An enrichment, borrowed from a library costing nothing in terms of crass currency.
An enrichment, we aware that it’s always nearby to be picked up and enjoyed without notice, either at a dedicated time set-aside just for reading, or as a diversion while waiting for an appointment, or taking a train ride.
An enrichment, knowing the pleasure and delight lying quietly, patiently, waiting for us to notice then ready to deliver.
An enrichment usurping time normally spent in other activities.
How great to find a book that we can’t put down, that permeates and hovers over one’s entire day.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
My 193rd consecutive posting.
Time is 4.08am
Boston will be breezy, reach a temperature of 64*, and variably cloudy.
Dinner is Roast Chicken with my daughter Kat and her schoolmate, Sharon. Am serving broccoli with it, tossed with Whole Foods-bought Hollandaise Sauce.
Quiz Question of the Day:
Who was Savanarola?
Girolamo Savonarola by Fra Bartolomeo, c. 1498, Museo di San Marco, Florence.
De facto Ruler of Florence, November 1494 – 23 May 1498
Second from Left
Painting (1650) of Savonarola's execution in the Piazza della Signoria
Second from Right
llustration from Compendio di revelatione, 1496, by Savonarola
Fantasy portrait of Girolamo Savonarola by Moretto da Brescia, c. 1524.
Love your notes.
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Howard’s reaction to my ask: do random illustrations enhance the appeal of my manuscript?
My opinion: too many "illustrations" especially as it's not completely clear what they're illustrating that isn't already clear from the text, or susceptible to being imagined because of how well (or poorly, maybe for some; who knows?) the text evokes images, or evinces the urge to try to visualize or otherwise realize the scenes and actions and verbal exercises presented.
They seem sometimes to be images sought out, captured, and captioned because there was some association on the part of the "editor" (who conclusively is also the author of the text that, presumably, stimulates the urge to associate and further the urge to illustrate the association). These don't necessarily elucidate or augment the text.
They seem more afterthoughts than part of the imaginative process that helped engender the text to begin with. As such, to me, they say more about you as the reader of the words you yourself were author of. Either tell me about you, or tell your story.
Or just put together a bunch of images that caught your attention, or whimsey, or something, and post those, Pinterest-style… if you don’t want to create a new section of your blog, “Gallery” or the like, then get a Pinterest page. Millions of people do it.
In the presentation of original writing, publications, whether in print or digitally, usually elect to commission some illustrative image (whether a drawing, painting – in whatever medium, photograph) that a third party produces as an interpretive depiction of the effect of either the story as a whole, or as some more specific depiction of a key event or theme embodied in the text that in turn may serve to "illustrate" the more abstract value of the whole. This usually goes at the beginning of the story, and serves the dual purpose of engaging the reader's attention as well, and thereby possibly inducing a greater enticement to begin to read the text and perhaps be more fully hooked, in order to read it to the end. There are myriad examples of this, especially every week a fresh set of examples with virtually every story in The New Yorker.
I think the effect of adding the illustrations you did add to yet another telling of another chapter of your novel is that it suggests you are trying to replicate the effect of the photos you included with your journal of your recent auto trip most of the way across country, especially the snapshots you took yourself. As if you were a tourist of your own fictional story, presented for other reasons completely than keeping a log of our journey.
The impressions of your trip, on a daily basis, both the text and the images, were far more compelling, and reinforced one another when used in tandem, than hitching these borrowed images from the web, catch as catch can and sometimes only tenuously connected visually with the subject being illustrated than any added interest they provide to the text itself. Which, I'll add, stands on its own and doesn't need help — and in fact is hindered, IMO, if you add photos of a restaurant interior or a slovenly sommelier at a wine bar, which are clearly publicity style shots and belong in a generic treatment of, say, proper ways of looking for a place to eat.
Of course, if the overwhelming response (or any response) from your regular readers is enthusiastic and encouraging, go with your gut.
What do I know? Not to mention the fact that I am not the audience of your novel of speculative fiction.
Always in your best interests my friend.
Web Meister Responds: You are in the mainstream on this one my friend. Thank you, as well as the others who responded.
Answer to Quiz Question of the Day
Girolamo Savonarola (21 September 1452 – 23 May 1498) was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active in Renaissance Florence.
He was known for his prophecies of civic glory, the destruction of secular art and culture, and his calls for Christian renewal.
He denounced clerical corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor.
He prophesied the coming of a biblical flood and a new Cyrus from the north who would reform the Church.
In September 1494, when Charles VIII of France invaded Italy, and threatened Florence, such prophecies seemed on the verge of fulfilment.
While Savonarola intervened with the French king, the Florentines expelled the ruling Medici and, at the friar's urging, established a "popular" republic.
Declaring that Florence would be the New Jerusalem, the world center of Christianity and "richer, more powerful, more glorious than ever", he instituted an extreme puritanical campaign, enlisting the active help of Florentine youth.
In 1495 when Florence refused to join Pope Alexander VI's Holy League against the French, the Vatican summoned Savonarola to Rome.
He disobeyed and further defied the pope by preaching under a ban, highlighting his campaign for reform with processions, bonfires of the vanities, and pious theatricals.
In retaliation, the Pope excommunicated him in May 1497, and threatened to place Florence under an interdict.
A trial by fire proposed by a rival Florentine preacher in April 1498 to test Savonarola's divine mandate turned into a fiasco, and popular opinion turned against him.
Savonarola and two of his supporting friars were imprisoned.
On 23 May 1498, Church and civil authorities condemned, hanged, and burned the three friars in the main square of Florence.
Savonarola's devotees, the Piagnoni, kept his cause of republican freedom and religious reform alive well into the following century, although the Medici—restored to power in 1512 with the help of the papacy—eventually broke the movement.
Protestants consider Savonarola to be a vital precursor of the Reformation
"The Agony and the Ecstasy," Irving Stone’s biographical novel, continues to enthrall us.
We love watching Michelangelo, age 13, win his first apprenticeship, three years with the famous Domenico Ghirlandaio. Under his guidance, Michelangelo learns to make drawings for frescoes, including the use of pens, black chalk, silver point, and white chalk.
Love watching as Michelangelo breaks free of that studio to work in a school for sculptors that Lorenzo de Medici sets up.
We empathize as the young artist waits his first commission.
Stone takes us through the creative process, illustrating how Michelangelo searches for and chooses the marble, makes hundreds of drawings based on scores of models that he either surreptitiously or by arrangement studies, and meticulously, step by stop-and-go step, extracts the sculpture from that block of marble.
Meanwhile, we get to know Michelangelo’s family, love interests, and total dedication to his art.
We are involved in the politics of Florence, Savonarola against the Medicis, and, later, the politics of Rome, getting to know the players first-hand, as Michelangelo knew them.
The book is 776 pages long, but slipping past me too quickly.
The good thing is that we can read about Michelangelo without getting covered in marble chips and dust.
See you soon, my friends.