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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Peg Leon, the Frolic, & Steve Cieslawski solo show


Tuesday morning I had the fun of going to R's class with Peg Leon to talk about growing up as a writer-to-be and answering questions. Peg has a first novel, Mother Country, that I read in manuscript some years ago. I hope she has many more to come! Half the class had been at R's birthday party last weekend, so it was a comfortable setting with lots of well-known faces. Several of the girls in the class have written a great deal--R with short stories, A with a novel ms. Afterward Peg and I went to the Stagecoach for a hot drink and yacked about kids and publishing.

The annual frolic of games (we must have the beloved Game of Murder!) and mayhem went off well, as usual. For the first time, I notice a decided tone of maturity. There was a good deal of nostalgia, looking backward to prior R-birthday parties and the funny things that happened and the games that were played. Traditions violated and traditions carried on were noted. When one is a sophomore in high school, one has at last reached a pinnacle of reflection with the past glittering to one side and the future gleaming cloudily on the other. As always, people arrived in costume and changed clothes nonstop well into the next day, so the dress-up box saw some mighty action. I keep finding outrageous clothes strewn in odd corners. Meanwhile B added in the new element of games from his Theatre Arts class. The amount of lusty singing increased a great deal. Some of the guests have been in chorus together for five years now, and their voices are getting bigger and more fluent. The birthday extravaganza never fails to be touching and give me hope for the future. "O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beautious mankind is! O brave new world: That has such people in'it!"


Steve Cieslawski (artist for the hardcover jacket of The Curse of the Raven Mocker) sent me the catalogue for his third solo show in New York. You can read his essay and catch thumbnail glimpses of his pictures (as well as some by his wife, Gina Freschet) on the web here: William Bennett Gallery. Steve uses "a variation of the technique of the 17th century Dutch Master, Johannes Vermeer. Each painting is done with many glazes of different colors. The effect is one of light traveling through perhaps 20 layers of glazed pigment and bouncing back through layers to form an inner light source. Every inch of the canvas is meticulously painted so that each day, with the changing light, the viewer will invariably see something new and different." Steve's visionary portraits of the psyche and her world remind me of Wallace Stevens:

[CREDIT: Steve Cieslawski,
"The Garden"

William Bennett Gallery
October 20-
November 18

A collection of new paintings and illustrations completed in the past two years.

Opening Reception:
Saturday, October 20th
6pm - 9pm
RSVP for the Exhibition Opening
or at 212-965-8707]

Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.
It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.
--from "The Idea of Order at Key West."

So take a look at another vision of the "blessed rage for order" and linger by the "fragrant portals, dimly-starred." If you are in the city and have a chance, go see the show!


  1. the hooded picture is exquisite.

    It reminds me of if Christine was to steal the phantoms cloak for a night at some glamerous mascarade.

  2. I keep trying to leave a comment but blooger has been squirrely about letting me sign in recently.

    Loved the N stories, particularly the penguins. Goo goo gajub. (I know: they weren't walruses.)

    Susangalique is right about that hooded photo. Goodness!

    (By the way, in this post there are a couple peculiar (sorry!) links appearing to the right of the text which, when clicked upon, pop up versions of the top photo in a new window. They look like little green squares to my Safari browser. ... But the website is looking good!)

    It's me...mb

  3. Susanna,

    Stealing the Phantom's cloak... Sounds like the title of something.

    There you go--you could have a cloaked series to go with your hat series.

    Have you been wearing hats to class? The teacher with the hats. The hat lady.


    The Blooger was not happy yesterday. First time in a long time for me, though.

    N is very delightful, except when he is not. (Isn't that the kid way?) He has a huge affection for little animals, so I suppose he felt sad that the penguins turned back into orange cones.

    Little green squares... I've tried to get rid of the dern things. Uploading wasn't working right yesterday, and those are the traces left behind. E-pimples!

  4. Finally!

    I managed to cut the html and have it stay cut, mb. Thanks for bugging me...

  5. "E-pimples"!! Too funny.

  6. Hi Marly -- rather frazzled pre-event down south here, but The Pot-Paper's Posted.

    Hope your world is hozho.

  7. Lori,

    Ho! Thanks for the good wish. It doesn't seem so, actually--people I like are dying or coming to ruin against the monoliths of materialism.

    But the children have the day off, and we shall play.

  8. wow, this is a great post--i wish i were at a party like that :D
    the poem is exquisite, and completely new to me, as is this artist, whom you mentioned on my blog (so i came here to see)--thank you, and thank you again! what treats!

  9. Zoe,

    My daughter and her friends have all gone on either to college or Rotary foreign exchange programs, and I will very much miss the annual riot of girls for the 36-hour extravaganza.

    Oh, if you haven't read Stevens, you must, Zoe. You will love him (not that parts of him aren't head-breakers, but there are marvelous, wonderful poems and funny twisted ones like "A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts." In fact, you must go read "A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts" right now! Wondrous cat and rabbit.)

    And I'm glad you liked Steve. He's a grand painter with lovely light and high finish and lots of mystery.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.