Date: Saturday, January 15, 2000 7:13 PM
Dear Gabe, just back from 2 days in Atlanta where I saw the Rockwell exhibit this morning, and no mail from you in three weeks. As with Andrew Wyeth, and Robert Frost, the establishment critics are wrong again. In color, composition, lighting, and the human experience, the man was a genius. What Mozart is to music, Rockwell is to art. Regarding your reply above, frankly, I am surpised at your hostility. It's well-known that overexposure to the Internet causes mental fatigue, burn-out, and even divorce. CNN had a segment this week about some young people who were forced to seek psychiatric counseling because of it.
With as much time as you spend on the 'Net, and with your reluctance to get away for a some R&R, you should talk to a specialist about it fast. Richard
It's all perspective Richard. Your characterization of my dismay with a long string of disappointing collaborative effortsthe swill being a primary failure after a year's run, has all but now been disbanded, thank God and you Richard Waller, the kindly gent who helped me finish it off as a waste of timeas hostile, is in itself nothing less than hostile to my own prerogatives of trying to get at the core of things rather than basking in an aura of self-satisfaction amidst the safety nets of cultural iconography, but then you will probably never see it that way, good intentions and all. By the way, contrary to your conclusions, I don't spend a lot of time ON the Internet, and although I admit I DO spend too much time in front of my computer screen and less time in the lively company of the world of crucial matter, I spend most of my time writing and composing pages, taking snapshots, and imagining myself as someone who really cares about people despite my impotency to impact a world too busy garnishing ego to stop this wholesale assault on itself and as a fellow writer and someone whom one might think would sympathize with the plight of a lonely unrecognized writer, your advice to me is nothing less than mocking, although who would believe it to be intentional since you are indeed such a delightful fellow, and incapable of peering down one's nose.
Rockwell has always been a favorite of mine, and I am guilty of no small pinch of envy that you can find your happiness among these "friendly" pleasures, but why do you persist in criticizing my own stab at happiness which is generally derived in seeking out and trying to map the motivations of minds great and small in a lifelong attempt to bring order to the chaos of my own mind which has been taught riot by the cacophony of competing shards of literature, art, politics, religion, myth, and mirth for so long that it hurts to feel anything anymore because the voice of opposition is always just around the corner? My attempt at a universalism has failed, even though I never dared relinquish my own staunch individualism so as some might observe to include the fatal flaw inside the experiment itself, but now to score a language which reflects that long haunting failure will be the task of my next one thousand pages.
Most people just turn the noise off, shutting down a part of themselves that threatens to overwhelm them with truth or nonsense however empirically secured...
I can't, but talking to a specialist is no answer. I thought I was talking to one with you. Still I consider you my friend, so I raise my cup to thee, despite your ode to sobriety!
How's that health you recently spoke of?
Gabe, I am misunderstood! I was not trying to mock you, only trying to help. I know how I feel after an hour and a half on the 'net. I can't imagine working on it all day. I'd be as mixed up as if I had been listening to 10 hours of rap. I think your well-written reply above is worth reading again and again. I have not meant to criticise your "stab at happiness" philosophy. I have already said that YOU inspired me to read the history of philosophy as opposed to studying the works of each individual philospher. I can't do that. I'd be reeling from the abstruseness, but if you can do it, more power!
And I do not TOTALLY disdain the works of ancient peoples. Who doesn't like Epictetus and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius? I also assume you mean the Bible. Ecclesiastes is beautiful, but Thomas Jefferson, God, and I disapprove of the Revelation as coded nonsense. That sentence is a joke. We should lighten up. Great letter you wrote. Regards to Sue. I must stop now and coax sweet sounds from my violin. It has a mellow tone. Did I tell you it was made century before last? It was, by August Gemunder & Sons, New York, 1899. Richard