Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You are my sunshine.

Magge pye hagiolatry & Northrop Frye Inc.
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Get Up! Stand Up!    Don't Give Up The Fight!
People's Climate March: September 21 2014 NYC.
The People's Climate March website is replete with good information. 350 Toronto are coordinating bus transportation from Toronto and lodging in NYC including on-line ticketing.

Ballard Street: Breadcrumbs.

Of all the far-fetched nonsense I have written this may be the flightiest: adding 2 plus 2 and getting some prime number or other greater than 17. It began a few posts ago: A kernel of truth in a bushel of vicious nonsense with thinking about urbanity.

Northrop Frye Inc.:   Haggister or Magpie: A common bird of the family Corvidæ (which includes the genus Corvus/crow), having a long pointed tail and black-and-white plumage; known for noisy chatter, pilfering and hoarding.

"Hardy are Haggesses, but yet giuen to prate," (OED citation).

Any connection with a sheep's stomach I wonder?

Looked at:
    John Ayre, 'Northrop Frye: a biography', 1989
    Joseph Adamson, 'Northrop Frye : a visionary life', 1993
    Robert Denham (editor), 'The correspondence of Northrop Frye and Helen Kemp, 1932-1939', 1996
            Volume 1 1932-1935 0-8020-0772-4, Volume 2 1936-1939 0-8020-0773-2
    Robert Fulford, review of 'The Correspondence ... 1932-1939' in the Globe, February 12 1997
    Margaret Burgess (editor), 'A Glorious and Terrible Life with You: Selected Correspondence ...', 2007

['Looked at', 'consulted' even, but I don't want you to get the wrong idea and go thinking that I actually 'read' any of them.]

When I saw "possible to dispense here with all but the most rudimentary scholarly apparatus" in Burgess' Preface ... "Well," I thought, "Let's throw the baby out with the bath then and go the whole-hog Gonzo shebang!" Where her title 'A Glorious and Terrible Life With You' comes from I don't know; though along with Robert Fulford's 1997 review in the Globe and John Ayre's inane & pretentious prose, it was a primary bit of the yin machinery that led to this post.

[Yes, it was terrible. Maybe it always is. Why, having the temerity to put it into the title, does she let it drop?]

That said, they are all and each of them orders of magnitude more knowledgeable and competent than I - Ayre in particular providing several essential clues though his prose is like sawdust pretentiously pretending to be feathers). My only claim is that reading Frye (in the accidentally eloquent words of those purveyors of the mediocre & superficial, viz. The Beatles) 'got me through the night' more than several times in the 80s when things were difficult (having been turned away from him by my friend Keith in the halcyon hippie days when he might have done me some real good).

Alton Wilson & Anetta Morley, 1931.Smiling into the face of the 'dirty thirties' ... of course that will be nothing beside what they will call the 2030's when the shit really begins to hit the fan.

Before a photograph can be printed in a printing press it must be 'screened' - that is divided up into quase pixels; and by the time you scan these already-screened images and re-publish them on the Internet they begin to dramatically lose ... resolution.

And that is as it should be (it seems to me).

Was it Herman Hesse who wrote about 'the price of admission' being your mind? ... Anyway ... Not an original thought. Civilization then, and the price of admission is your mind.

"Now religion and art are the two most important phenomena in the world; or rather the most important phenomenon, for they are basically the same thing. They constitute, in fact, the only reality of existence." So he wrote in an early letter to his Helen.

Urban academic arrogance that just don't know sheeeit!

Very comparable stuff from George Lakoff in 'Metaphors We Live By' 1980. If the mythopœic bible is U-shaped from Genesis through travaile and fear to Revelations, then this cognitive schema is just some other kind of arc: -shaped: up through (temporary & contingent) quase-scientific enlightenment and then down to the wall (I would say). Either way about the same.

Helen Kemp, 1934.
Northrop Frye, 1933.
Tarot #6 'The Lovers'.[1932:] In a magazine profile, Frye quipped, "It wasn't love at first sight, but it was a very effortless operation." It took about another year before they were commonly identified as "steady."

[1936:] Frye quickly advises her to see a doctor when she returns to Toronto from Gordon Bay, adding that she shouldn't "jump to conclusions quite so quickly this time—I've been away two weeks, remember." Kemp writes again from Gordon Bay with the news that she "may have to have some kind of treatment" for she seems "to have missed a month," and the subsequent letters confirm what they both suspect—that Kemp is pregnant, apparently for the second time. "I keep telling myself," Frye says in his next letter, "that I can't have caused it both times, that there must be something else the matter, but that doesn't work." On 27 August, Kemp, having gone back to Toronto with her mother, sends Frye the news that she has had an abortion, performed by a doctor who has learned a new method in Germany. Abortion was illegal at the time, but Kemp's mother, working through a nurse who was "very competent, experienced and sympathetic," is able to make the necessary arrangements.

Everything's over but the shouting — the curse started in last night. I'm still in bed and feel the odd pain here and there. The nurse was in this morning and says the doctor uses a new method that no one else in Toronto knows about. He learned it in Germany two years ago. He uses no instruments and it's absolutely safe, so there's nothing to worry about.

[Nothing to worry about!? Right.]
Helen Kemp & Northrop Frye, 1937.

[1940:] And Helen, rationalizations notwithstanding, never really came to terms with the situation. Her barrenness later became a festering psychological wound.

[He uses no instruments and it's absolutely safe!? And this is her own MOTHER sellin' her this horsecock! Her mother, who don't know shit from shinola.]

[1957:] Because doctors discovered fibroids in Helen's uterus, she was hospitalized for a hysterectomy in mid-September.

Northrop Frye, 1959.[1979:] Helen had been suffering from enough anxiety and insomnia the past couple of years that she had started to see a psychiatrist. Her anxieties continued to increase, however, and she began to display resentments and hostility at home. While some of this could be tied to an accumulation of lonely years with a man who worked so hard under tremendous pressure, her moods became more irrational. ['Tied'?]

[1986:] When Helen came off the five-hour flight from Sydney, however, she collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. She'd earlier noticed shortness of breath and her collapse proved to be the result of an embolism in the lungs. It appears that when older passengers, particularly overweight smokers, are unable to move around and get the circulatory system moving on long transoceanic flights, blood clots in the legs can break away and get trapped in the lungs where they can kill. ['Appears'?]

[1987:] In midsummer, though, they decided quite suddenly to throw caution aside. With just five days between decision and ceremony, it was the nearest thing to an elopement.

Letter from Dad, December 1980.My father (on the other hand) chased my laughing mother round the house 'til she was taken away to Whitby with the Alz'. I have reproduced this letter of his from that epoch, and six months later he died of a broken heart (I surmise).

A golden moment:   Entwined with two friendly whores: Mariá (with the accent on the final syll-able as indicated) and Monek (a rendition of Monique that she used). There was a tiny bit of white paper stuck to Maria's clitoris. "Just look! She has a price!" and we all laughed for a long time. And now, today, long after the money ran out, we are still friends.

I remember Dad one day saying to me, "Hello sunshine.":   'You Are My Sunshine' was a hit on the radio at the time. It might have been the original by Jimmie Davis but that was in 1940 and my memory can't be earlier than sometime after 1950. Things moved more slowly then. Wikipedia fails to list covers. Oh well, something like that. Doris Day maybe. I crossed the park to and from elementry school singing it at the top of my lungs.

It feels like yesterday that I finally understood the whole story for the first time. "When I awoke dear, I was mistaken, and I hung my head and cried." Hard to believe I didn't get it at the time. Just a kid. Everybody wants it both ways ... but you simply can't.

One day I decided to go home for lunch. Wasn't supposed to. Had a packed lunch in a bag. Grade two maybe. When I got there she was dressed up and going out somewhere and angry with me for being in the way. Sent me back to school but by then the allotted time had passed so I threw the bag in the bin and had none.

Aesop: Fox & sour grapes.

My daughter thinks I'm a misogynist - and it's a tribute to what's between us that I know it. I'm not one but you can get trapped in explanations; and yes, it's complicated, subtle; bears on the 'a' in temperament (which makes it into a kind of blended colour).

Sour grapes:   Where the challenge of creating order is gradually replaced with the challenge of accepting chaos.

It's sour grapes gentle reader, and nothing more. I was alive (even briefly 'attended' Rochdale College) when Northrop Frye, Donald Coxeter, and Marshall McLuhan were all at the University of Toronto. I might have stayed, met them. Who knows? I got a few aces in my results at an eminent Toronto high school, I might have started there. Instead they moved my father to Montreal midstream and there it was, gone. That, getting mumps at nineteen, and two days unconscious with a fractured skull in ... [wait, it will come to me - sure enough, several weeks later up floats 'Valleyfield'] ... following a highway accident might have been enough.

Really this is all about my father. He taught me to read at least one newspaper every day and especially liked the comics. He had a grade five education and as can be seen in the letter he indulged disingenuous bourgeois euphemisms to the max; lied about his children (we all turned our backs on him). But (at least) he never accepted (graciously declining) the worst nonsense. He was urban but brought up on an (almost) farm and later in the (almost) country. I have a picture of him with the takings of a trap line that he ran on the Montreal mountain in the 20s.

Somewhere I wrote a poem about his wilderness heart. ... If and when I can find it I will slide it in here to close this (silly) thing off.
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