About Now
(April 2018)

Remarks, poems, essays, and fragments by Émile Zola, 
Susan Sontag, James Baldwin, W.H. Auden, and Emily Dickinson, which I compiled for my recent Newton Open Studios art exhibit. — M.P.

_____________
 


Émile Zola

You cannot say you have seen anything until you have got a photograph of it, revealing a lot of points which otherwise would be unnoticed.

_____________
 
 


Susan Sontag

The first sentence of On Photography

Humankind lingers unregenerately in Plato’s cave, still reveling, its age-old habit, in mere images of the truth.

* * *

M.P. response to that sentence: I would suggest that everything we perceive—every flicker, sequence, and torrent of our thought, perception, awareness, and imagination— is both an image of the truth and truth itself. That is not only an “age-old habit” of ours, it is necessity, our biology, the creature that is us. Such is our one and only habitat, our cave, our universe(s). May our revels there/here never end. 

_____________


James Baldwin

Final Paragraphs of Nothing Personal

The light that’s in your eyes / reminds me ofthe skies / that shine above us every day-so wrote a contemporary lover, out of God knows what agony, what hope, and what despair. But he saw the light in the eyes, which is the only light there is in the world, and honored it and trusted it; and will always be able to find it; since it is always there, waiting to be found. One discovers the light in darkness, that is what darkness is for; but everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found, there is a light. What the light reveals is danger, and what it demands is faith. Pretend, for example, that you were born in Chicago and have never had the remotest desire to visit Hong Kong, which is only a name on a map for you; pretend that some convulsion, sometimes called accident, throws you into connection with a man or a woman who lives in Hong Kong; and that you fall in love. Hong Kong will immediately cease to be a name and become the center of your life. And you may never know how many people live in Hong Kong. But you will know that one man or one woman lives there without whom you cannot live. And this is how our lives are changed, and this is how we are redeemed.

What a journey this life is! dependent, entirely, on things unseen. If your lover lives in Hong Kong and cannot get to Chicago, it will be necessary for you to go to Hong Kong. Perhaps you will spend your life there, and never see Chicago again. And you will, I assure you, as long as space and time divide you from anyone you love, discover a great deal about shipping routes, airlines, earth- quake, famine, disease, and war. And you will always know what time it is in Hong Kong, for you love someone who lives there. And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time and, furthermore, to win.

I know we often lose, and that the death or destruction ofanother is infinitely more real and unbearable than one’s own. I think I know how many times one has to start again, and how often one feels that one cannot start again. And yet, on pain of death, one can never remain where one is. The light. The light. One will perish without the light.

I have slept on rooftops and in basements and subways, have been cold and hungry all my life; have felt that no fire would ever warm me, and no arms would ever hold me. I have been, as the song says, ‘buked and scorned and I know that I always will be. But, my God, in that darkness, which was the lot of my ancestors and my own state, what a mighty fire burned! In that darkness of rape and degradation, that fine flying froth and mist of blood, through all that terror and in all that helplessness, a living soul moved and refused to die. We really emptied oceans with a home-made spoon and tore down mountains with our hands. And if love was in Hong Kong, we learned how to swim.

It is a mighty heritage, it is the human heritage, and it is all there is to trust. And I learned this through descending, as it were, into the eyes of my father and my mother. I wondered, when I was little, how they bore it-for I knew that they had much to bear. It had not yet occurred to me that I also would have much to bear; but they knew it, and the unimaginable rigors of their journey helped them to prepare me for mine. This is why one must say Yes to life and embrace it wherever it is found-and it is found in terrible places; nevertheless, there it is; and if the father can say, Yes. Lord. the child can learn that most difficult of words, Amen.

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.

The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

 

_____________


W.H. Auden

September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright

And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;

The unmentionable odour of death 

Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:

But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face

And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,

Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout

Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev

Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love

But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
‘I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,’
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,

Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority

Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;

Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,

Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame

 

_____________


Emily Dickinson

Emerging from
an Abyss and
entering it again
That is Life, is
it not?

* * *

But are not

all Facts Dreams
as soon as
we put
them behind
us –
 


___________________

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March 2018
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1803 Balloon Mona Lisa sand_2017-SMALL.jpg



Friends,

COMING SOON: my annual Newton Spring Open Studios exhibit, Saturday & Sunday, April 7 & 8, from 11 to 5. The exhibit location will be the same as last year: Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, on the ground floor inside the west (War Memorial Auditorium) entrance. 

This year, the exhibit  will feature:

  • prints of many new artworks:
  • a slideshow of recent art and photography, including photographs of Havana, Mexico City, Florida, and elsewhere;
  • words about now, by James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, W.H. Auden, and others.

19 other artists will also be exhibiting at City Hall, as will 140 more at 50 locations citywide—a big day in Newton for art lovers. Details here, and an illustrated downloadable guide (with map) to artists and locations here.

I’ll be there both days. I hope you’ll stop by! 

— Marcus

* * *

Also, posted the next week as a followup:

Newton Open Studios

The annual exhibit at Newton’s Spring Open Studios will take place this Saturday & Sunday, April 7 & 8, from 11 to 5. Same location as last year: Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, ground floor inside the west (War Memorial Auditorium) entrance. 19 other artists will also be exhibiting there, as will 140 more citywide. Click here for a downloadable guide to the artists and locations.

The exhibit  will feature:

  • prints of new artworks:
  • a slideshow, including photographs of Havana, Mexico City, and elsewhere;
  • words about now, by James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, W.H. Auden, and others.

I’ll be there both days. I hope you’ll stop by! — Marcus






squeezeshot angel with pearl

November/December 2017


CONTENTS

IMAGES

SAGA
EXHIBITION







IMAGES

Zoom or click for a closer (and more revealing) look. 👀



Leaving the ClubLeaving the Club






Dancing the Night AwayDancing the Night Away





Self and OtherIdea(s) to Chew On





Untitled imageUntitled





Hand of GodHand of God (Above and Within)




Witnessing the MiraculousWitnessing the Miraculous





Perfectly OrdinaryPerfectly Ordinary





UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled





UntitledUntitled





UntitledUntitled





No CenterNo Center?



 




THE SQUEEZESHOT SAGA

Excerpt 6
from
Journal cover

The chapter titled A Saving Grace: The Eternal Present, begun in the September and October issues, concludes below. In it, Vassal Squeezeshot describes his first encounter with angels. More Journal excerpts appear at the Squeezeshot website as part of Vassal’s multivolume saga. Below, the end of Excerpt 5 sets the scene for Excerpt 6.



 

A Saving Grace: The Eternal Present
 (conclusion)
 


last paragraphs of
Excerpt 5

I first met the angels three summers before that. I had completed postgraduate studies in electrical engineering and molecular biology, with related studies in other engineering fields, as well as in chemistry, physics, philosophy, and literature. In the course of those studies, my curiosity had led me in many directions, which I had pursued voraciously.

When I graduated, however, I suffered a letdown. I lacked goals and ambition. I hadn’t looked for a job, or thought much about it. I didn’t want to think about it. My mind held too much baggage, to no purpose. I felt restless, unable to move forward, becalmed without peace of mind.


*

Water pours
into a pool without end
—no journey ahead.
— H.A.

*

I spent the summer alone. I loved to fish. Often in those years, I drove deep into the Maine woods to fly-fish for brook trout. Day after day, I forced my beat-up car down a half-mile of overgrown logging road, then lugged my canoe and fishing gear over several hundred yards of tangled game trail, to the shore of my favorite pond.

The best time to fish was late afternoon and evening, when hatching insects attracted trout to the surface. I usually went in midafternoon, however, to arrive early. At the shore, I would put down my load, and make my way to a ridge that rose a few hundred feet above the north side. At the top, I sat on a moss-covered promontory I had found, leaned back on my hands, stretched my legs in front of me, and for an hour or two looked out over the pond and the miles of forest beyond it. Most days, clouds drifted across the sky, their shadows playing on the treetops below me. Waves marched across the pond’s surface, and lapped the shore. Gusts of wind rippled the water, and breezes twirled. Fish ducks, mergansers, fished in the coves. Often, a beaver would be swimming near the marshes.

In the shallows, great blue herons fished among the aquatic grasses. Sometimes, a mink darted from the shore to pull mussels and crawfish from the rocks and mud on the bottom. A white-tailed deer might stroll from the forest to drink. Often, a moose stood shoulder deep, feeding on underwater plants. Some days, a fox trotted along, hunting for squirrels, snakes, frogs, toads, grasshoppers, and the like. Almost always, a few kingfishers would be diving into the pond from overhanging trees and emerging with minnows clutched in their beaks. Small birds and larger—warblers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, woodpeckers, thrushes—fluttered through the bushes and trees. Crows and ravens flew above, some crying out. Gulls—herring gulls and big, bullying black-backs—circled higher, scavenging. Red-tailed hawks, osprey, and sometimes a bald eagle, soared highest. The birds’ songs and cries, accompanied by breezes purring through the forest, spoke to my reverie.


* * *


Excerpt 6


In prior summers, observing all of that had been sublime pleasure for me. As that summer began, however, it no longer was. My aimlessness possessed me. I couldn’t enjoy anything. I wanted to be elsewhere, doing something else, but I didn’t know where or what. My discontent pained me, angered me, and depressed me. I couldn’t resolve it, couldn’t moderate, escape, or avoid it. I suffered it, and had no patience for my suffering.

On the afternoon when I first saw the angels, I was sitting on the ridge, waggling my foot, fidgeting. Behind me a red squirrel chattered, scolding me for being there. A jay swooped to a tree branch a few feet above me, screeched at me, and flew off. In the woods behind me, a vireo sung its exultant song—cheerful little bastard. A few yards to the side, a pair of beady-eyed chickadees chittered and buzzed, exhibiting purpose such as I did not possess. A small spider climbed onto my jeans and scurried halfway across before I flicked it away.

I looked at the sky. It was cloudless, a dome of blue. To the west, the sun shone above distant hills, where in a few hours it would set. I should return to the pond and get ready to fish. I was about to stand up and do that when something about the sky caught my eye. At first it was raw perception, something before you know it. Then I saw that the entire sky shone with golden light. The light was soft, otherworldly. It shone as if nothing else existed. Its radiance filled my vision, my mind, and my spirit.

Something else caught my eye. To my left, eastward, a cloud was drifting into view. It was as luminous as the sky, tinged with the same gold. And upon it, I suddenly realized, reclined a large being. It emanated the same light as the cloud and the sky, as if it was part of its surroundings. It seemed to be made of that light, without other substance; I could see through it to the sky beyond. But its appearance was more defined than the cloud’s. It was human in form, but bulbous, like a child’s toy, as if you could squeeze it and make it squeak. It had a pudgy torso, arms, and legs, and a round head with two eyes and maybe a nose and mouth. It was larger than human, however, much larger, large enough for me to see on the distant cloud. It lay there at a slight incline, its feet forward and head and shoulders raised, and gazed in the direction of the cloud’s drift. I sensed that it was alive and aware, but I could determine no more than that. It didn’t move. It just lay there, riding the cloud, emanating the golden light. I had never seen anything like it. I was stunned. It’s an angel, I thought. It is gigantic and pudgy, and has no feathered wings, but…it’s an angel!

The cloud and the angel continued their drift. Soon they passed in front of me, halfway across the sky. The angel hadn’t moved. Then, abruptly, it did move. It turned its head toward me and looked right at me—at me and into me, to greater depths than I had ever known or imagined. The look lasted only a moment, a glance, but that was enough, for it conveyed a message. 

The message electrified me, and changed my life. As well as I can translate it from angelic radiance into words, it was this: “Relax, Vassal. Everything is fine.” The angel’s look embodied that message, and evoked it from everything around and within me. It struck me body and soul, rang me like a bell, sang to and from every fiber of my being. And itransformed me, putting an end to my unhappiness. I had been a typically overwrought young adult. Now, the burdens that I had been bearing—my torpor, confusion, and the rest of my plagued inwit—disappeared. My anxious interior chatter ceased, replaced by a blessed silence.

Its message delivered, the angel turned away and resumed facing forward, continuing its journey. The radiance of the sky, cloud, and angel held deeper meaning for me now. It pervaded everything. Everything emanated it, including the pond below me, the forest near and far, the creatures of the woods and water, and I myself. Its source was everything everywhere, and it shone upon everything everywhere, at once cause and effect. It brought everything to life and it was everything’s life. The universe, every universe, was made of nothing else. All things were one and the same, identical, while at the same time lacking none of the differences by which we distinguish one from another. 

The radiance illuminated for me a reality that I believe all people sense, but that usually abides beyond our consciousness. I began to think of it as “the more real than real”, a truth of truths, than which there is no other. On that afternoon, as I sat on my ridgetop perch and watched the angel and cloud drift toward the western horizon, that reality was tangible to me. I basked in it. My every thought thought it, and every feeling felt it. I felt fortunate to be experiencing it so directly. 

When the angel and the cloud passed out of sight beyond the hills, I turned my head and looked the other way, toward the east. More angels were approaching, a host of them, each on a separate cloud. They sailed in front of me in ragged parade, some higher in the sky, some lower, some ahead or behind. Like the first angel, they seemed alive and aware, but this time none looked at me or acknowledged me. There was no need for that. By their nature, by all nature, they saw and acknowledged everything at once, including me and my bit of light. I watched them until they drifted out of sight.

Afterward, alone again, I felt boundless bliss. The angels were gone, but they were with me, too. And so they have remained. Despite difficulties that I, like anyone, have encountered, they and their universal light have remained present to me. Whenever and wherever I look for them, I see them and am strengthened by them. Always, seeing them puts a kind of end to any unease, discomfort, want, or suffering I might be experiencing. On that day by the pond, when they showed themselves to me for the first time and gave their light to me, they changed me, saved me, with saving grace.

* * *

At my seat on the floor of the Stone Age cave, the angels were with me and not, as usual. I struggled to my feet, feeling stiff in my knees. I wanted to make my way in darkness, so I left my flashlight turned off. I crouched again to avoid the stone ceiling, and shuffled back the way I had come, guided by my memory of the passageway, the feel of the walls beside me, and the sound of open space ahead of me. A few minutes later I came to the entrance. I paused just inside. Outside it was dark; the sun had set. I felt a breeze on my face, coming from the sea, and I heard the slow rhythm of waves pushing onto the shore. I turned on my flashlight and aimed it ahead. In its beam I saw the dirt path leading away. I leaned forward to step out.  As I did, I felt a heavy blow on the top of my head. I staggered, almost knocked over. My legs quivered. I fell to my knees.

The pain subsided. I pointed my flashlight upward. The stone across the top of the entrance was set lower than the others. I had not bowed low enough to pass beneath it. Had the ancient builders placed it lower for structural reasons? Or to serve as a threshold whose purpose was to encourage humility—to beat unwary heads like mine against it, to clobber anyone foolish enough to walk too tall?

I knelt there, angry and sorry for myself. My injury cast doubt on my belief that I had insight into this place or, angels or not, into anything. I imagined some of the ancient people, my forebears, grinning at me across the centuries, their faces as creviced as the worn stones around me. Their grins twisted into me, provoking demons within me that I could not escape.

Shriveled, dizzy, my head aching, I reached to the stone above me to steady myself, and rose again to a crouch. My legs resumed shaking. I bent as low as I could and stepped outside. Clear of the entry, I stood up, took off my hat, and looked inside it with my flashlight. A blot of my blood and hair stuck to the crown. The sea breeze made the gash on my head feel cold. I touched the spot and stared at the red smear on my fingertip. I shuddered. My teeth chattered. I took my hat in both hands, raised it over my head, and lowered it gently.



END of CHAPTER





 

EXHIBITION

No Way?, below, has been selected for the 2018 Newton Open Studios Winter Juried Show. The exhibition will take place in the Newton City Hall Gallery, on the 2nd floor of City Hall, from January 8 through February 23. There will be a reception there on Wednesday, January 10, from 7-8:30pm. The jurors are Ellen Wineberg and Cathleen Daley of Room 83 Spring in Watertown.


No Way?No Way?







PUBLICATION



 ART Habens story
Art Habens Contemporary Art Review has published a 24-page article about SQUEEZESHOT. It includes a dozen artworks and an interview by the curators. 
 
 

 


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squeezeshot angel with pearl

October 2017



CONTENTS

INVITATION
GALLERY
SAGA




 INVITATION
. . . if you’ll be on the Boston area

 
ART OPEN HOUSE
PHOTOGRAPHY, GRAPHIC ART, TAPESTRY, & MORE
by 3 artists: Ellen Fisher, Ellen Kaplovitz
and Marcus Parsons

Saturday, November 4, 12–5 pm
at 41 Waldorf Road, Newton Highlands

All are welcome. We hope you’ll come by!
If you know others who might like to come, please invite them.

Details and preview here.



 


GALLERY



NOTE: Images can enlarge for a closer look. Just tap or click.

 
 
 Worried?
Worried? Amused? Both?
 
 
 
 


On the Train
On the Train
 
 

 
 
 
. . . and a few for Halloween 
 

Stone BonesStone Bones
 
 


 
 

Stone Mask I

 Stone Mask I
 
 




Stone Mask II
Stone Mask II
 





Fire Within
Fire Within




 

 

 

THE SQUEEZESHOT SAGA

Excerpt 5
from


Journal cover(NOTEExcerpts 1 through 4 of Vassal Squeezeshot’s journal appear in this year’s JuneJulyAugust, and September issues. They also appear elsewhere at this site, as part of Vassal’s saga. The end of Excerpt 4 follows below, as a lead-in to Excerpt 5.)

 
 
Saving Grace: The Eternal Present (continued)
 

last paragraphs of Excerpt 4:

. . . I proceeded through several small chambers, where I found more spirals, and images of animals, eyes, and, I thought, women’s breasts. I came to the final chamber: round, ten feet across, five feet high. More carvings covered the wall. I sat down on the floor and studied them. Then I turned off my flashlight and sat in darkness.

There are many such barrows in northern Europe. No one knows their purpose; their builders left no records, and no tales survive. Scholars speculate that shamans or priests built them as homes for the dead; perhaps as portals to an afterlife, where the living conducted ceremonies to encourage the departed to guide and protect loved ones who would follow. Or, they may have served as places for holy teaching, vision quests, or other exercises of the spirit, unrelated to death.

Eventually, some of those ancient people migrated from Brittany to southern England. The builders of that barrow may have been my ancestors. I chose to believe so. I also believed that whatever other purposes the barrow may have served, those people also built it, decorated it, and gathered together in it—or came singly, as I was doing—to take comfort in the miraculous.

So it was that on that day, as I sat with my eyes open, blind in the darkness, and as I smelled the dirt floor and damp stones and felt the cool air on my face and hands, I looked for what I realized I had come there to see: angels, my familiars. 

As soon as I looked, the darkness stirred and there they were. Ever since my first encounter with them several years before, they had appeared whenever and wherever I wanted. As they still do. And as they will, I expect, for as long as I live, for they are present within me and—to me—within everything. As I must now attempt to describe.

 

Excerpt 5

I first met the angels three summers before that. I had completed postgraduate studies in electrical engineering and molecular biology, with related studies in other engineering fields, as well as in chemistry, physics, philosophy, and literature. In the course of those studies, my curiosity had led me in many directions, which I had pursued voraciously.

When I graduated, however, I suffered a letdown. I lacked goals and ambition. I hadn’t looked for a job, or thought much about it. I didn’t want to think about it. My mind held too much baggage, to no purpose. I felt restless, unable to move forward, becalmed without peace of mind.

*

Water pours
into a pool without end
—no journey ahead.
— H.A.

*

 

I spent the summer alone. I loved to fish. Often in those years, I drove deep into the Maine woods to fly-fish for brook trout. Day after day, I forced my beat-up car down a half-mile of overgrown logging road, then lugged my canoe and fishing gear over several hundred yards of tangled game trail, to the shore of my favorite pond.

The best time to fish was late afternoon and evening, when hatching insects attracted trout to the surface. I usually went in midafternoon, however, to arrive early. At the shore, I would put down my load, and make my way to a ridge that rose a few hundred feet above the north side. At the top, I sat on a moss-covered promontory I had found, leaned back on my hands, stretched my legs in front of me, and for an hour or two looked out over the pond and the miles of forest beyond it. Most days, clouds drifted across the sky, their shadows playing on the treetops below me. Waves marched across the pond’s surface, and lapped the shore. Gusts of wind rippled the water, and breezes twirled. Fish ducks, mergansers, fished in the coves. Often, a beaver would be swimming near the marshes.

In the shallows, great blue herons fished among the aquatic grasses. Sometimes, a mink darted from the shore to pull mussels and crawfish from the rocks and mud on the bottom. A white-tailed deer might stroll from the forest to drink. Often, a moose stood shoulder deep, feeding on underwater plants. Some days, a fox trotted along, hunting for squirrels, snakes, frogs, toads, grasshoppers, and the like. Almost always, a few kingfishers would be diving into the pond from overhanging trees and emerging with minnows clutched in their beaks. Small birds and larger—warblers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, woodpeckers, thrushes—fluttered through the bushes and trees. Crows and ravens flew above. Gulls—herring gulls and big, bullying black-backs—circled higher, scavenging. Red-tailed hawks, osprey, and sometimes a bald eagle, soared highest. The birds’ songs and cries (ravens can sound human), accompanied by breezes purring through the forest, spoke to my reverie.


* * *

(The Journal chapter Saving Grace—The Eternal Present will conclude In the next issue.)
 

 


 
 
PUBLICATION


 ART Habens story
Art Habens Contemporary Art Review has published a 24-page article about SQUEEZESHOT. It includes a dozen artworks and an interview by the curators. SQUEEZESHOT was chosen from more than 3800 submissions.

 
  

 
 
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squeezeshot angel with pearl

September 2017



CONTENTS


GALLERY

SAGA

Publication

 


 

 

GALLERY

(Images can enlarge for a closer look.)

 
 
 

 ObstructionObstruction
 
 
 
 

 
Flow
Flow
 
 

 
 
 
AfterlifeAfterlife
 
 


 
 
 
BuriedBuried
 
 




 
Decline and FallDecline and Fall
 




 
 
On the Way
On the Way



 
 

 

Rockies
Rockies



 
 
 
Rockies 2
Rockies 2





 
 

Young Buck
Young Buck




 
 
 
Detroit
 Downtown (Detroit)



 
 
 
 
Seaside (Maine)Seaside




 
 

Fore Street (Maine)
Fore Street (Portland)



 
 
 
Longfellow House (Cambridge)
Direction (Cambridge)







Mother and SonMother and Son







 

 

THE SQUEEZESHOT SAGA

Excerpt 4*
from
Journal cover
*NOTEExcerpts 1, 2 and 3 appear in the
June 2017July 2017, and August 2017 newsletters.
They also appear elsewhere at this site, with other
Journal excerpts, as part of the Squeezeshot Saga.






Saving Grace: The Eternal Present

—the sere schoon of the deep while the was—



In search of my beginnings, I have traveled centuries. My journey began in my 20s. One summer, I took a month’s vacation from my engineering job in Boston and set out to visit my ancestors. I drove north to Maine, where I had grown up on a farm. Earlier generations of the Squeezeshot family had lived nearby.

On the morning of the first day, I waded through a tangle of raspberry vines, goldenrod, and Queen Anne’s Lace, and clambered onto the granite foundation stones of my great-grandparents’ 19th century farmstead. An hour later, I did the same at the rough ridgetop farms of their parents, a few miles away. The next day, I drove to the coast and rode a ferry to the island fishing village where my great-great-great-grandparents came to live a few years after the Revolution.

I returned briefly to Massachusetts. At Plimoth Plantation, I visited a replica of the seaside hut built in the 1620s by the first Squeezeshots to arrive in North America. The family patriarch then was a rum-swilling adventurer who brought his wife and their two teenaged children, plus a baby born en route, on the perilous voyage across the Atlantic.

From there, I flew to England, where I traipsed around Hampshire, Oxfordshire, and East London, the homelands of earlier Squeezeshots. I managed to follow my roots as far back as the early 1500s. Some reports pointed further, to the 1200s, but were unreliable, so I spent a week in libraries and pubs and on park benches, reading histories of medieval Britain and earlier. Those carried my imagination and understanding back as far as pagan times before the birth of Christ.

* * *

I crossed the Channel to Brittany. There, I came one sundown to the mouth of a cave-like barrow built by people of the Neolithic era. It was set into a grassy rise overlooking the sea. As the daylight faded, I sat on the ground facing it. Birds hopped and fluttered, weaving through brush and tall grass on its back. Beside its entrance loomed a tall rectangular stone, a menhir.

I stood up, turned on my flashlight, and ducked inside. Stale, damp air tickled my nose and sinuses. I sneezed, blinked, and looked ahead. A low hallway led deeper in. Massive oblong stones formed the walls and roof. I twisted up the brim of my cap so I could see, and shuffled ahead. I am six-and-a-half feet tall. The ceiling forced me to bend so far forward that even with my elbows bent, my knuckles brushed the dirt floor—suitably simian, I thought. The dirt was dry and cool to my touch, packed firm by the tread of earlier visitors.

I turned a corner and passed out of sight of the entrance. My flashlight’s beam settled on a stone beside me. A spiral appeared. I leaned closer. It was four inches across, etched into the rock, and veered toward its center as spirals do. I felt that not a moment had passed since the hour five thousand years ago when someone carved it there.

I proceeded through several small chambers, where I found more spirals, and images of animals, eyes, and, I thought, women’s breasts. I came to the final chamber: round, ten feet across, five feet high. More carvings covered the wall. I sat down on the floor and studied them. Then I turned off my flashlight and sat in darkness.

There are many such barrows in northern Europe. No one knows their purpose; their builders left no records, and no tales survive. Scholars speculate that shamans or priests built them as homes for the dead; perhaps as portals to an afterlife, where the living conducted ceremonies to encourage the departed to guide and protect loved ones who would follow. Or, they may have served as places for holy teaching, vision quests, or other exercises of the spirit, unrelated to death.

Eventually, some of those ancient people migrated from Brittany to southern England. The builders of that barrow may have been my ancestors. I chose to believe so. I also believed that whatever other purposes the barrow may have served, those people also built it, decorated it, and gathered together in it—or came singly, as I was doing—to take comfort in the miraculous.

So it was that on that day, as I sat with my eyes open, blind in the darkness, and as I smelled the dirt floor and damp stones and felt the cool air on my face and hands, I looked for what I realized I had come there to see: angels, my familiars. 

As soon as I looked, the darkness stirred and there they were. Ever since my first encounter with them several years before, they had appeared whenever and wherever I wanted. As they still do. And as they will, I expect, for as long as I live, for they are present within me and—to me—within everything. As I must now attempt to describe.

 

the barrow and menhir



(Saving Grace—The Eternal Present will conclude In

Excerpt 5, in the next issue of this newsletter.)





 
 
PUBLICATION


 ART Habens story
Art Habens Contemporary Art Review
has published a 24-page article about

SQUEEZESHOT, with a dozen artworks
and an interview by the curators.
 
 
 
 

 


 
 
 
 
Email button 100W

SUBSCRIBE

These newsletters include
original art, photography, and
sometimes video, audio, prose,
or verse, for you to view on
your personal screen(s). 

Subscribe here.
(100+ people do.)

See recent issues here.

Unsubscribe here.

If you subscribe or are
already a subscriber, and
have friends who would like
these newsletters, please share.

 
 
* * *


 
 
Saga     Art     Photography     Video     Verse 

 



See the archive of all issues here.



 



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