It’s raining outside my window, not too hard, but a definite get-wet-if-you-stepped-outside sort of rain, going pitter-pat on everything, and it sounds wonderful.
It’s 8:54 p.m. The sun is trying to break through in the west, real golden-hour light, even though the rain isn’t abating at all. It’s almost, but not quite, Hollywood rain, the kind created by an industrial sprinkler on a bright Los Angeles day. I can hear a cardinal singing somewhere. If I weren’t sitting here, I’d go outside to look for a rainbow, but I’m enjoying the sound and the light filling the room too much to move.
The rain is harder now. Not a breath of a breeze; it’s falling straight down. Very very nice.
I know I’ve been bitching a lot lately, but today I am happy to be a work-at-home freelancer (even thought I have to go to work in, um, two minutes). But I’m working in a chaise in my own bedroom, on my laptop, enjoying the rain and the light and the cardinal. I just left Alan sitting over the remains of dinner — grilled salmon with cucumber-dill sauce, mixed green salad with herbs from the garden, Swiss potatoes — and he informed me he intended to listen to the rain for a while, too.
I don’t know why, but just sitting there enjoying the moment reminded me of something I heard on NPR — you know, that elitist radio network — a few days ago. Margot Adler’s story is headlined “Perfecting the Art of Frugal Living in NYC,” but it really should be called Perfecting the Art of Living, period. It was about a study of New York’s most endangered species — its starving artists, the people who in large part give the city its character and flavor, but who are also the ones least able to live in its staggeringly expensive apartments.
Wary of using too much in fair use, I urge you to click over and read the story of Hank Virgona, visual artist, who typically makes less than $30,000 per year, but still has the world’s riches outside his front door:
Virgona says when people come to see his art he never asks them if they’d like to buy anything.
“I talk about art. I talk about my love for art,” he says. “I talk about how a walk down a quiet street — especially toward dusk — is as good as going to Caracas or Venezuela or anywhere. It is nourishing. That is part of art’s purpose.”
Joan Jeffri, who directed the study for the Research Center for Arts and Culture, says for these creative people being an artist transcends every other identity — race, education, gender.
“They don’t ever think of giving up being artists,” Jeffri says. “If they have arthritis, they change their art form. They don’t retire.”
Jeffri believes these artists have wisdom to impart about living and aging. In a sense, she says, they are role models.
And what are the first programs to be cut when schools have budget troubles? Anyone? Yes, the arts. This has been your moment of Zen.
Jeez, it’s a hot one today. Of course, the hottest part of any day is late afternoon, which is when the (outdoor) kickoff party for the film festival starts. On a rooftop. Oh, well — if this day goes like the last 60 or so, it’ll be raining by then.
Of interest to media types only, a WSJ piece on the widening rift — there’s a piece of journalese, ain’a? when was the last time you used “widening rift” in casual conversation — between member papers and the Associated Press.
In the right blogosphere, Roy finds growing anxiety over “what the inaugural ball will be like” if Obama wins. I’m hoping for a five- hour set by Parliament Funkadelic, with lots of “get up offa that thang!” from the stage.
Color me astounded: Madonna’s teeing up a divorce filing. She’s said to be getting the best legal talent to preserve her giant pile of money, wherein live the souls of the men whose essence she extracted, creative succubus that she is. I think her husband’s best strategy is to go limp: Walk into the first negotiation and say, “I don’t want a dime. I won’t take a nickel. I’m off to live in a garret while I try to regain the semblance of originality and creativity I once had before you entered my life. I’m getting some futons from Ikea for the kids to sleep on when they visit. You are a curse and I am fortunate to have escaped with my life. Have a nice one of your own, what’s left of it.” And then walk out. She’d be running after him stuffing a check for $100 million in his pocket.
Not that anyone asked me.
OK, you all — work to do. Play nice.