Monday, January 15, 2007

Siempre sucede. Goya

Doña Isabel de Porcel, by Goya
(before 1805) Oil on canvas, 82 x 55 cm National Gallery, London

Francisco Goya is today's featured artist, and a bit of a random find, as most of the Daily is, in fact. A heavy influence on both Picasso and Manet, the Spanish artist Goya is described by Wikipedia as, "the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns."

The title of tonight's blog is also the title of number 8 in a series of drawings by Goya, entitled 'Los desastres de la guerra' (The Disasters of War), the entire series of which is reproduced for you here, courtesy of the ever-democratic Wikipedia Commons. I urge you to stop a moment and have a look at the titles of these pictures for a moment, which are often as compelling as the image itself. I think there is a certain poetry about them. For example, 'Siempre sucede' means 'This always happens,' which resonates through me with a childlike finality. Other titles in this series include:

Con razón o sin ella.
With or without reason.


Para eso habéis nacido.

This is what you were born for.


Amarga presencia.

Bitter presence.


No se puede saber por qué.

Nobody knows why.


It was a busy, productive and satisfying day at the Ministry today, with the office in high, relaxed spirits. There was some teasing from the classy Dru and the gorgeous Miss Sally this afternoon, the nature of which I shall not divulge, but I managed to break even with Miss Dru by responding with base-level sexual innuendo. I've never met anyone but Miss Dru who could delight me so much by exclaiming, "How rude!" and it's impossible to get mad with Miss Sally when she's giggling - it's far too contagious.

I feel as though my commitment to what I do for a living (in the case of the Ministry, writing on cultural policy) has returned to full strength after it started to flag last year. Moreover, I have started to organize my own writing life more effectively and with more commitment than I have previously felt able. My withdrawal from social life is currently facilitating this change (and some others, I suspect).

I may not like getting up at 7am every morning to write before work, but I sure do feel better for it. Some writers write every day; some writers generate astonishing word counts every day; and some writers have full-time jobs and children and mortgages to worry about at the same time. I try to remember this in the early hours of the morning when I'm not feeling so enthused.

I bumped into my first boyfriend's brother in town this morning. A sometime believer in signs, I wonder what this means. He has a lovely jawline, I thought, as we caught up on news. In fact, I was admiring his jawline so much that I realised halfway through one of his sentences that I wasn't actually listening at all. How rude.

Quotes from the Ministry

1. The London Boss: "This may go some way to explaining my Eeyore-ish demeanour."


2. The Chief: "I haven't seen legs that thin since I saw a child with rickets in India."


3. Miss Sally: "If anyone should like to ask for requests, Sarah and I have a very broad repertoire."

Silence from the office.

Sarah: "I expect they're putting together a list, Miss Sally."




Oscar Peterson's 'Hymn to Freedom.' It's more than a bit beautiful.

The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves.
The basis of optimism is sheer terror.
Oscar Wilde

1 comment:

SuperAmanda said...

Amazin, I thought that Goya just painted gods eating thieir young! Lovely painting.