Need Some Inspiration?

Ah, yes. Sometimes it helps to remember those who went before us, trailing clouds of glory behind, or maybe just a wisp of inspiration for we who follow. I am glad I shared my time on earth with some of the greats in literature, art, music, and all the other arts. This gallery is dedicated to those people as well as those who I missed. Today I would like to spotlight some of the images in my little online shop in case you would like to own some inspiration for your walls.

I begin with Raymond Carver. When I had a TV show in Santa Clara many years ago, I asked Ray to be my initial interview/guest. He agreed. Because I was an unknown commodity working outside of a major metropolis, perhaps nobody saw or remembered the occasion and the tape was recycled as usual. I cannot forget it and cannot help wondering what the tape would be like today, priceless conversation with a now-famous writer when he was only beginning to be known. He had recently returned from his journey with his family to Israel and was living in the student housing at San Jose State where I was in a graduate class with his wife, Mary Ann Carver. I remember the class was with Dr. Hans Guth, 18th Century English Literature and we were reading Clarissa, and long odes to Isaac Newton, deists, scientists. Ah the age where machines were the promise of our future. Now I am far away from youth and student days and Ray is gone but very famous after all. I was at a lovely house in the hills in Las Trancas Woods celebrating with others who have become celebrity authors since, a party for the publication of Winter Insomnia, Carver’s slim first poetry collection published by Kayak Press in Santa Cruz.  It is time for me to place this personal copy in the hands of someone younger who can treasure it as I have. It is signed twice, once to everyone, and once, “To Joan” who is the baby in his short story “Popular Mechanics.” ( Yes. I told him that anecdote about my own parents never thinking it was a subject for literature. ) If you are interested in this precious artifact, email me: joanjohnson4@msn.com for information.Cover of Winter Insomnia. by Raymond. (Poems), Illustrated by McChesney, Robert. (Prints) CarverYou can read more about the specifics and see the autographs on these pages.

How about this? Did you live when Robert Louis Stevenson was hot stuff for high school students? I remember reading Treasure Island and The Black Arrow and loving every adventure story of this frail Scotsman who was nevertheless an adventurer himself. Of course, when I teach children’s Literature I never forget the Child’s Garden of Verses! I have kept this image over my desk for a while, would you treasure it as I have? Let me know. There is more information about this special piece in the gallery. Look it up. All the images on these pages are framed with museum archival papers and mattes and professionally framed by Grey Goose in Los Feliz, LA.

Robert Louis Stevenson

1909 Henry Wolf Born: Eckwersheim, Alsace 1852 Died: New York, New York 1916 wood engraving on paper image: 7 7/8 x 5 7/8 in. (19.9 x 14.8 cm) Signed by the artist in pencil lower left. (There is a copy of this in the Smithsonian.)

AND what about the grand lady herself? Virginia Woolf

This is a large poster-sized image, beautifully rendered by the National Portrait Gallery in London. You may want to inquire about the price? If you have a room of your own, or if you are working towards getting one, this portrait will inspire you every day to keep on keeping on.

File:VirginiaWoolf.jpg

Adeline Virginia Stephen
(1882-01-25)25 January 1882
Kensington, London, England, UK
Died 28 March 1941(1941-03-28) (aged 59)
River Ouse, near Lewes, East Sussex, England
Occupation Novelist, essayist, publisher, critic
Nationality British

And, one last image for you to consider, especially if you tend to be in a romantic state, or maybe know someone who would like a piece of art along with that box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. (read about the work in these pages.)

“When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm in the grass,
And the meteor on the grave,
And the wisp on the morass;
When the falling stars are shooting,
And the answer’d owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the hill,
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.”                                 ( Now, tell me if this isn’t astounding beauty! and tuck this into that bouquet of flowers! )

Even if you are not in the mood to research one of the great love poets of all time, perhaps you will take my word for it and share this with someone you love. Byron lived during the English Regency Period. He was a heroic type, a true adventurer in the world and in love. I heard he once rode his horse into the palazzo in Venice where he was living, clip clopping on the marble floors….Ah Love, What a day that must have been!

“She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.”     (Read the complete poem online when you can.)

And if you can, listen to Joan Baez, another great artist/writer I interviewed twice, and who sang in my car to the radio when I drove her home where we sat in her kitchen and she made tea and talked about the old days with Phil Ochs and Dylan and so much more….Those were the rare days of the past. Joan recorded Byron’s words. Listen and enjoy!

So we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.”

Enjoy this season. It will soon be Valentine’s Day!   Me ah love.Art is where you make it!

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