“Art has many mansions,” according to revered art critic Peter Schjeldahl. I turn to his articles first. I’m old school, still love magazines and will indulge in a copy of the New Yorker when I can afford one.
“Today the most compelling tend to the tumbledown.” I ponder “tumbledown,” how it applies. Are we to the point of aching for the past so badly we favour anything vintage or gaudy? I suspect nostalgia.
Interrupted by a ding. I forgot to turn off Notifications-a comment from a frenemy taking umbrage with a Robert Kroetsch quote I posted: “In a sense we haven’t got an identity until somebody tells our story. The fiction makes us real.”
DF: “So, Harry Potter is real? Lots of books about him. How about Spiderman?”
“Yo DF, ask a 10-year-old. Both are excruciatingly real to that crowd.”
“No doubt Kroetch meant “real” figuratively.”
DF responds with, “Bullshit.”
Apparently it’s vital to explain my folly, prove his point. Troll. I don’t respond with “troll. “I may curse like a laid-off oil rig worker but refrain from discord however thought provoking, preferring to employ the Block option. I can live without winning, will happily collect triumph elsewhere. I return to Schjeldahl’s The Medici at the Met to marvel.
According to Wikipedia the guy is a poet as well. The highest form of literature. Explains his facility with language. I highlight resonant phrases: “…virtuosic artifice.” Yes, feigning demands feigning well, going for the gusto. “…ornamenting a milieu of preening style
and often freewheeling Eros.” “Helldogs.” “Vulgate.” “…accidently burlesque ways.” I would like to employ “burlesque” thusly but these days people associate the term with strippers instead of its true meaning, parody.
Sexism. DF’s problem I suspect. I dared to eschew “…the golden circle of his regard.” Expectations; everybody’s got ‘em and I’ll never meet his.
Sadly, Peter Schjeldahl October 21, 2022 and I am only now posting this tribute. I’m grateful for how he enriched my linguistic repertoire, awed and inspired with his wit, insights, nuanced semantics of expression, and made me laugh.
Rest in peace Poet.