Saturday, December 05, 2009

Call Me Jack (What's in a name?)


Jack in Hilo
Photo by Dar

Having a name is odd. Our first bit of identity is chosen before or right at the moment of coming into being. Why don't we get to create it later, the way we do our religion-- Oh wait, most of us get immersed in that right away too. Yet, the latter is easily enough altered, not stamped on our birth certificate, forever.

So, call me Jack, the name my parents gave me. Call me a Savannah boy, since I was born there and lived there until I went to college. That's how one starts, right? The colleges certainly are an essential part of my identity-- here's the list: U.Va., Sewanee, Tulane, Emory University are the major ones. Left Va. for Sewanee in order to change majors (math to philosophy) and for reasons of love and sexual identity. Degrees? B.A., M.A., M.Ln., Ph.D. in Philosophy (Tulane). My Doctoral Dissertation was on the Philosophy of Art

(http://zonetotal.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-doctoral-dissertation-cited.html) and My Master's Thesis was on D.H. Lawrence, whose homes I visited in Taos, NM, Hampstead Heath, north of London, Land's End in Cornwall, and Lake Chapala, Mexico.

Suffice it to say that in the areas of literature and philosophy my interests range from Shakespeare to the Beats, and from Plato, Descartes and Berkeley, to the existentialists, especially Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Oh, there are others too: the Romantic poets to Michel Foucault. And that doesn't even touch on the art and artists I love...

I've had a long career in teaching and librarianship: Two universities, two art colleges, two high schools, and the High Museum of Art along with other oddities like Law Librarian at the Georgia State University Law School. Teaching for 17 years at the Atlanta College of Art was especially rewarding. During those years I wrote articles and reviews for Art Papers, and other publications. I met wonderful students who are still making art today. Kara Walker took two of my classes. And many students and colleagues are now among my Facebook friends.

It was also during this time that I collected much of the art I now own, the Larry Connatser paintings, for instance, and the photographs of my friend Paula Gately Tillman.

Since the age of 18 I have kept journals. My first trip to Europe in 1970 was as formative as any college course. I spent three months there, writing Journal 5, traveling by Eurail pass, soaking up art and history as never before. This blog is testament to how much I love Europe and have continued to bask in the culture and civilization there.

This is not the place for the history of my relationships and the back and forth I did, like the train trips in Europe from country to country, across the landscapes, bodyscapes of sexuality. Suffice it to say, I was every inch a Hippie in the 70's and thank Dionysus for it. Savannah, New Orleans, Mexico, and San Francisco, with frequent jaunts to New York and New England, were my playgrounds and home during the 70s. Those were the days of meeting Allen Ginsberg, W.S. Merwin, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti-- the time when I met the wonderful actor and my close friend, Joe Mydell.

Today, I am married to a man, my husband  Darryl Gossett. We have a nexus of relationships with others. Our travels and life together fill many of the pages of this Blog. He is a talented editor and writer. we have  lived in our townhouse in Atlanta 18 years. My aim now is to shift from critical writing to more creative writing, such as my "Art Memo" and several reviews in The Gay and Lesbian Review, Worldwide, (another link to the essay is here: click). I plan to continue writing poetry, and to create a photographic vision in sync with my writing, as in my other blog: Apricots.

But enough about me...

Here's to my friends and loved ones: 


To the chief intensity: the crown of these
Is made of love and friendship, and sits high
Upon the forehead of humanity.



Keats-- Endymion.

Jack


note: this was written 4 years ago. Quite a lot has happened since then; but the vector is the same. The photographs of the people in my life (above) reveal much, confirming Sartre's and de Beauvoir's views of the importance of   Le Regard...

Jameson 7/13












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