Aiken in the afternoon (Journal Entry)

Sandwiched among the dreams and remembrances in my old journals, there are quotes that stuck with me from things I was reading at the time.  Here’s one from Conrad Aiken’s poem, “A Letter from Li Po,” which is well worth reading in its entirety:

“Exiled are we.  Were exiles born.  The ‘far away,’

language of desert, language of ocean, language of sky,

as of the unfathomable worlds that lie

between the apple and the eye,

these are the only words we learn to say.

Each morning we devour the unknown.  Each day

we find, and take, and spill, or spend, or lose,

a sunflower splendor of which none knows the source.”



Leee Black Childers has left the building

Leee Black Childers (yes, there are three ‘e’s) was a portrait photographer who escaped my notice successfully, right up until the day that he died.  Just this morning, I read his obit in last sunday’s New York Times.  It seems like he lead a rich, full life.

One of the take-home messages for me, upon reading his obit, is that it is crucial to stake your claim to your own life.  How do you want to be remembered?  Who are you?  Claim your dreams, and they are yours.

One of my favorite anecdotes from Mr. Childers life comes from a conversation that he had with Andy Warhol at the Factory, Warhol’s New York studio, in the late 1960’s.  Childers, who was all of twenty-two then, confessed to Warhol that he “aspired to be a photographer; in that case, Warhol told him, he should just call himself one.”

“[Warhol] said, ‘Say you’re a photographer, and you’re a photographer,’ Mr. Childers recalled in an online interview. “And he pointed across the Factory to Candy Darling, who was one of the great drag queens, and he said, ‘Look at her.  She says she’s a woman.  She is.’  So from that moment on, I was a photographer.

Anyway, I found Leee Black Childer’s  obituary a great read and oddly inspirational when it comes to the claiming of my own life story.

You can check it out here.