My general state of mind

James Thurber. "Destinations." The New Yorker, May 13, 1933.

I love this image, and I forgot how much. As a teenager, I stumbled upon the cartoons of James Thurber at the public library. McPherson didn’t have a very big library and I spent a lot of time there so I suppose it was inevitable.

This cartoon summed up my general state of mind at the time so succinctly that I took the time to enlarge it to poster size (with overhead projector and Sharpie — on a “snow day”, Halloween 1991 as I recall) and hung it prominently in my bedroom. It was taped and tacked to many and varied dorm room walls until I finally gave it to someone else who admired it (wish I could remember exactly who). Since then, the cartoon has more or less faded into the background of my consciousness until just a few moments ago.

I have chosen to post every day this year so as to generate a searchable list of experiences and inspirations that influence my art work — sort of an encyclopedia of my muses. In the sometimes frantic search for new posts the tiniest recollection gets jotted down for possible future use but I am especially pleased with this rediscovery.

How reassuring to observe that though many of my beliefs and tastes of those days half my lifetime ago have been rinsed away by education and experience, the basic core of what inspires me remains recognizable and seemingly immutable.

Why this is remains a mystery.

(revised 4/10/12)

5 responses to “My general state of mind

  1. Not sure I understand what you mean exactly (who says I need to), but I appreciate the power an image can have on a young mind. It happened to me with various images.

    • I says you need to. Hopefully the revision helps.

      Part of what I’m doing on this blog requires no audience but myself but that is still no excuse for lazy writing. Although there is a difference between lazy writing and wildly sleep deprived writing which was the case last night. Nonetheless, I truly appreciate the feedback. Knowing that such a trusted friend is out there and willing to comment is a huge help.

      I’d love to see some of the influential images of your young mind.

  2. I guess it was the last part, but I think I understand better what you mean now. I don’t think it was lazy (or sleepy) writing. I think it was my subjective interpretation that was getting in the way. I do think there’s something to say about individuals being formed to a large degree in their early years. Kind of scary as a parent.

  3. To solve one mystery…it is your old fellow admirer, Toby, who is in possession of said hand-made enlargement. It adorned my dorm room walls too, and apartments to follow. I still have it (considered on-loan) and would be happy to return it to its surrogate creator anytime.

    It was my momento mori of choice, and hung above my desk whenever I had it hung. I have been thinking about momento mori lately, and have thought about creating my own (maybe not made of dead people part, otherwise the gubmint might come after me). Have you ever thought of creating your own?

    • Ha! As I wrote this I was at first completely baffled as to who I gave this to. But as I considered it further I become nearly certain it was you. I decided to let the mystery be in hopes of drawing you out; then threw in the Wishing Fish clock post to tempt you further. I love it when a plan comes together.

      Toby that copy of “Destinations” has been in your possession far longer than it was in mine. It is completely and wholly your property.

      Ultimately, every artwork I make comes from the desire to celebrate life by acknowledging it’s temporality. But I’ve never quite considered to be in the tradition of momento mori. Thanks for this realization. We should really talk more.

      What a splendid exchange this has been. What splendid friends!

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