Mental Landscape

During the early part of my art education I was in a water color class at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where I was introduced to the world of fine paper.  Back then, in the mid-1960s, a large sheet of Arches or Fabriano paper one might indulge in for a serious work, were $1.00 per sheet.   I have recently seen the prices on the Internet and they are considerably more expensive now.  The slightest wrong mark with a light pencil could ruin the paper.  I have great respect for a fine water color painter because I comprehend the skill and care required to produce a lovely water color.

Like that beautiful and precious paper, the human mind is a landscape we can fill with many useful and fantastic bits of information, but it can be damaged by harmful information as well. 

About a year ago I went to see a movie about Edgar Allen Poe and was surprised when I looked at the ticket to see that the film, Raven, had a Restricted code on it.   Within minutes of the movie starting I realized that it was Restricted because of the gruesome nature of the crimes graphically depicted.  My solution was to close my eyes at the onset of the worst scenes.  The acting was excellent and I wanted to learn more about an old favorite poet, but this was difficult.

This past week I was at the movies again, this time to see Daniel Radcliffe as the young Allen Ginsberg.  At this point in my life I really do not wish to get caught up in the business of who sleeps with whom, and I have no vicarious appetites to watch sexual activities – no matter which combination of genders lusts for which.  Since the story was about a murder as much as it was about the college age poet and his peers at Columbia University in the early 1940s, the sequence of events unfolds an assortment of homosexual relationships.  Again I resort to simply closing my eyes during the more explicit scenes. 

The problem with uninvited and illicit pictures that flash before us from multitudes of sources in our society, is that they are fodder for trespassing across the mental landscape to upset the otherwise lovely view – like a pencil mark that cannot be erased or blotted out or covered up on a fine piece of water color paper.  

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