A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Monday, September 12, 2011



When I frequented the concerts of Art Bergmann.  I always made sure to show up early so that I could be up by the edge of the stage so I could watch Bergmann perform and play that guitar like nobody can play the guitar. There was another person who seldom missed those concerts. He was the man who was Bergmann’s drug dealer (in those days of the 80s Bergmann was a heavy user). I could see him play air guitar and he would purse up his lips to look cool. I always had the impulse of going up to him and slamming him with a punch. I could almost imagine Bergmann’s energy being sucked by this man who took and took but seemed to be unable to give anything back except to feed Bergmann’s addiction. His profits from his drug deals took him to many a vacation to Mexico and the sun.

Bergmann is much in my thoughts these days as I photographed him a couple of years ago when he came to town for a rare concert in which because of severe arthritis he was unable to play his magical guitar.

I had yet been hit by my own brand of arthritis, something called psoriatic arthritis which is making my hands painful as well as my elbows, wrists and arms. On some days I start the Malibu with my left hand as my right hand is so painful I am unable to turn the key in the ignition.

Fortunately I can still use a camera unlike Bergmann and his guitar or to the topic on hand Jane Rule and her hands with which she wrote fantastically luminous prose. In fact, as I have written here before I photographed her in 1991 when she announced she could no longer write because of her severe arthritis. That she lived on until 2007 seems to me some sort of hell on earth for a woman like Jane Rule.

While the tone of all this might sound grim I am going to key in a paragraph from her autobiography,
Taking My Life.

I almost feel guilty and embarrassed in doing so. Because, as they say in Spanish (saludando con el sombrero ajeno), I am greeting you with someone else’s hat. If any of you readers just happen to cruise Twitter or facebook you will find that a high percentage of social networkers produce very little, manufacture very little, and create little. They limit their postings to mostly reading, either hard copy, a film, an on line magazine or paper or a video on YouTube and they then tell you, “Check this out!” Those who might go to these links, urged by their social network friend, might then, without any effort on their part “like it”. When those companies that produce the content (at great expense and the use of specially trained talent) cease to exist what will we link to? Will we then make stuff?

Looking back at the young man with his air guitar, it seems to me that he did a pretty good job. He looked pretty good. He was graceful and there was passion and energy in his air guitaring. I wouldn't be surprised if he might just post a video of  him playing his ghostly guitar.

And here is that Jane Rule paragraph:

I remember remembering when I was born. My practical young mother said nobody could. But I did remember dreaming and dreaming and that first waking to the hard light. By the time she read me Mary Poppins, I realized that I, like most people, had forgotten not just my birth but apparently the language of birds, the ability to fly, to walk into the landscape of pictures and to be home among the stars. Just that one sensation remained – the painful brightness. It was not enough to make me into Mary Poppins, but my memory became for me the earliest self-discipline I had. I couldn’t, after I learned to write, keep a diary, just as I couldn’t later take notes in lectures. Writing anything down seemed a way of forgetting it. I wanted to memorize my life so that whatever experience taught I would not forget. The difficulty, of course, is that what may seem to be static interference could be instead the very melody of life, the dismissed clutter, the real furniture of the soul. The fear of such loss, even our starkest nightmares, are consolation, for they store and restore us things we have not chosen to recall.


When I thought how I would illustrate this posting I thought immediately of a photograph I took last year that I had filed as Gothic St. Ed’s. Every time I have gone to Austin and stayed on campus (I have done this three times recently) I have managed to find the time to walk alone around Old Main in the evening. The place seems to open my memory banks and stuff I did not know I had in me comes out to delight me or to scare me. After having read this Rule paragraph I must return and see if I, too, can discern that hard light that marked my birth.



     

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4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17