Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

At the end of our final conversation, I asked — hoping to give her some relief from talking about the project of performance and the burdens of age — what’s delighting her right now, what ideas or wishes or artworks are keeping her company mentally. Her voice changed. “Gosh. I’m quite — ” she stopped. “Tired.” The tone of her voice shifted so suddenly, twisted to the forlorn so dramatically, that I grew alarmed. But she was just having trouble conjuring an answer to the question. It had been a long day, and now it was 11 o’clock: She was tired. What was on her mind? Learning to surf. The journalism of Anne Applebaum. Growing things in her garden. A slim novel called “Assembly,” by Natasha Brown. She paused. “You know what I’d love to do, too? I’d love to go for a really, really long walk.”

“How long?”

“Not one of those where I’m going to buy a pack of cigarettes and never come back — ” and we were laughing again. “Not that kind of walk.”

The thing about a long walk is it’s an experience of process, of being in the corridor between the place you started and the place you will eventually be. “It’s like that moment of suspension in dance when you don’t know whether the dancer is taking off or about to land,” Blanchett said. She gestured with her body, as if she were going to take wing and hover. “That moment, that intake of breath before the words come out or the music comes out.” She smiled. “I want to be there. I want to be permanently there.”

— Jordan Kisner, The Elusive Power of Cate Blanchett (NY Times Magazine, October 11, 2022)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (…the senescence is almost undetectable)

I turn 60 today, and I feel vaguely embarrassed about it, like I’ve somehow let myself go, like I’ve been bingeing on decades and wound up in this unappealing condition. Chances are, most of you haven’t crossed this border station yet, so you’d better listen up. Because if you play your cards right, it’s going to happen to you too.

Here’s what it feels like to turn 60: weird. On the one hand, you’re still going to the gym and to dinner parties. Sixty-year-olds still perform surgery on people who could choose other doctors. There’s no dithering yet—the senescence is almost undetectable.

But on the other hand, you have been on this Earth for a really, really long time. […] How can all of the things that happened since that photograph was taken have occurred in one lifetime? How can people walk around holding this much of the past inside them? How do they possibly add in another two or even three decades of experience? I’m topped up! I’m going to have to start erasing the larger files. Maybe I already have and don’t know it. […] But then it got real. One day a few weeks ago, I got old. It just suddenly happened, and there isn’t a sports car in the world I can buy to make it otherwise.  […]

There was a time when I could manage my cancer without having to understand myself as “disabled,” but at 60, that time has passed.

I sat down, and my bones settled so heavily around meand the relief was so immediatethat I knew I’d done the right thing. But I also knew that through that simple, necessary gesture, I had become old. […]

I’ve actually begun to feel a bit emotional and proud. Just by staying alive, I’ve witnessed a lot of life and a lot of history. I’ve done so many things in these six decades—I’ve survived some serious shit. In many of the ways that don’t involve the mortal coil, I’m stainless steel. And on the inside, I’m still me—probably more myself than ever…

—   Caitlin Flanagan, from “The Day I Got Old” (The Atlantic, November 14, 2021)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

He thinks the prices paid for his works sometimes border on madness. “I want to ignore it, mostly,” he says. “I’ve had sufficient money to do what I liked every day for the last 60 years. Even when I didn’t have much money, I’ve always managed. All I’m interested in is working, really. I’m going to go on working. Artists don’t retire.”

~ Lesley M.M. Blume, The World According to David Hockney (wsj.com, Sept 9, 2019)


Other notables from this essay:

  • “I have the vanity of an artist. I want my work to be seen. But I don’t have to be seen.” —David Hockney

  • “[The drawings] seem to exist fully formed. It’s like he bleeds them onto the page.” —Arne Glimcher

  • The drive up to David Hockney’s Los Angeles home in the Hollywood Hills is a narrow, winding route, full of hairpin turns. At the top of a hill, his compound is fortressed away behind an expanse of fence, hidden within a barely tamed jungle of palm trees and bird of paradise plants. Nearly every surface—the walls, the walkways connecting the buildings, the handrails and the roofs—has been painted brilliant colors: bubblegum pink, cerulean, canary yellow, sea green. ~ Lesley M.M. Blume

Painting above by David Hockney: The Road to York through Sledmere1997 – oil on canvas 48×60 in.

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Why not just retire?

“Reinhold doesn’t really relax,” Hansjörg said.

“Do you know this saying he has on his website? ‘I am what I do.’ But I think he may also believe the opposite: ‘If I cease to do, I will not be.’

~ Caroline Alexander, on Reinhold Messner, “Murdering the Impossible. Superhumanly determined.” (National Geographic Magazine, November, 2006)


Reinhold Messner, 72is an Italian mountaineer, adventurer, explorer, and author. He made the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and was the first climber to ascend all fourteen peaks over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) above sea level. He was also the first person to cross Antarctica and Greenland with neither snowmobiles nor dog sleds. He crossed the Gobi Desert alone.


Photo: gripped.com

Fantasy Island = Less Work (-100%) + More Sleep (+13%) + Way More Reading (+269%)

retiring-retirement-chart

Source: wsj.com

 

Five Stages of One’s Career

balloon-portrait-life

Then there are the stages of one’s career: an old joke invoked the five stages of Joseph Epstein (supply your own name here): 1. Who is Joseph Epstein? 2. This is a job, clearly, for Joseph Epstein. 3. We ought to get someone like Joseph Epstein for this job. 4. This job calls for a younger Joseph Epstein, and 5. Who is Joseph Epstein?

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays


Credits: Photograph – Tugbaumit

 

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