This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Monday, September 04, 2006


This photograph was taken by Alan Kropp, who I met through a dear friend who worries about my eating habits1 . Before I riff on this photo, though, can I begin with Alan? Because I think a man's art is a function of his soul, so I want to start with what I can grasp of this soul because maybe that will help me to write about his art.Alan is a straight-up guy who'll tell you exactly what he thinks. Which seems to imply that Alan is talkative, but he's not. Alan is quiet and incredibly poised and what little he says makes all kinds of sense. He wears his beard short and well-trimmed, and he has the high forehead of a man who faces his fears, head-on. Philosophical, introspective, and I think kind of kinky, Alan keeps his cards to himself until he's good and ready to play them. You can see this in his eyes, which are always slightly unfocused though trained right on you -- Alan is deep in thought because he's really listening. He has a wide, round-toothed smile, so it's easy to imagine Alan as a five-year-old boy who liked to scribble in coloring books. Back in preschool, he was the kind of kid you didn't mind bumping into while playing musical chairs.

And now I turn to Alan's photo of a lone chair which was placed on some concrete access landings. The shade in this piece is dry and late-summery and bright, meaning there's probably a lake behind us, reflecting cold sunlight.

Now granted, an empty chair placed front of a wall is a lonesome image. Notice, though, the design of this chair -- it was ripped off from the crowded and social halls of academia. Probably by some B+ stoner who left it just as he set it down to gaze at the Big Dipper while eating a Hostess Fruit Pie. And the next morning some guy on the crew team discovered it and found the chair's west-facing position inviting. And since he was still young enough to believe that memories of rowing on lakes don't matter, he didn't rotate the chair to watch his team in their skiff but devoted his attention to a teammate or friend who sat cross-legged on the concrete and actually digs the poem they're reading for English 304 (something by George Gordon Byron).

But enough about the person who once sat in this chair. The point, here, is that everyone's absent and here at the height of the day they're either in class or skipping (e.g. in bed, alone or with someone else). We're viewing a moment between conversations rather than the conversation itself. Now that it's quiet, we reflect on what has just come to pass, and we speculate, and the picture is a story we want to tell.

Our point of view is that of the lake, lapping at the concrete. Does water aspire to make friends with boys? And now, alone with this empty chair, does it try to rise? I see longing, from a distance, and the desire to attain something that can't be attained. This photograph favors the chair, which, judging by its position, is a little indifferent. But that doesn't stop us from wanting it.

I'll bet some of you, if you happened upon this scene, would lie in the sun on one of those landings, leaving the wet print of your body. But most of you, if left to your own devices, would opt for the chair.


1as all good friends seem to do, but ginab & Matty, you really don't need to worry; In case you haven't noticed, I am a hungry person.


Blogger MilkMaid said...

I AM a lizard, I'd be sprawled all over that warm concrete, sucking in the warmth.

5:07 PM

Blogger Niel said...

B+ Stoner? Well, that may not peg the entire breed but I know exactly what you mean.

"It's out there. You know? All of it."

5:27 PM

Blogger matty said...

I love what you wrote! I really do. And, I love the title you choose! ....and, I quite enjoyed that family with the guitar, keyboards, drum kit and slide show! Shoulda got one of their pot holders but I don't know what those things are for.

...oh, and I think you captured Alan very well. He rules. I love him.

12:06 AM

Blogger purplesimon said...

fbblm. My word verification and the sound of me dropping onto that chair.

Actually, I'd probably just sit under it. I don't like being in the sun.

purplesimon out...

3:32 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Anything to post.

I'm about to puke or teach, not sure which. Men are insane. The bigger the ego the less sane.

But Alan sounds nostalgic.

1:52 PM

Blogger lryicsgrl said...

You are right, Ing, I would opt for the chair....I am a lizard too, but, there is something regal about that chair up there.

OT, over to your last post, I left another comment.
I am running at the mouth, it seems.

2:04 PM

Blogger ing said...


I would to, if that was sand and not concrete . . .



Yes, I was talking about a very particular kind of stoner. My first boyfriend was one of those. He did very well in astronomy & philosophy.



You are my approval battalion.

I hoped you'd like the slideshow players. . . You didn't see, but I was ALMOST hit by a car as I crossed Market. I screamed.

Nobody saw it.




You need one of those paper umbrellas -- a very distinctive sunny-day accessory.



Big egos and lack of sanity. It's true across the board, I think. Though men's egos are well-fertilized.



I wish I was regal, too, but I'm just plain worn out. "Regal" requires good posture, yeah?

6:09 PM

Blogger ticharu said...

I ask myself, what's a nice chair like you doing in a place like this?

6:39 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Ing, your posture is grand. Delicate, refined. I'm a little stormy, what with exercising the youngin's in word association and so forth. I went for a cool swim, but not without first getting drenched through to where thanks to my own forethought I had to change into my gym garb to teach. I'm one of those non-thinkers otherwise who leaves her window cracked. There's a previous story or at least an impression connected: I was a woman who thought the sun would continue to shine.


PS: well fertilized, hmmm.

6:54 PM

Blogger Bunyan, Paul Bunyan said...

I would faux paint wood grain over the entire scene.

9:03 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

I would take the chair home,to complete my dining room set.

7:29 AM


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