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kiota on the remotest ridge

Many of my favorite icons come from Kiota's photos.
This one is taken out the window of a jetliner as she flew over the Western US.

At one point in her book "Night Falls Fast", Dr. Jamison looks at creative people who leave early. She says that "at least 20 studies have found that highly creative individuals are much more likely than the general population to suffer from depression ... clearly, mood disorders are not required for great accomplishment, and most people who suffer from mood disorders are not particularly accomplished. But the evidence is compelling that the creative are *disproportionately* affected by these conditions...behavior on the remotest ridges of experience may end in death, yet some artists and explorers feel no choice but to go there. Van Gogh wrote 'It isn't possible to get values *and* color, you can't be at the poles and the equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to, and it will probably be color.' He did, his art is legendary, and at age 37 he shot himself fatally in his chest.

G.M. Hopkins wrote "Is the shipwrack then a harvest? Does tempest / Carry the grain for thee?"

I think out of this shipwreck, yes, there's coming a grain harvest, we are all learning what we are supposed to, from Ki ... one of my personal bounties is all of you: patterns shift like Kiota's clouds, the jetliner flew by, she continued her journey, and we will all move into separation from one another, perhaps gradually, maybe soon: as one of my favorite posters wrote here, "Life goes on!"

In one study, writers, especially poets showed considerably higher rates of suicide than the general population, writes Dr. J. One is Dylan Thomas, a favorite of mine for a long time whose work Ki knew too:

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How my clay is made the hangman's lime.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.
And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan wrote this when he was about four years older than Ki; he fatally poisoned his brain, at age 39, with alcohol in 1953.

Ki certainly made her way to the remotest ridges, both in her life and her creative writing, some of which was posted [now it isn't] and some of which she allowed me to help her with.

I don't find it helpful or healing to say, as a bottom line, I love part of a person and hate the other parts. For me, it doesn't work that way. The summary is that it's a solid acceptance and love, or it isn't. You can have the POV that in the middle of life we are in death, or that in the middle of death we are in life; final choices are finally made, and taught. You can't be on the equator and at the poles at the same time.

I'll take color too.

I don't quote them all here, but Dylan's lines from "The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives The Flower" were printed in 1937 and now we are 71 years down the road from 1937. He still speaks to us. About unity and forces.

There has been some sentiment for putting Ki's best work in front of a larger audience than us. I think that someday this will come about in some form. When an artist dies, art does not.

And will not ever, while time is ticking a heaven round the stars: it won't matter how hard the same crooked worm chews on lovers' shrouds.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about his too. It seems that a lot of creativity comes from embracing your inner demons or a dark side inside you. Especially for the type of art that really captures and doesn't let you go.

In German there is a saying that genius and insanity (madness/ mania) go hand in hand.

I have noticed that for myself that in my phases of great creativity I always get very close to the mania and when I'm just living day by day in a boring routine, I'm somewhat leveled and calm.

What did you mean by that some stuff was posted and now it's not? Did Ki delete it or did someone else?

I printed some of your stuff too and will read it to my husband later - see if I can get him to understand a little better.
Apr. 23rd, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
Yep, the book talks about mania too [right before the entry I wrote]. In my phases of creativity I do exactly the same thing.

Ki took some of her pieces down, and more was on a site she abandoned, think she just let the payment run out.

And thaks for printing some of my thoughts, I'm honored, and I really hope it helps with your husband.
Apr. 23rd, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
It's interesting that you mention Van Gogh, as she herself felt connected to him.
Apr. 23rd, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Mex, it's not exactly me mentioning him, it's Dr Jamison writing about creative people who destroy themselves. And citing the connection between creation and destruction.

Some parts of Ki obviously never really really shifted at all until the end: the 'tiny little apprehensive spark of hope' was certainly there that last Friday and she wanted to draw me into it and warm me with it and she did. From a closeup view, it wasn't tiny at all. Was I lulled and fooled? Maybe ....

As an art historian, I'd make a good truck mechanic, so I scooted over to some sources about Vincent and Paul Gaugin. Although to Ki the focus was at that time the cut and the ear [which V had wrapped up and taken over to a whorehouse afterwards], Ki also dabbled a bit in abstract painting -- you probably know that. Vincent didn't get into what we now revere him for until the end of his life -- swirls of vivid color.

V, before the gunshot, was on his way out via malnutrition, overwork, and insomnia. Paul died of syphilis at 55, but he suffered from depression and did at least one suicide attempt. Vincent was devastated at the end of his "affair?" with Paul, who was married at the time and who lived with him in Vincent's house for a couple of months. Then Paul takes off to go half a world away to the South Pacific.

My last and only Friday with Ki: malnutrition, overwork, insomnia, end of affair with SO half a world away. History of attempts.

Just almost too eerie for words, Mex.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
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