Purple, but Different

FootsesballCUPrinceCU It’s been coming to my attention lately from numerous sources that a whole lot of people do not care one bit about history. I love history – not all history, but most history – so it matters not that no one else does. It just didn’t occur to me that they didn’t care at all. Ha.

History has surprised me over and over with the tugs and pulls of voices that, individually, have been forgotten but, together …? A modern moment – that seems at a glance to be disconnected – isn’t. Words and phrases have the faintest echoes of the words and phrases before and they all become part of the slow flow of ideas. Yes, yes, we all know that the glittering lines of Shakespeare have survived, but the ideas of so many others … they’ve survived, too.

I don’t prefer the past, but I value it for revealing so much, for its deep reserves of inspiration, for the secrets it exhales.

When I write or paint, I don’t think of history as a thing to be applied -but it’s there, in the way I see the world and hear the world and think of the world. I’m loaded with the long story of life unfurled.

Sometimes, it shows itself in the most simple way: I tell my mother about an old classic film I just watched and I assume, based on her age and the fame of the film, that she knows it well.

She’s never seen it. She grew up in a tiny town in a farming state that was still recovering from the Depression. Simple and this tiny bit of personal history makes me very aware of how cultural sign posts only mean something when you’re willing to understand what they mean.

I don’t expect anyone to read my love of history in what I write (quite separate and apart from blogging), but it’s there.

I don’t expect anyone to see it in my paintings, either.

But it’s there.




6 thoughts on “Purple, but Different

  1. I’m tired and I may not have totally understood….but, the past is very different from history. In 2004 I went to Sicily searching for family…something my mother always wanted to do. I didn’t find one person, but I saw my family history and understood my mothers search for her parent’s past…..does that make sense? Purple is a lovely color…..not too many monsters can wear purple well…..this one does wonderfully.

    • Well, now that you mention it, Rosie, I think of the past as separate little glimpses, small parts of big history that slowly add up and take shape and can be understood because there’s enough of it to explain why what happened happened.. And that’s why it TOTALLY makes sense. To me (I mean, according to the way I love history), you found the place and the space and the land where all their stories were first planted. I’m genuinely happy you got to do that, got to just … sit and be in the source of your own story.

      I’m almost certain they’ll have fits of silliness when I tell them about the purple. They are such little pigs about compliments.

      How are you doing? Feeling peaceful?

  2. Sorry to hog your comments…….but, I am in a quiet mental place strangely enough. Saw the neurosurgeon today, surgery next month, neck first since it seems my head is going to fall off my body if I don’t. I will be glad to have it done and start feeling better. A little sniff because I can’t ride my bike for a very long time, but I can walk and that will have to do. Steve starts PT next week and he is eager for that to get him more mobile. So, life is good

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