July 7th, 2010
Ellen Bryson is the author of The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno, a novel about being different, being human, and finding redemption. She holds a BA in English from Columbia University and an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins in Washington DC.
Ellen Bryson began as a professional modern dancer, working in Cleveland Ohio and Boston Massachusetts during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, then shifted her focus to the philanthropic field where she worked for over a decade in both private and community foundations, culminating in national work for the Council on Foundations in Washington DC. A world traveler, she has lived in the middle eastern country of Bahrain and in Argentina South America, where being an outsider both in language and culture, helped inform the message of this, her first novel. She currently lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and is considering a move to France.
We talked about:
The world's thinnest man, Bartholomew Fortuno ● Working back from the ending ● The dream that prompted the book ● The perception of beauty ● Freedom or captivity ● Maternal impression ● Iell Adams, the mysterious bearded woman ● P.T. Barnum's Fiji Mermaid ● The symbolic birds ● What art does for us ● The will to change ● The comic layer of a strange, dark world ● The author's future plans
Enjoy the show! (The interview is about 28 minutes.)
Listen at your convenience!
Click through to buy The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno right from this site in the Amazon sidebar widget to the left.
Ellen Bryson's website.
December 4th, 2009
“Death costs a fortune, but life is free,” writes Living Hero Terry Riley, in a lyric for his composition Missy Gono. Riley is a true original, recognized worldwide for first bringing minimalist musical composition into circulation in 1964 with his now classic In C and thereby influencing a new generation of avant garde composers and acid rock bands. Dedicated to a life of deep listening, composition, and inspired performance, Terry joins us to share his insights into art, a healing spirit and life.
We talked about:
The inner experience of originality ● Terry’s Time Lag Accumulator ● Dipping into a sound current ● Music and altered states ● Creativity, discipline, spirit and nature ● Psychedelics and spiritual practice ● Our world and our path to healing ● Urban sound and sensitivity ● Raising kids in a creative household ● Terry's ongoing relationship with his works ● His creative influences ● Imagination as an aspect of intelligence ● Music as philosophy and a model of the world ● The story of Missy Gono ● 6500 pipes in the wee hours at Disney Hall
Enjoy the show! (The interview is about 40 minutes.)
Listen at your convenience!
Click through to buy some of Terry's CDs on Amazon right from this site in the sidebar to the left.
Visit Terry's website at terryriley.net
April 7th, 2008
I am writing to you from The Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, a lovely northern suburb of Chicago. Ragdale is an artist residency program that grants support to working artists by providing work/live space and meals (the chef is great here!) so they can concentrate on creating new work.
Immersing myself again in the making of visual art has been healing, surprising, and nourishing. I’m here for a month with other visual artists, fiction writers, and poets. Many of those here since I got here on March 27th will be leaving on Wednesday, opening the space for another group of ten whom I’ll meet, since I will stay on until April 23rd. I’ve met Anne LeClaire, Debra Darvick, Lucy Ferriss, Larry Thomas, Johnny Horton, Anita Garza, Katie Rodrigues, Rone Shivers, Lori Kagan and Amy Walsh. . . I am honored to be in this fine company.
Places like Ragdale acknowledge the need for free time and space to simply BE, to allow oneself to enter a passive-receptive state, a state of quiet engagement and inquiry, which provides the prime conditions for insight, intuitive leaps, and breakthroughs in composition.
You know, all artists are composers: it’s all about composition.
The artist combines and arranges elements to produce a harmonious whole through non-analytical means; a piece of work that has a formal coherence is born of synthesis (as opposed to analysis), which includes both conscious and unconscious layers of experience and that reconciles, in a fresh and new way, the multivalent human experience. This happens through the artist's own visceral and emotional powers of deduction, which are cultivated with practice, enabling something ordered and fixed to be born from the most general, encompassing and ineffable aspects of existence.
Whereas philosophers and scientists seek to encapsulate themes of the human universe and experience through mathematical equations and contextual theories; artists do so through their compositions. In any case, the construct is meant to stand in, reductively, for that which is overwhelming and mysterious, yet ever-present.
Composition provides a resting place for the viewer or listener, a place of contemplation, recollection, absorption. It can do so because it represents and displays a synthesis of the artist’s own many hours of reflection, self-confrontation, and composure.
Works of art thereby become highly fertile common ground for fresh perspectives and cultural progress, not as objects in and of themselves, but as catalysts for insight and understanding: the artwork is where the strange seeds of consciousness, of both artist and audience, meet and take root. This is perhaps why dictators and tyrants seek to either squelch or use the artists.
But in the complicit tyranny of our society, people have allowed themselves to become so busy and distracted that so much of art goes unperceived and thereby rendered impotent and inconsequential. Because even the greatest music, art, books, and dances are nothing if no one is sensitively and receptively listening, watching, reading, and engaging with them. Artist and audience are of equal importance to the enterprise of realizing art. It is vital to take the time to compose yourself and reflect on what is real, true, and beautiful in life; it’s crucial to civilization and human care.
©Jari Chevalier, 2008