Thursday, March 14, 2019

HELLO AGAIN, WE'VE NEVER MET

I've never introduced myself in English. 


It's almost Spring, and as with every Spring, I feel like I am being reborn again. I had an interview the other day for a job I did not get. I didn't think I would. Not even the automated subway voice thought I stood a chance. I could tell she felt sorry for me as she announced my stop in a long, dreary sigh. Here we go again. 

Thing is, don't feel sorry for myself. I knew they no longer had the department I wanted, so I did it as a practice. I do feel like I am getting better at performing at interviews — and I think, it has something to do with finally being honest about what I really want to be. Now, if only I could to something about those flushed red cheeks...

It was the kindest rejection I have ever received. They loved my c.v. They thought I had proven experience in putting myself out there. They recommended me elsewhere that has the department I am interested in. We'll see. I think, as far as rejections go, they did me a favor. 

I am reading Edith Holden's journal, which is oh so calming and grounding. A retired French blogger I used to read wrote a beautiful article about it. If I get a hold of her, I will ask her if I can translate it and share it with you. You would love it.

I would like to make this space one in which I can share not only my own thoughts and words, but the best of the Internet's. That's why I chose The Repvblic of Letters as my url, in reference to the network of letters exchanged between Artists and Intellectuals during the Siècle des Lumières, transcending borders and cultures. It seems like an appropriate name for an Internet Art Crit Project.

I realize I've never introduced myself to you. In fact, if you cannot read French, it is quite possible that in all my blogging years, I've never had the chance to meet you. My blog used to be part-English, part-French, which made it accessible to many and confusing to all. Would you follow a blog you only understood every other post? 

Thus, I've cut up the odd lion-lamb-dragon beast that I am and served it on separate plates. English on one, French on the other. I'll add Italian and other languages, hopefully, later.

I will try to give them equal attention. I am curious to see what sort of articles I will be more drawn to post in one language versus the other. So far it's been excerpts in English, and innerviews in French, but that was because I almost exclusively read in the former, and excerpts lended better to English, and paraphrasing to French. I now strive to reach a 1:1 ratio in both languages.

I encourage you to read all facets of The Repvblic, if you can, as they are not mirror images, but separate parts of a whole. You'll never know the full story without the plurality that I am. I also hope this encourages other multi-language writers to embrace every stem of their person and every root. It's like John Ruskin said, “I mean to call every flower either one thing or another, and not an 'aceous' thing, only half something or half other.”

I also hope to elevate arts and crafts to the same status as fine arts, starting with the act of blogging itself. Obviously, by the blog's motto, art criticism in prose, the reviews (innerviews) you will find are more artistic responses to a work than mere observations held behind in a glass case with white gloves, "as though it could be had in the abstract". Not everyone believes Criticism should attempt to be personal. But how can it not, when Art is inherently subjective? For me, criticizing Art is how I figured out what I want in a story, illustration, etc. It's how I learn to see, like a mole uses its whiskers to make sense of the world.  My personal experiences cannot be extirpated from the way I interrelate with Art. “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are,” goes the adage.

Behind every gesture and stroke of a pen, there is always an I, a hand. And it is always told to someone,"Even when there is no one." Which brings me back to the idea of a republic of letters. A letter is unabashedly written in and is addressed to a person. As are blogs. Dear ladies, gentlemen and everyone else, I present to you my correspondence. ◆ 


George Hendrik Breitner. Women on the Rokin. c. 1895-02. Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

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