My friend Lora recently shared a link to Fabulous Fashionistas, a film about six inspiring women with an average age of 80. I watched it last weekend, and was very moved. The women in the film are creating new, positive paradigms about aging. Their style and sass and optimism are infectious. From the interviews, it seems that an enthusiastic attitude and exercise are two of the key components to a vibrant life after 70. These women also all have creative outlets, including expressing themselves with fashion. I suspect I’ll watch this film again as I get older, to remind myself what’s possible.
“Over decades, she had reclaimed what she had forfeited of her own mind, if any. She took pains to keep outside of the world’s acceleration. An Athens marketplace amazed Diogene with “How many things there are in the world of which Diogenes hath no need!” Lou had long since cut out fashion and all radio but the Red Sox. In the past few years she had let go her ties to people she did not like, to ironing, to dining out in town, and to buying things not necessary and that themselves needed care. She ignored whatever did not interest her. With those blows she opened her days like a piñata. A hundred freedoms fell on her. She hitched free years to her lifespan like a kite tail. Everyone envied her the time she had, not noticing that they had equal time. ” – Annie Dillard, from The Maytrees
I recently finished The Maytrees, which is exquisitely written.
This passage above really struck me as it paints a picture of a way to be in the world that I admire. Lou’s approach to life seems so liberating. I am in a phase where I am craving more simplicity. Of course, I can’t imagine totally giving up dining out, but there are many things I can give up, and will. In doing so, I hope to make room for more nature and art and music and wonder.
My friends are my biggest inspirations. I am currently extra impressed by the artist efforts of Phil Cheney. Phil recently went to Connecticut and did two giant paintings. The biggest, The Earliest Days of the Miracle Wave, is 10′ x 17′. He also collaborated with musicians Meredith DiMenna and Emil Nomel on a recording of an original song. This weekend The Earliest Days of the Miracle Wave will be on display on the outside of the Nest Arts Factory. Here’s the trailer for that event – the final, longer video and full song to be revealed soon:
Phil is truly manifesting grand things. Phil’s wonderfully written posts about his adventures, and pictures of his art, can be found at dynamicartgallerie.com.
I found out about Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Hate) Story in Maps from my friend Alabama Chanin’s blog. It’s so inspiring!
New Yorker Becky Cooper walked around NYC handing out a thousand blank maps of Manhattan, addressed to a P.O. Box. She then created a beautiful book from the submissions.
I love the whole vision of this project, capturing stories and memories and in relation to the places that hold them.
Cooper continues to collect and post maps on her tumblr.
On that site she writes: “Maps are more about their makers than the places they describe. Map who you are. Map where you are. Fill the map with a story or paint your favorite cup of coffee. Map the invisible. Map the obvious. Map your memories.”
Sounds like an art project to undertake.
Map by Louis Phillips.
Here’s a scan of a collage I made for a friend’s birthday.
The Equinox is past, and the air is whispering autumn.
Fall in the mountains is a vivid joy, and I am impatient for the leaves to turn.
As I watch the subtle changes around me, I am reminded of this painting by Judith Cheney, the mother of my oldest friend Phil Cheney (who is also an artist). It adds to my anticipation of WNC in October. I love the happy perspective and color palette. For me, Judy’s paintings inspire a spirited outlook on the world. I am lucky to have a few of them in my house!
Right now my life is in transition. I suppose our lives our always in transition, but right now, as I seek to create a new career for myself, mine feels especially so.
That said, I may have started this blog prematurely, as I am not quite sure what it’s about. But after some thought I’ve decided that, for the time being, it will be about art and music and things that bring me joy. Things that I hope will bring you joy, too.
My friend Angi West is one of my favorite people who also happens to be one of my favorite musicians. Her songs grab my heart. Every time I have seen her play live I have been brought to tears, in a good way.
I recently had the pleasure of performing a gospel song with her at her show on August 31 at the Emerald Lounge in Asheville. What an honor. It was, as always, a wonderful show. I was able to take some videos that night (here’s playlist).
As I considered which video from that show to include in this post, I was particularly taken by one of her new songs, “God Pizza.” It speaks to where I am right now, as my being morphs into something new. Just today I discovered a video of “God Pizza” from when Angi played at Harvest Records last December. I decided to include it instead of the video I took because it was the first time I heard her perform it (you can see me at the very end, clapping). And I love the intimacy of it.
photo of angi west at the emerald lounge by me