June 2019
Vol. IX, No. 6

June 2019

I did think, let’s go about this slowly./This is important. This should take/some really deep thought./We should take/small thoughtful steps./But, bless us, we didn’t.”By Mary Oliver

(Our June issue is dedicated to Dr. Emily Chernicoff.)

“Reclining Mother and Child II,” Oil on Canvas, by Paula Modersohn-Becker (1906).

“Self Portrait,” by Paula Modersohn-Becker (1906).

It’s June, that month of fecundity, and we dedicate this issue to long-time reader Emily Chernicoff. We open with an essay on the essential and appropriate extravagance of hospitality, by the Reverend Robin White, and continue on our way with essays and poems by Don Schofield, Diana Farr Louis, William Ramp, Claire Bateman, Skip Eisiminger, Ross Konikoff, William A. Balk, Jr., and Guy McPherson; closing out this issue of Weekly Hubris with an offering of hilarious video footage from our magazine’s Assistant Editor, Tim Bayer, and Cartoons-for-June from Mark Addison Kershaw.

About the artist featured on our June Home PageThe slight, 140-odd-page biography, Being Here is Everything: The Life  of Paula Modershohn-Becker, sparkles with details of Becker’s close friendships and artistic training. The book’s author, Marie Darrieussecq, brings a penchant for beautiful details nestled amongst bare sentences that provide them necessary context. Describing Becker’s daily life, for example, Darrieussecq devotes her attention not to how the painter spent her days but what she plants in her garden: In the garden, around the house, she has planted rose bushes, tulips, carnations, anemones. Evoking the flurry Becker’s halcyon days, she writes of: Boating parties, swimming in the rivers, Isadora Duncan-style dancing; Otto plays the flute. And nudism. Becker, by Darrieussecq’s account, comes across as a resolute, bright, and curious young woman who is as diligent about her craft as she is devoted to her friends. She was sent to England to study at St John’s Wood School of Art but, at age 18, after returning to Germany and completing teacher training, while also taking painting classes in Bremen, she shunned the traditional life of a teacher. After two years at the traditional School for Women Artists in Berlin, she threw herself into the artistic community at Worpswede under the tutelage of Fritz Mackensen: this level of determination was necessary for Becker to push her way into the artistic circles of a group of men who would go on to be remembered in the canon of art history. So you died the way women used to die in the old days . . . the death of women in childbirth who want to close themselves up and are no longer able to, Rilke writes in “Requiem,” after Becker’s death. A greater tragedy than our not knowing her name is that, at age 31, she was snatched away from those who did. She had married the painter Otto Modersohn six years earlier, after many years of artistic companionship while he was with his first wife, and died, as had the first Mrs. Modersohn, in childbirth. The first woman to paint herself pregnant did not live long enough to see the fruits of her labor. (The text here is excerpted from “A New Biography of Paula Modersohn-Becker Reveals an Artist Committed to Painting Women.)

Ilene Brenner Dunn, Alex McNeill, Annanda Barclay, and Robin White.

Wing + Prayer

“An Extravagance of the Heart: Luke 7:36-50,By The Reverend Robin White

LAKE HARTWELL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—In a little book titled Creative DislocationThe Movement of Grace, Robert McAfee Brown talks about life’s “disturbing discoveries.” The first disturbing discovery: who we listen to determines what we hear. The second disturbing discovery: where we stand determines what we see. And the third disturbing discovery: what we do, determines who we are.  The nameless woman of Luke 7—labeled “sinful”—is a precious, bold illustration of the “disturbing discoveries” inherent in discipleship. (Read more . . .)

Greyhound Scenicruiser, circa 1960.

Imagination’s Favors

“Gods & Greyhounds: On Going Back to Sacramento,By Don Schofield

THESSALONIKI Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—I first moved to Sacramento at eight-years-old, when my father got remarried to a woman who lived on 56th, near M Street. I left for good at 28, going first to Missoula, Montana to get my MFA, then to Greece, where I’ve lived for almost 40 years. In my first ten years in Sacramento, I moved at least a dozen times, sometimes to foster families and children’s homes in other parts of the city, but mostly to places farther away—Hanna Boys’ Center in Sonoma, The San Francisco Boys’ Home, a foster family in Fresno, another in Portland, Job Corps in Pleasanton, etc.  (Read more . . .)

The views were full of dazzling yellow ribbons and bands.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Summer-House Blues (Pinks, Yellows & Mauves),By Diana Farr Louis 

ANDROS, Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—“Your very vivid description of the house last week reminded me again why I NEVER wanted to own a house in the country (although I am very happy to have relatives and friends who do).” So wrote a beloved Athenian niece when she finally heard from us after a long silence over the Easter break. We hadn’t been able to get to our house in the Andros outback since late October, so we weren’t anticipating a pristine welcome. Still, the spectacle that greeted us surpassed expectations. (Read more . . .)

Lark in the clear air.

Small Things Recollected

“Transitions, Transections, Transfictions,” By Dr. William Ramp

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—This is the last installment—for now—of my meditations on photographs and other documents of everyday life. I’ve not run out of material, but I suspect that by next month, I’ll need to return to words, for reasons personal and public. In the past three columns, I’ve discussed a variety of ordinary images and documents, most from my own family, some preserved carefully, others stored away with only fragmentary information to identify them. Sometimes, preservation can be a more benevolent form of destruction; for example, if elders who keep and intend to add narratives to them run out of time at the end of life, or have no one to receive them. I wanted to show how undocumented or out-of-order images could still offer opportunities to make meaning. (Read more . . .)

Candace Wiley.

Speculative Friction

“The Poetry of Candace Wiley,” By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—The poet Candace Wiley was born in South Carolina, graduated with a BA from Bowie State University, an HBCU in MD, an MA from Clemson University, and an MFA from the University of South Carolina. She is the Co-founding Director of The Watering Hole, a non-profit that creates Harlem Renaissance-style spaces in the contemporary South, and she often writes in the mode of Afrofuturism, covering topics from Black aliens, to mutants, to mermaids. She is a Vermont Studio Center Fellow, a Lighthouse Works Center Fellow, a Fine Arts Work Center Fellow, a Callaloo Fellow and a former Fulbright Fellow to San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia, a town that was founded by West Africans who had escaped from Cartagena slavery. (Read more . . .)

Preserved in tree sap, not honey.

Skip the B.S.

“Charismatic Microfauna: Honey Bees,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—As a wise-cracking boy in a German natural-history museum, I recall seeing a honey bee suspended in amber and wondering aloud if the careless fellow had fallen into Winnie the Pooh’s honeypot. The museum guide, who was not the least amused, assured me and my classmates that what we were looking at was fossilized tree sap, not honey. Moreover, bees are sure-footed around their precious hexagonal larders, and the “fellow” was a female. Though humans have been tending to beehives ever since they began settling down during the Agricultural Revolution (c. 8,000 BC), it wasn’t until 1675 that Jan Swammerdam of the Netherlands noticed the “king” laying eggs. Of course, Swammerdam’s many skeptics needed only to look back a few years to the prosperous reign of a human “queen bee” by the name of Elizabeth I. (Read more . . .)

“Sign Language with Birds,” by Kati Thamo.

West Side Stories

“John James Audubon is Haunting Me,By Ross Konikoff

MANHATTAN New York—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—My mother died suddenly, so my brother, my sister, and I gathered together for the first time in a decade in order to grieve, redistribute her possessions, and clear out her Tampa co-op. As we settled in the first evening together, the wine began flowing, along with the family stories, recounting the fun we had growing up together and marveling at the fact that we had somehow survived our childhood in light of the crazy and dangerous things we had gotten away with back in the days before seat belts, smoking bans, child car seats, the silly notion that playing with matches was dangerous, and before children were considered sacred snowflakes, no longer allowed to participate in a game of “tag,” where the stigma of having been chosen “IT” might lead to irreparable psychological scarring. (Read more . . .)

Erwin House. (Photo: Brandon Coffey.)

Epicurus’ Porch

“The Supreme Adventure,By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—When the package arrived, unexpected, but carrying my cousin’s Kansas return address, I was anxious to open it to discover its mysterious contents. Pete and I had been “talking” via email recently and he had confirmed my mailing address, but I hadn’t really expected anything to be sent. It was a padded mailer, the sort of thing one sends a book in. It’s not the usual thing for us to exchange books. Both of us are readers, although what we choose to read differs significantly. (Read more . . .)

The sad, sure way of the Dodo.

Going Dark

“Seven Distinct Paths to Loss of Habitat for Humans,By Dr. Guy McPherson

WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—Humans are animals, although hubris occasionally allows us to forget this fact. As a result of our membership in the animal kingdom, we require habitat to survive, as I have mentioned in my earlier writings for Weekly Hubris. Our membership in the animal kingdom comes with the ability to predict that loss of habitat will cause the near-term functional extinction of our species, as with other animals. In other words, loss of habitat makes us functionally extinct. Shortly thereafter, and to my great sadness, our species will disappear from this most glorious of planets. (Read more . . .)

Vision enhanced with beer goggles.

Won Over By Reality

“Maybe Drunk People See What We Can’t,By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—I have a speculative explanation for the video I’m sharing with you this month: perhaps it’s possible that those who are drunk may be able to see things invisible to the sober. (Read more . . .)


“June’s Toons: A Brush With Life,” By Mark Addison Kershaw

ATLANTA Georgia—(Weekly Hubris)—June 2019—(See more . . .)

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