Finals

It has been slim pickings here at basil.ca the last while. Fall 18 was a very hectic semester. I added a major assignment to my upper-level professional communications classes, and I fit in two significant trips (one to Boston for my son’s wedding, and the other to the Kootenays to take care of my late friend Kat Kosiancic‘s things). I’ll be heading back to Buffalo to visit family and friends over the break and’ll be posting more before and during the trip. But before that: Final exams tomorrow!

& Dad getting ready for the wedding (a rare selfie) …

TuxSelfie

Wonderful to be a Dad

BasilCouple

Miles and Alie Basil got married last weekend in Boston. It was a day filled with joy and love, and of families becoming family.

You Are Here

YouAreHere

I’ve been here many hundreds of times, across the water from Vancouver’s Science World, yet apparently I have never been fully here, as in ‘YOU ARE HERE’. How did I miss this great sign?!

My teacher and friend Robert Creeley titled at least eight of his poems “Here.” It was the title of one of his very last published poems:

Up a hill and down again.

Around and in –

 

Out was what it was all about

but now it’s done.

 

At the end was the beginning,

just like it said or someone did.

 

Keep looking, keep looking,

keep looking.

And here is one from “Hello,” a book from Creeley’s mid-career:

 

Since I can’t

kill anyone

I’d better

sit still.

.

“Taking a Second Look With Local Photography Legend, Lincoln Clarkes”

LC

A lovely interview with my friend Lincoln in Scout Magazine, by Thalia Stopa.

Photo by Michaela Morris 2018

Ways of knowing other people

This quite moved me:

In 1980 [Arthur] Ashe retired after thriving in an era when on-court behavior was starting to get out of control, thanks to men like Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. Because of them, his reputation for sportsmanship and gentlemanly composure stood out. That reputation played a large part in his selection as America’s Davis Cup captain. He oversaw a team led by McEnroe, who was earning his “superbrat” nickname and would send Ashe into one of the most turbulent moments of his career.

In 1981, in Cincinnati, the Americans were playing against a strong Argentine team when McEnroe — who’d already embarrassed Ashe in other matches — got into a war of words with the great José Luis Clerc and loudly cursed at him for all to hear. Ashe said: “I thought I might punch John. I have never punched anyone in my life, but I was truly on the brink of hitting him.” Yet the consummate sportsman went light on McEnroe, giving him just a stern warning.

Some, at the time, felt Ashe had compromised his principles to placate his best player, but there was something deeper going on. The two men were opposites, but Ashe, who’d had it in him since childhood that he had to behave perfectly on the court, also had a sort of envy of McEnroe’s way. Later in life Ashe wrote: “Far from seeing John as an alien, I think I may have known him … as a reflection of an intimate part of myself. This sense of McEnroe as embodying feelings I could only repress, or as a kind of darker angel to my own tightly restrained spirit, may explain why I always hesitated to interfere with his rages even when he was excessive. … At some level … John was expressing my own rage, as I could never express it; and I perhaps was even grateful to him for doing so.”

He also once remarked, “I’ve got to admit that for a long time I’ve had this urge to walk out on Centre Court at Wimbledon and for just one match act like McEnroe.”

And then,

That said, he knew McEnroe would not have been able to act like that if he were black.

The book review is titled Why Arthur Ashe Is the Spiritual Father of Colin Kaepernick.

 

Goddess Aretha Franklin

From David Remnick’s lovely tribute this morning:

Prayer, love, desire, joy, despair, rapture, feminism, Black Power—it is hard to think of a performer who provided a deeper, more profound reflection of her times. What’s more, her gift was incomparable. Smokey Robinson, her friend and neighbor in Detroit, once said, “Aretha came out of this world, but she also came out of another, far-off magical world none of us really understood. . . . She came from a distant musical planet where children are born with their gifts fully formed.” Etta James once recalled listening to Franklin’s version of Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael’s standard “Skylark.” In the second verse, Franklin jumps an octave. “I had to scratch my head and ask myself, *How the fuck did that bitch do that?* I remember running into Sarah Vaughan, who always intimidated me. Sarah said, ‘Have you heard of this Aretha Franklin girl?’ I said, ‘You heard her do ‘Skylark,’ didn’t you?’ Sarah said, ‘Yes, I did, and I’m never singing that song again.’ ”