Tag Archives: inspiration

Inside This Earthen Book-Box 1

This is only part one of a blArt about my new Inside This Earthen Book-Box ITEB

Part 2 will follow in a few days with more images of the Book-Box

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6 scrolls surround my pot on a hexagonal table, notice the Beuys’ scroll has felt over it!

A while ago I wrote a series of poems to be printed as scrolls which I placed inside a big pot.

I called the project Inside This Clay Jug after a poem Robert Bly had recited after the original translation by Rabindranath Tagore of a 14th century poem by Kabir. I first heard the recital on the late a Jackie Leven cd. I loved it and was lucky to have known Jackie when he used another pen name, John St Fields. I loved his rendition of Inside This Clay Jug for years and was fortunate to get together with Jackie shortly before he died. The project was as much in memorium to him as it was a celebration of knowledge passed down in ancient times by communities who hid their precious writings in pots in caves or underground like the Nag Hamadi library and Buddhist pots found in Kandahar.

the jug sm
Pot + Scrolls stand on sand base. There are words from Kabir’s poem on the pot. Each scroll has a leather thong with the name of the subject or his associative domain created on a clay tab.

I don’t expect anyone to go to this link BUT it has an account of how Buddha’s pot for alms was found in Kandahar, it’s an incredibly complex story but the kind I find quite fascinating if & when I find the time to explore. For me this kind of exploration is the closest I’ll ever get to actually setting foot in Kandahar cos am a lazy old tyke. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=umZEfH1n0X4C&pg=PA281&lpg=PA281&dq=Buddhist+pots+found+in+Kandahar&source=bl&ots=XcgKUd5QC8&sig=qX35SJ3d_ZAJ9w4c_sG7PDX6YGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqmNzu2_zUAhUNY1AKHV-ADl8Q6AEIRTAJ#v=onepage&q=Buddhist%20pots%20found%20in%20Kandahar&f=false

Recently I bound a copy of David Jury’s beautiful letterpress version of my poems in pots into a codex book.

1 isev bk SoB comp sm
Inside This Earthen Vessel (ISEV)

Letterpress print version bound as a codex book 

I only made two copies so far, one for me and one for DJ. And I have added a lovely little purple tassle to mine and sent it up to an international competition to see if they like it.

Whilst making the book I made a couple of extra cover and thought one day I’d make a book-box with one of em and put into it every incarnation of my poems for the Clay Jug Project about which I also published a book called G BATCH.

a cover of gbatch
Front cover of G BATCH

Now I know G BATCH is not the best name for the book, it’d be better named something like Inside This Clay Jug an Introduction. I preferred at the time to take letters from the names of the six men that my poems are about and as a group is also a batch called it a batch, G BATCH. The book is handmade in an edition of 50. It explains my ideas behind the project.

a orignl carl jung design
In my collage of Carl Jung I include a mandala I invented for Jung with pots and fishes plus a Buddhist Wheel of life. He is wearing his Gnostic ring.

It also has the master drawing that I used for the etchings of the six men.

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ISEV displayed at the Bath Spa ‘Concrete Poetry’ Symposium

I re-wrote the poems and published about 3 versions of them, Inside This Earthen Vessel (ISEV) was one version wherein I did the layout of the poems in the shape of pots and when DJ saw them he suggested we collaborate on the letterpress version which he would print. Those prints of the poems are now quite famous. Back in 2014 The Poetry Library at Southbank exhibited their copy in the Open Show of that year. They were recently (June 2017) exhibited at Bath Spa uni as part of their symposium on Concrete Poetry.

I did do a ‘concrete poem’ with the names of the G BATCH, actually more a log poem:

a gbatch concrete poem sm
Look carefully and you’ll see the names carved onto the logs.

Nowadays the bark is dropping off so I am going to recut the names a little deeper into the trunks to add to the poem’s lifespan along with some clarity.

Here’s some images of the Tenzin Gyatso (Dalai Lama) one when it was first cut.

a gyatso log stands
In my log poem I put his name where the T is in Batch. I s’pose I can recut the name as Tenzin?

 

a gyatso log cut
Tenzin Gyatso is the Dalai Lama’s name.

 

 

 

 

 

Bath Spa ‘Beyond Words’

‘Making Beyond Words’ Symposium at Corsham Court 16-17th June 2017

kayla rose

Dr. Kayla Rose said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their participation at Making Beyond Words at Corsham Court [Bath Spa University] this past weekend. It was a great day for us, with an incredibly high standard of work from our speakers and exhibitors, as well as fantastic engagement from all who attended.

Creativity and collaboration are at the heart of what we do here and we are inspired by your passion for word, image and concrete poetry.” and

“Thanks to Michael Pennie, who, along with Fiona Cassidy, put together an absolutely fabulous exhibition.”

a programme

I loved the wonderful programme booklet designed so exquisitely by Matthew Robertson & beautifully printed by Ripe Digital. I adore the way the numbers have been placed on pages, will use that in ma work one day. I love the black, grey and orange used to print the words and the layout with all the white space. Quite simply, it’s beautifully designed.

It set the scene as John Strachan opened the symposium and Stephen Bann delivered the Keynote lecture on the late Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work in Concrete poetry and other forms. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/nov/16/ian-hamilton-finlay-concrete-poetry

The following day was full of good talks, the great exhibition in which was my poem cycle ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ letterpress printed by David Jury and referred to in the programme by Michael Pennie amongst ‘the other treasures’, [thanks Michael, and Josie Reed and Fiona Cassidy for the hanging with the lovely cover page looking like a nose!]

isev at corsham court 2 sm

Our prints were hung alongside some of the ‘greats’ in the field including Dom Silvester Houedard, ‘…the leading theorist of the concrete poetry movement’ and b s johnson, what an honour.

a houedard + basho sm

 Now let my photos take you through the days;

 charles vereyCharles Verey

Who is working towards a biography about Dom Silvester Houedard (aka DSH) did the first talk and began to fill in my missing knowledge about the man who said

‘a poet is someone…

whose art matter is LANGUAGE…

communication by the ‘langue’

the tongue…

by any means WHATSOEVER.’

[Which would by corollary include spoken word or even sound, like the sound poems of Henry Chopin & Kurt Schwitters. /sonic experiments like http://avant.org/artifact/liz-phillips/%5D

viv

Viviane Carvalho da Annunciacao talked about the work of  The Noigandres group in Brazil and its relations with Scottish poetartists like Ian Hamilton Finlay & Edwin Morgan. [The Noigandres group, which takes its name from a neologism* found in an Ezra Pound poem, was formed in 1952 by the Sao Paolo poets Haroldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, and Décio Pignitari. * a newly coined word or expression.]

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Nicola Simpson

Talked about Houedard’s collaboration with students at Bath Spa uni. On how she has found some of the beautiful work done back then tucked away in people’s garages.

mitch

Tim (Mitch) Fletcher

I had a nice chat with ‘Mitch’ before he spoke and it turns out he values the work of Henri Chopin https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/feb/05/poetry.culture    whose work was beautifully displayed at Firstsite in Colchester some years ago. Mitch thought that Ingatestone is out in the sticks like Camulodunum but I informed him that no it’s a Ingatestone’s throw frae Londinium.

He gave a great intro to the work of the much missed at this symposium John Furnival which has come not a moment too late to flag up the need to rescue so much of the work done by the early practitioners in Concrete poetry and related media.

Whilst Chopin was creating his merveilleux (marvelous) Typewriter poems (also known as dactylopoèmes) Furnival & Davies were making ‘Feelie Boxes’ which are kinda scary cos they put stuff in boxes into which you couldn’t see but were asked to place your hands to discover ‘things’ with differing surface texture. There was nought sinister about em, they were in fact reminiscent of surrealist boxes like those of Max Ernst and Joseph Cornell (who died in 1972). Furnival & Davies also collaborated on electro-acoooustic music and unusual score-sheets after the style of John Cage.

My immediate feeling for music of any kind is that I love to hear much of it but am no ‘player’, however Cage mage it possible for anyone to ‘make music’. [Did you know that Velvet Underground’s John Cale spent time working for/with Cage?]

I missed the Roundtable discussion because I exercised my right to go out for walkies to a second hand shop I saw the night before and I bought a beautiful Corgi toy car model of the Vanwall racer http://www.grandprixhistory.org/vanwall.htm which Stirling Moss drove in when I were a youngster. As I walked down the road I thought to myself that exercising this privilege was not my habit in my college and school days, but I wished I had, then I may have missed many a boring lecture some of which are mentioned in my new A4 Shrewd Idiot book which is about my student days from 1969-73 exactly coinciding with much of the early work discussed and treasured by this symposium. I was touched, nay tainted, by many of the influences that the early concrete poets were looking to. [I had to mention it (A4SI) didn’t I, cos I can! Much more about it in ma next blArt. Like Neil Young, “I’m still living the dream we had, for me it’s not over.”]

Leandro Maia

Did a great talk assisted by his own song and constant movement about the influence of Concrete Poetry on popular Brazilian song. I loved his solo rendition of Palavra Nao e Coisa. I took a copy (which am yet to pay for, it’s very good, am hearing it for the first time right now, then I’ll get in contact with Leandro to settle up) of his Palavreio cd on which he shows his virtuoso skills on instruments, voice and electronics. I’d like to get access to those footpedals he uses, one records it live the other puts it on repeat and projects the sound…wow, let me get my hands on one of them!

leandro Maia gear tiny

I’m afraid I am going to flash thru the last couple of talks as my time has run out.

mike collier

Conor Wilson

Did an interesting talk on how the maker & audience might become an object among objects…’ and how his poem, A Game of JUG is influenced by the image-text-ground playing field of concrete.

conor wilson

Mike Collier

Did a talk on how he walks the ‘urban Edgelands’ and has created WALK-‘Walking, Art, Landskip & Knowledge’

tom clark

Tom Clark

Gave us more info about subtle use of positioning words & white space on pages of books to create different interpretations.

As I had a heads up from John Strachan that Tom Clark (Thomas A. Clark * http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/thomas-clark ) is ‘one of the best’ I took notes during his talk.

He began showing a fairly traditionally layed out poem with ‘default set at left margin justified’

‘writing is a fluid ongoing activity, making is a static process’

He shows a four line poem, ‘distributed or constellated in space which can enter intimately into the whole sense of the poem’, then he shows ‘extensions of the stanza break(s)’ with ‘space & Time for perception’ where ‘the (white) space is of value’. So we see two double page spreads with the firsthaving a blank page left and the four line verse top of the right hand page, then the second spread having (say) a six line verse to left and a 3 line verse to right side.

He then showed a book with a poem in which comprised double spreads with just one word to right hand page, ‘flowing’ and the poem was about a river which flows, indicated by one word every other page.

“My (Moschatel) Press has been an investigation into presentation as an aspect of form.  A book is as a glade, a bright space in a forest.” He mentions his publishing of post card(poem)s. Talks of the no need to ‘Blow a whole poem up big on a wall’ Because, ‘You only misunderstand the opportunity…No…Only use small texts’. I think he means that postcard size is just as, maybe more, powerful than making BIG for the sake of it, just because you can.

http://thomasaclarkblog.blogspot.co.uk/

“In 1973, with the artist Laurie Clark, he started Moschatel Press. At first a vehicle for small publications by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Cid Corman, Jonathan Williams, Simon Cutts and others, it soon developed into a means of formal investigation within his own poetry, treating the book as imaginative space, the page as a framing device or as quiet around an image or a phrase, the turning of pages as revelation or delay.

From 1986, Laurie and Thomas A Clark have run Cairn Gallery, one of the earliest of ‘artist-run spaces’” Scottish Poetry Library.

christina slade2

Then John Strachan invited Christina Slade to close proceedings and we had to scarper the premises so that the peacocks could return to their peaceful haven uninterrupted.

a trampled liceSadly this ancient resident was trampled underfoot in the haste to leave.

m pennie + fiona cassidy maybe

(Photo of Michael Pennie & Fiona Cassidy is not mine I am grateful to the Net for it.)

Michael Pennie

Altho Michael Pennie did not speak from the front he spoke eloquently in his selection of the works on display in the beautiful exhibition [which must be the shortest lifespan of any I have ever witnessed (about 2 hours)] and which Fiona so ably assisted with the hanging.

I was so happy to see David’s wonderful letterpress prints referred to in Michael’s note in the programme as one of the treasures. He also made very affirming noises about the bound copy of the prints which I was showing Josie Reed. Thanks Michael, and Josie for suggesting our work to him.

Finally- During one of the morning talks I saw a slide which showed some old letterpress prints in which the maker in attempting to illustrate how the ‘sublime god displaces man(kind)’ using ‘disorientating typographical design’ had created a diagonal dagger like shape in a piece about, ‘the panther profecy’ (his spellin). I saw an incredible affinity between that print and the one David Jury had done of my Beuys Poem in our collaboration, Inside This Earthen Vessel.

dj's diagonal2David created the diagonal on his set up using a metal rod and he sawed the wooden letter in two to add to the concept of the jug being split asunder as it hits the floor a direct comparison with Beuys’ alleged crash. I was happy to see Josie Reed also noticed in the same panther page a synchronistic link to my Earthen Vessel analogy in the words ‘a Potter’s wheel’ printed some 100 years ago.

peacock majestic

And thanks to my long standing friends Gus & Linda Fraser for once again giving me a place to stay so I could attend this wonderful event.

IF you are in the Colchester area this Friday 30th June come and  join us at Firstsite gallery at 7.15 pm. I shall be reading a new poem based on my Appleheadman Sees screenprints from 1972. You’ll see that not much has changed, same old same old song of woe song of innocence song of hope.http://www.firstsite.uk/whats-on/reading-music-evening-educaid-sierra-leone/

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3 sculptors & me

A visit to a Giacometti and a Paolozzi show + Beuys book.

 

I was fortunate not to miss the Paolozzi (Paolo) exhibition at Whitechapel twice http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/eduardo-paolozzi/ because it was tremendous. Whilst in the bookshop there I succumbed to buy a book on Beuys which kind of added to the sculpture sweep because I also went on to the Giacometti (Giaco) at Tate Modern http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/giacometti  which is even better but the two are linked because Paolo would undoubtedly have been aware of and influenced by Giaco’s incredible works. Each of the 3 artists I mention gives a perspective to ‘art’ worth considering and the 3 together for me give a broad vista of possible approaches which for sure inspire me a lot.

To me Giaco’s art is as pure as the snow that surrounds his home in Switzerland, his was a dedication to an ancient method, he worked and reworked his materials and models ad infinitum. Paolo also worked his materials and added new exciting dimensions to sculpture after he stopped merely mimicking Picasso et al. and of course the ex-Luftwaffe Beuy extended the possible materials and contexts in which we can work.

Personally I need no more than these three and I am inspired for the rest of my days.

  1. Giaco reminds me of my first aim when I decided to become an artist which was to perfect my abilities in paint, print & sculpture. Before I left school I had been taught by David Wild about the Slade school’s techniques of drawing in paint pioneered by Coldstream and also shown ways of applying paint to draw a model from life in a lively way influenced by David’s hero Paul Cezanne. My heroes at the time were Van Gogh & Matisse whose colour and flat fields infiltrated my own work which rapidly headed off into Expressionism in Kokoshka, Munch, Soutine, Otto Dix etc. but I had been schooled in the need to ‘draw’ and I drew by doing loose loose line and mark and colour then pulling it in like reigning a wild horse to regain control then off again on the rampage til pulling it back again. This led me to producing work some compared with Auerbach but I had never heard of him yet I had been influenced by his teacher Bomberg and a man called Haagensen. And of course Feliks Topolski.

Now if you take the last 3 and then look at Giaco’s works you will see why I consider him to be a painting master. He pulled the paint around as if it were clay and his move into 3D work was an organic shift where he merely continued to do in clay that which he was so adept in when painting- creating work which existed in the moment yet lasted forever.

  1. Paolo went to visit artists like Giacometti & Brancusi on his trips to Paris. Having met the likes of Topolski and Josef Herman myself I know first-hand how the older master can inspire confidence and point tward future potentials with just a few words. Paolo would have seen the collage work of the Dadaists, particularly Schwitters and Ernst which he picked up on and took into his graphic & sculptural works. The screenprints from the 1970s on display at Whitechapel gave me an opportunity to see first hand prints which had inspired me during my own student days. The prints which quote Wittgenstein were a logical conclusion of his cut and paste of 1950s comics & mags but altogether more sophisticated. Although I was rather limited by the rank facilities at my (teachers training) college and could not aspire to doing 20-30 colour pulls I did add silver & gold to my ink colour spectrum on my Henley series, which was also influenced by Richard Hamilton & Barnett Newman.

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Altho I liked his robot like found object sculpture of the 1960s it was his later portrait heads that really blew me away. I loved the way he cut and pasted in 3D using parts of heads and jutting other shapes into them.

3 heads sm

Image taken at Whitechapel show

His figures take on a presence similar to those of Giacos.

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Image taken at Whitechapel show

  1. I bought Claudia Mesch’s book about Joseph Beuys which is filling in lots of gaps in my knowledge about him. I love the way Paolo pushed the boundaries but Beuys went even further. Watch out because now my Shrewd Idiot series is about complete and ready for sales I feel the urge to return to my physical making of 3D objects. Starting with some reworkings of my head of my late father.a v gud bird an full jak sm

 

 

Be my Homeward Dove

‘Lift me like an olive branch

Be my Homeward Dove’

Leonard Cohen

Poet

a-homeward-dove
Be my Homeward Dove

On Friday night I took part in a series of readings for EducAid in Colchester Sixth form college. The main contribution was my Beuys ‘Sliding thru Eurasia’ poym. However I want to read one of Cohen’s pieces if given the time.

Thanks to Jim Pey for giving me the opportunity to ‘perform’ last night  and my friends Richard & Shelley who joined me and really seemed to enjoy the evening of poems & readings in Colchester on behalf of EducAid. http://www.educaid.org.uk/

This is from my Inside This Clay Jug poems.

Here he comes now over the hill! Sliding … Gliding…

Joseph Beuys with his Celtic roots

Sweeping…and…

Dancing down the backbone of England

Along the Pennine Way

 

Please “Don’t mention the War”

(in which)

He served the Luftwaffe in the air up there

(appropriate bomber diving sounds)

We each of us has a cross to bear

 

He says he piloted a Stuka bomber

Then he all fell down and broke his crown.

He went flying from the cock-pit and cracked his skull

Maybe that was what loosened his slates?

 

So who were these mysterious ‘Tartar Shamans’

Who pulled him from the burning wreck?

They were Siberian nomads

Who wrapped him up in felt and fat

Which later on he used for sculpture, just like that!

 

Swooping… down to Poland on a sled

In his waistcoat with his homburg on his head

He alone put the wrongs of the 3rd Reich to bed

 

‘Join up’ he told Eurasia… ‘Show me your friendly nature’

 

‘Everyone can be an artist’ (don’t you know?)

‘Just let your honey in all directions flow

Draw yourself in to the spiral vor…text

Why don’t you come with me little man On My Magic Blackboard Ride

 

Meet up with Hermann Hesse

Fellow Wanderer on the mountain paths

Dancing down the Backbone of Italy

Along the Appennine Way

 

We are not humans We are dancers

Swirling and whirling

Along the road down Destiny’s Inscrutable Was

It was lovely to see some of the audience smiling as I moved thru mi Beuys ‘poym’ “Explaining Beuys To A Dead Woodpecker”. Funny as you look around when you’re doing summat like that. There’s a nervousness at trying to remember the words and the nuances, yet nowadays I feel can bring in some of the audience with a little look. I try to gauge reaction/interest, altho it’s never a perfect science, I think I am learning to ‘read’ an audience better. That allows me to stay with something that’s ‘working’ and move quickly on if it isn’t.

“Dance Me To The End Of Love” Len Cohen

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone

Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon

Show me slowly what I only know the limits of

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born

Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn

Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in

Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove

Dance me to the end of love

I did my take on reading the above song as a poem  and I thought it wonderful how a couple of the other participants recounted their Len Cohen experiences reflected against my story of not seeing the man, whereas they had! It was not so much a mourning as a real delight in what he stood for and emanated with a panache and quite grace. I agree with the last speaker who said that he, on having the opportunity to meet and speak with LC, said thru a post event party-champagne haze, that Len was good no matter what others may think. It still applies. I loved when he did Glastonbury and gained thousands of new fans. Here he sings ‘Anthem’- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJSlpEb_jFk

There’s a poignant story about the girl in his song Marianne which is told in the Telegraph Obituary on 19.8.2016 about Cohen’s erstwhile love Marianne Ihlen who “spent her time since 1979 working in the personnel department of an oil company, painting and exploring Tibetan Buddhism.She remained in touch with Cohen, though when he performed in Oslo in 2010, she attended the concert without going backstage. But she sensed that he knew she was there.

When Cohen heard that Marianne was dying of leukaemia, he wrote to her: “Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom … but now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Now he can join her again without hurting anyone as we are all destined to travel down the inscrutable road of destiny, one day.

I was lucky to get tickets to see Dave McKean at the Tate Brit on Sunday 13th doing his Black Dog gig and talk . I am hoping to be able to get some more live images of him. Here’s one of the results from last time I saw him.

saint-d-mack-sm
St Dave

Leonard Cohen, I have been a fan since someone compared my artworks to his sad songs in a derogatory way in about 1976. I love his use of words. The way he counterbalanced beauty and high note with the beast and his low tones.

 

During my previous incarnation as a teacher I managed to ‘sing’ his ‘Dance me to the end of love’ to an entrapped audience of other teachers (they deserved it!). Luckily my assistant was a young Canadian who could sing well. Half way thru the ‘performance’ the Head of Science stole the show by dancing into the centre of the stage dressed in a tutu. I think Leonard would have smiled benignly!

Which he’s doing now, looking back at the human pace.

leonard-cohen-sm
Len Cohen drawn in 2008

Shalom & Namaste! 

 

LC was born a Jew and later adopted Buddhist monk Sasaki Roshi as his mentor.

https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/zenord.html

all images ©pete kennedy 2016

my likes, influences and all dat stuff

I guess as more folk get into this blArt they’ll wish to know wat meks me thick? It took a long time to get dis bad, so here is a big potty hisStory of my main likes. Manaste Yorbaste

apulhed tinking

I thought you may like to see this, a past article ‘published’ on canongate’s meet at the gate. I hope it all comes up in the blog on Sun Oct 19, 2008 09:00 PM GMT and posted on this blArt about a year ago, when I were ony 62!

I am an artist/writer living in the Essex countryside. I have had 20 exhibitions in Essex since 1978 and one in Burnley, my home town.

My life as an artist began at Todmorden Road Junior school at the bottom of Lyndhurst Road in Burnley when I tried (vainly) to copy the ships, cars & horses that my friends, Steve Hezzlewood and Roy Gidley, drew. Before I left junior school I wrote a piece about the reincarnation of two donkeys which I called Jack & Jenny in respect to my parents whose nicknames were the same- my life as an off-beat writer had started.

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