Not me. In the last week I’ve come across so many interesting ideas that can be turned into books, that should be turned into books. But where is the time? I sit here now with my eyes closing, heavy with a threatening sleep. But no! I want to write this. I want to read and explore. Time runs out it seems, every day.
I guess it’s a warning, that time is always running out, that I should use my precious portion with great care. That doesn’t mean I have to use every moment to produce something material, but every moment should matter.
That’s all. I wanted to share that with you, as I sip my juice and read about horses and how they continue to change the lives of people today. Just another idea, waiting for development.
In Modern Arcana: Not Responsible for Broken Windshields, Tom Wingerd writes about relationships–not the sort that exist between family and friends, but the sort we all have to everything and everyone. Wingerd writes: “Your house, car, office, city are all affected by your daily interactions in space.” He states further, “Your life is the combination of your movement through space, and the ripple impact of every one of your actions…”. These are weighty pronouncements, but they don’t come across as such in the book.
Mr. Wingerd offers prescriptions for existing in an interrelated universe. With each of his statements he provides a pictorial representation of the concept. The effect on the reader is not one of complements but of exponents. This may be by design or it may merely prove his thesis: everything we see and do, everything that exists, affects everything else. Mr. Wingerd has an analytic approach to his subject. Some of his propositions are structured as mathematical formulas and, he makes clear, these formulas operate in a relative universe.
Though this is a book with a philosophical perspective, Mr. Wingerd at times adopts a light tone. He writes, for example, about his bisexual wife and gay son. A few pages later he admits that his son isn’t “real” but is a “six year old figment of my imagination, named Orion”. In another segment he advises:
Trust your heart first
Your brain second
They’ll do what they want anyway.
Before I began reading Modern Arcana: Not Responsible for Broken Windshields, I didn’t pay much attention to the title. After finishing the book I googled the phrase, “Not Responsible for Broken Windshields”. It turns out this is a statement likely to be found on the back of trucks that spew window-shattering debris. The driver’s message is clear: I’m not responsible for how my existence, how my behavior, affects you. Mr. Wingerd’s book is a refutation of that notion.
I enjoyed this book and I related to the author’s mindset. His pictures are as evocative as his words. The book would be a stimulating read for anyone who is inclined to be philosophical. It would be a great gift for someone who is not philosophically inclined, especially if that person is likely to post a sign that asserts: “Not Responsible for Broken Windshields”.
In On an Acre Shy of Eternity: Micro Landscapes at the Edge, Robert Dash directs the lens of an electron microscope toward the universe on his doorstep. This enables him to bring into view an otherwise invisible world. He describes his impression of this vision: “I am stunned that a space this small can have a library this large.”
In the preface to his book, Dash suggests that he considers the book to be a sequel to Blake’s lines, “To see the world in a grain of sand”. If Dash’s intention is to inspire awareness in readers, he has realized his wish. I, personally, was spellbound by the vitality evident in a speck of pollen. My awe was intensified by successive pictures that together revealed the logic in nature’s purpose.
It is often suggested, by medical professionals and seers, that people look inwards to understand themselves, and to find peace. Mr. Dash demonstrates that perhaps looking out, very closely, may be as inspiring an exercise. There, on our doorsteps, an extension of our own existence may be discovered.
One photo that is particularly effective shows the underside of a tree leaf. In vivid color, we see stomata carrying on their function. This function is as essential to human life as it is to the life of the tree. Stomata inhale as we exhale, and exhale as we inhale. It is the same breath, exchanged and returned, between plant and human. We sustain each other.
Mr. Dash writes poetry to accompany his pictures. The poetry is unaffected and expressive. I especially enjoyed “Moon Came By”, in which the moon drops “gold light on rowdy black waves”. The imagery is original, and memorable. As charming as the writing is, though, it is not necessary to the book. The heart of this book, its life, is in the pictures.
On an Acre Shy of Eternity: Micro Landscapes at the Edge is a visually striking and conceptually unique book. I highly recommend it.