Archive for November, 2010

could have, should have

Mom & Siblings, Grammy’s Funeral © Jim Korpi

Should I be living my life this way?
We have lost ourselves in the coulds and shoulds.
Asking distracts from what is, and we become irritable with the present.
This moment is a culmination of what has happened at the intersection of what will.
Should I be an artist?
Art, in its purity, is not something one should or should not do. It is creation coming from everything that is presently you. Everything else is immitation or failed attempts.

cooperative amnesia

Season © Jim Korpi

All Knowing Change,
Your knowing hopes to escape the humbling of ignorance. At your grasp are all the unanswered and unanswerable answered. You will soon prove me wrong in my acceptance of the accepted and complacency to change.
You ask me to change as if the history of humanity is insufficient. Thousands of years you deem irrelevant.
Do you ask the birds to change? If indeed a bird is wooed by your whims and convinced to forfeit flight will its wings grow stiff and unsuited for the winds?
These whims of modernity blow in and out of my conscience startling my calm as a loose screen door in a fall breeze. Its unpredictable slam is jarring.
Your dogma of change assumes virtue in the fashionable. An unquestioning flock is shepherded by its own collective unquestioning movement. A shared memory becomes a cooperative amnesia.

Takes a Village

Main Street © Jim Korpi

“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made:
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroy’d, can never be supplied.”

Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village

We Americans

The Frontier © Jim Korpi

“That coarseness and strength combine with acuteness and inquisitiveness, that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients, that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends, that restless, nervous energy, that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom, –these are traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the existence of the frontier. Since the days when the fleet of Columbus sailed into the waters of the New World, America has been another name for opportunity, and the people of the United States have taken their tone from the incessant expansion which has not only been open but has even been forced upon them. He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased. Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American intellect will continually demand a wider field for its exercise. But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves. For a moment at the frontier the bonds of custom are broken, and unrestraint in triumphant: There is not tabula rasa. The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraint and its ideas, and indifference to its lesson, have accompanied the frontier. What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bond of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, that, and more, the ever retreating frontier has been to the United States directly, and to the nations of Europe more remotely. And now, four centuries from the discovery of America, at the end of a hundred years of life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period of American History.”
Frederick Jackson Turner The Significance of the Frontier in American History 1893