April 28, 2014

Beautiful Fools
R. Clifton Spargo

The Two Hotel Francforts
David Leavitt

Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

What is Art? – Years ago, I threw in the towel on finishing the reading of a book just for the sake of finishing. Too many books. Too little time. Along the way, I learned that abandoning a book doesn’t mean the author has failed or the book is poorly written; in fact, setting aside a book might say more about me as a reader – in general, but, specifically, too, at this time, with this particular story – than it does about the writer or the work. The act of reading stories is a two-way street and it’s on this street, once an introduction is made and a warm rapport is established, that art sometimes flourishes. In other words, I believe art is an act, not an object. Art is not the written word or the song performed or the painting on a canvas. Art is the exchange, the human experience created when one person connects emotionally, physically and intellectually with an artist’s creation. So the fact that I am setting aside Spargo and Leavitt’s novels doesn’t disturb me and should not be seen as a judgment about their novels. Sometimes it takes a while for an artistic connection to ignite, let alone to be forged. It wasn’t until I read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” for the fourth time, over a number of passing years, that the story and I clicked, and I was finally able to hear so much of what Conrad had been saying all of this time. (After all, Conrad’s words hadn’t changed; but, over the passing decades, I had.) So perhaps I will once again meet “Beautiful Fools” and “The Two Hotel Francforts” on the street named Art – and, perhaps then, we will become friends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Art is an exchange." Well said, Michael Burke.

April 28, 2014  

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