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Feb. 13th, 2009

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Friday is sacred to the Goddess Freya and 13 is the number of lunar months in the year- so for all us Goddess worshippers (or so I was told in my Wiccan days) this is an extraordinarily lucky day.

Well, why not fight superstition with superstition?

We put a new mattress topper on our bed yesterday. Our old one was falling to bits. This new one has ridges in it - like " the ribbed sea sand. "  I don't suppose it's really going to do anything wonderful for our poor, old, battered spines and hips but it will disguise- as the old one did- just how cheap and saggy the mattress is.

"Ribbed sea sand". I love that image. It's one of Wordsworth's nifty, little contributions to The Ancient Mariner. Wordsworth and Coleridge are one of the great, artistic partnerships- like Lennon and McCartney- with Dorthy W off to the side in the George Harrison role.

The romantic era made a big deal out of the single, isolated, artistic genius, standing- like Byron's Manfred- on an alpine  crag above the world.  Actually it was never really like that. Art is social. Even lonely, romantic artists have patrons, teachers, wives, friends, disciples, assistants, rivals.  The coming together of Coleridge and the two Wordsworths produced better work than any of them managed after the group broke up. So who was Ringo, then? Maybe de Quincey was Ringo.
 
The best art of the present age is collaborative. I'm talking about TV now- which is even more collaborative than cinema.  Take the Wire, for instance. It's the 21st century equivalent of Middlemarch or War and Peace- and yet it doesn't have a single author- or auteur. Hundreds of very talented people- writers, directors, actors, technicians- have collaborated on it, subsuming their individual quirks in a common vision. You'd think this way of working would produce something evened-out and anonymous, but it doesn't. The Wire has abundant character. But whose?

Maybe we're getting back to the way things were in the Middle Ages. Maybe the era of the solitary genius is over. The medieval cathedrals are the most awesome art works ever created,  but- as Orson Welles points out in F for Fake- they're unattributable- the creation of many, many people and nobody in particular.  

Ailz has gone off to hit the sales with Ruth, so I have most of my lucky day to myself. I intend to spend it doing a righteous amount of housework. We'll see.

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