In The Mind Of Hemingway

ernesthemingwayIn The Mind Of Hemingway by Philip Scott Wikel

I think I’ll go out like Hemingway
no point in being 80
decrepit and dependent
unbalanced life and weighty

I think I’ll go out like Hemingway
before the age decays
me into something that’s nothing
and everything a haze

I think I’ll go out like Hemingway
clean and fast and true
no IV’s or life support
no succumbing to the zoo

I think I’ll go out like Hemingway
a flash and crack of light
involutionary psychosis
be damned to do what’s right

Second Bill of Rights

fdr_no_fearThe Second Bill of Rights was a list of rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944.[1] In his address Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second “bill of rights“. Roosevelt’s argument was that the “political rights” guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” Roosevelt’s remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights” which would guarantee:

“Scott Aichner, roll film” all-time greatest blog post

I’m curious as to why the Scott Aichner interview, ever since it’s posting, has been the overall most visited post on my blog. While Scott is a great guy, my article about him is, in my estimation, only so-so. Why, with so many other postings (nearly 100 of them), have people read that article every day of the week for the past few months or so?

Thanks for stopping by.

See ya next time,

Philip

In Search of Beauty

muralha1

In Chapter 15 of Ticket to Ride, Morgan finds himself in the town of Lagos, Portugal; frustrated in his search for beauty and truth:

“Once, I wandered around the entire diameter of the town trying to picture it when all that existed was the part of it contained within the old walls; very insular and very much counter to modern sprawl. The new architecture outside of the center was some bastardized, watered down, low-budget version of true workmanship.”

“You just shouldn’t f___ with perfection,” I said to a couple of tourists, snapping away with their camera, she, in a flowery summer dress and a floppy hat and he, in loose trousers, a sport shirt and loafers.

They looked startled, as if I’d woken them up.

“What d’ya mean then?” the guy replied, with an English accent.

“Within the walls there was a plan. Outside it’s just sprawl… f___ing sprawl… should’ve just left it alone.”

The guy furrowed his brow, “Been to Mulligan’s Pub then?,” changing the subject.

“I know, accentuate the positive… when life hands you lemons…“

“Make lemonade,” the girl finished, sneaking a smile, “have you been to Mulligan’s?”

“… pucker and frown first, it makes your sugar-driven smile so much the sweeter…” I said to the girl.

“But about Mulligan’s,” said the guy, getting impatient.

“… and when you laugh,” I said, looking now at the guy, “try not to feel like a jackass or a mindless hyena.”

“Look mate, I just asked about Mulligan’s.”

“Place is like flypaper.”

“Right then, cheers.”

“See ya ‘round.” I said smiling.

They walked away, looked at each other incredulously, exchanged a few words, looked back at me, and quickened their pace.

I turned away and walked along the main street which lead out of town and into the orange groves. There were workmen there, tapping stones into the dirt, one by one, making a sidewalk in the old manner. The sun was hot on their backs and the care they took in placing each stone seemed to me to be somehow honorable and charming but very tedious and tiring at the same time. They were dressed in heavy canvas work clothes and were sweating heavily. The whole thing led to what would be some big resort. If the charm of the town wasn’t dead already, it would be soon. These guys would never stay there. Lucky if they could afford a drink there. [end of excerpt]

Explanation

Something of an antiquarian, Morgan sees very little in the modern world that appeals to his aesthetic sensibility. It was in this vein that I wrote the following short piece for a local newspaper a while back. And it is because I share this sentiment with Morgan that I enjoy visiting the nearby city of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has managed to fuse the old with the new in a manner that celebrates the old while gently incorporating the new. It has a center at State Street, and from there, continues in all directions like reflective ripples from a fountain.

A Retreat from the Desolation of Urban America

by philip scott wikel

In days of old, architecture was considered one of the fine arts. One’s home, one’s church and even one’s place of employ could be looked at with a sense of pride and appreciation of the human ability to create beauty out of lumber, stone, concrete or brick. One’s eyes would first be drawn to the foundation and then up along its facade, then still higher to it’s roof line. People would stand in awe and reverence because buildings could be seen as the tangible equivalent of poetry. And then came the utlitarianism of the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. And now, when one drives down a street like Thompson Boulevard in mid-town Ventura, the stark, square, stuccoed ugliness repels the eye and the soul and one is inclined to push harder on the gas pedal in a retreat from the desolation of urban America.

Note: I wrote this about 7 or 8 years ago and have since seen, what I feel, is something of  a general improvement in community architectural projects. Even so, I believe there’s still a great deal of room for the improvement of our public places. Much like us, our towns and cities need a center. And out from there a homogenous whole. Homogeneity often creates harmony, and we could use a little harmony now and then.

los-lugares-abandonados-mas-bellos-del-mundo-7A Final note:

While I loved Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and the celebration of the independent spirit embodied in her protagonist Howard Roark, it might be time to try to get back to a collective vision of beauty. That, of course, is only possible if we haven’t already strayed so far from traditional beauty as to be able to agree on what form it may take. Nature and Natural Forms might be a good start. Nature doesn’t try to be beautiful, it just is. We could use something we can all agree upon nowadays.

What do you think? I’d love to hear it.

Roll Film, Surf Photographer Scott Aichner

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
– Isaac Newton, letter to Robert Hooke, 1676

The following articles are about the people who inspired me to press on when I found the world ill-defined. While I idolized Hemingway and Kerouac, J.D. Salinger and Keri Hulme, Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost, the people in my Standing on the Shoulders of Giants series were, and are, the tangible, and the most immediate, examples I have of people living lives immersed in, and in pursuit of, their respective passions. I feel very fortunate, and am thankful for, the circumstances which caused our lives to intersect. It is from their shoulders that I could see what might be instead of just what was.

Kerby Brown NorthWest OZ

Local Hero
by philip scott wikel

(originally published in the VC Reporter)

He’s now one of the most sought after surf photographers in the world, but first things first…

When I first met Scott Aichner he was an awkward bodyboard rat just out of high school. We lived next door to each other in a duplex on Bath Lane in the Pierpont section of Ventura. My girlfriend and I would have him over for cups of tea on a regular basis and we’d talk about the ocean and surfing and other things. Scott had a girlfriend named Sandy from East Ventura and, with all that was going on his life at the time, he was trying to figure how to fit it all together.

That winter in 1990 Scott had some time off from his job as a bellman at the Ojai Valley Inn and I was on break from Ventura College. We decided to head down to Mexico to shop for Christmas presents for our friends and family. It was on that trip that I learned that this awkward kid was really a deeply spiritual character. I assumed the role of big brother as we talked of relationships and the logistics of balancing the professional with the personal and the prospect of living together with a woman you care for. I gave him what I could, which at the age of twenty-three, wasn’t a whole lot.

Continue reading “Roll Film, Surf Photographer Scott Aichner”