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The third threshing floor had received its harvests to be winnowed, and the third vintage had gone into the hollow vat. Anna is driven from home, and weeping, leaves her sister's walls; before that, she gives due rite to her sister. The soft ashes drink the perfumes mixed with tears, and receive the hair cut as an offering from her head. Three times she said "Farewell"; three times she took the ashes and pressed them to her lips, and her sister seemed to be there in them.

This is from a recent, published (!) translation of Ovid's Fasti. It preserves Latin grammar perfectly, so it is useful if you are a cheating undergraduate.
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Another linocut:

The magpie is meant to be holding a ring with an eyeball on it but sadly I do not have a very good command of detail. Maybe I will get to take a picture of this someday with a non-crap camera.

I am beginning to identify and map all the trees in our area, and to learn about their botany and hidden mechanics. The yew tree has a horrifically firm grip on my attention at the moment; I can't stop reading up on it. It's been such a long time since a random obsession has taken over my brain, and its return is very welcome, as I always seem to learn the best in this mode.
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In a bag of art supplies, I found an uncarved block with a finished design. The design was of a hideous frog eviscerating itself, with blobs of intestines and blood pooling at its feet. Looking at it, I thought, ugh, enough of that. First of all, I have about 1000 pictures I made of self-evisceration. But second of all, I hate this artistic tendency in myself to take a self-hating instinct at its word. I don't think subject and act should be ugly, I think the art should aim to contradict the subject's perception.

It is also too bad what reaction this kind of art provokes. I painted a big portrait of a man slicing open his arm from wrist to elbow; that painting was bought and now hangs over someone's dinner table. This is how I know the painting failed miserably. I wanted someone to look at that painting and feel some urge to help, some counteremotion to the subject, the slicing was only meant to be one half of a whole which would be balanced by the pity or kindness of a viewer. But, I made it too sensationalist or cheap and this was not the effect it had.

It makes me think about how after Cato killed himself, Julius Caesar had him painted at the moment of ripping open his stomach stitches, and paraded it in his triumphal procession. The crowds were horrified and protested. If he had hired me to draw Cato I might have made something that would spark the kind of glee he wanted -- sadly.

Anyway, over this block I carved out a raven. It is a pretty cheesy image but at least the raven isn't pecking its leg off or ripping out its own spinal column. Hisda made many impressive blobs of colour in his notebook and sang along to Salt N Pepa as I worked.

I only have red ink )
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Caption: "I'm not menstruating, I just murdered someone!" he screamed to deaf ears.
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Dream of walking through a tunnel to sit at a table laden with books. French people were milling about. I saw grafitti about the war which troubled me greatly, but I turned my attention back to the books, which were cloth and canvas, like the kind of masekhthoth they were putting out in the 60's, but appeared much older, damaged. Inside were woodcuts of subtely wrong animals. The books were opened, set aside, opened, set aside.
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I made a picture of people burning a witch or a heretic today. However she is casting some sort of curse on them and they are all dying. It is not very tall but it is sort of long and can't be scanned (by me).

Since it is a very bad picture I must explain what it is going on rather than expecting you to get anything out of it yourselves.

details )
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this time could have been better spent doing almost anything else.

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Here's a bad photo of a new picture to go with the previous.


Jul. 26th, 2013 05:45 pm
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Last night, I heard Hisda start to fuss, and so I picked him up from the crib (which is right beside me) and began to nurse him. Then suddenly I heard crying -- from the crib. I woke up and realised that my entire reaction had been a dream.

I dreamt that an ex-boyfriend, who in reality is extremely anti-religious, had a change of heart and called me to help him prepare festive meal for the tree holiday. I went over to help him cook and saw underdone eggs sitting in a pot. I turned on the burner. A few minutes later, the pot was foaming and spitting up scum. He came and shouted, "Now I lost all those eggs!" I said, "Calm down, I'll buy you a new carton." "It took my five hours to boil those eggs!" I said, "If it took you five hours, you were doing something very wrong anyway." He continued to be furious. As he shouted, I looked around his kitchen and saw it hadn't been kashered properly anyway, so I left.

Later in the dream I ran into a woman with no basis in reality, who told me that the Sanhedrin coerced confessions from people in order to put them to death. I told her that this was impossible, since confessions are never admissable evidence under Jewish law, even in the best circumstances (true). She thought this was interesting and took me to show me something in a second-hand bookstore. "It's in here," she said, opening a little iron door, which looked a little like a wood oven door. I woke up.


Today I wrote a mezuzah requested by someone who wanted to give it (along with an appropriate box) as a wedding present. In order to fit the box, I wrote it on smaller parchment than I am used to:

Now that I look at it, it isn't very small at all, but it felt like it at the time. I have to get used to writing well at smaller and smaller sizes if I am going to write good tefilin (which I very much would like to do). A big picture of the mezuzah scaled on Torah writing instead of my hand is here. Some disappointments include lack of neatness in a few lines and a crunched lamedh, but the writing is still better than many mezuzoth I have seen (unfortunately).


Jul. 5th, 2013 12:24 pm
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I dreamt I was walking through a fairy fair. There was a wide, dusty yellow road, and on either side stretched little wooden booths as far as the eye could see, selling jewellery, perfumes, and all manner of foods. I saw people I knew buying food from the booths and warned them, "Don't eat fairy food! Don't buy from fairies at all!" but nobody paid me much attention. I thought it wouldn't be so bad if they bought a beautiful necklace and in the morning it turned out to be a little pile of rocks, but to eat fairy food meant you would get stuck in their kingdom forever.

Finally I came to a building that the kids and I used to walk past when I brought them home, which we called "hajungel" because it had a swimming pool inside and great big vents on the outside which blew very hot and humid air. In the dream I was walking to this "jungle" because class was about to start with my teacher, all about kashruth. At the door I suddenly realised I hadn't been wearing my arm tefilin, which was alarming. I found it in my satchel and pulled it out, but just then my teacher came walking by. "Hello, Yonah," he said to me. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of him by showing myself to be weird and extremist, so I put the tefilin back in my satchel. As I did so, I noticed it had a little tear in the strap. I wanted to ask about it, but we went inside (where it was Pardes) and class began.
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