Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Things Begin To Happen

Today in an email update from Quail Ridge Books, I learned about Lynd Ward, master wood engraver, whose novel, GODS' MAN: A NOVEL IN WOODCUTS(Dover $8.95) was told without words, and which sold 20,000 copies even though it was released during the week of the 1929 stock market crash. "Do you think all graphic novels involve costumed superheroes? Before Batman....before Superman...., there was Gods' Man, a novel told entirely in woodcuts." Stories of this man and the context which shaped him (Methodist minister father, Chicago politics, activist of social agendas, Leipzig and German expressionism.....) are interesting, including his words through which he tells of his way of becoming an artist in society. The human story - resilience, beauty, strength, courage, the ethical values of our human nature - is timeless and always inspiring and mind-stimulating.

Lynd Ward, the master wood engraver, produced a remarkable body of work. From 1929 to 1937 he produced six novels in wood engravings. No words detracted from his strong images. All plot and characters sprang from the curl of a wood shaving pulled away from the endgrain of a wood block. Even today, Ward's sense of humanity cuts as sharply as his graver's tool. The images are sensuous. The stark black and white lines are pure ink and paper, you feel that nothing is hidden. The emotional appeal surprises; it feels primal. There are no words to dilute the story. Lynd Ward's novels seem fresh and current today.

I hope you'll visit their links.

I love such expressions - "all plot and characters sprang from the curl of a wood shaving pulled away from the endgrain of a wood block." I've been reminded in many ways lately of how life springs from such simple curls, moments, wisps of thought, of breeze. We bought some flowers over the weekend which now live on the patio, and each day I think of them, look at them and study their life in moments. The petunias, lantana,portulaca, verbena, lilies - I've had to slow down as the heat rises and the moments require new thinking about life and change. Nothing is hidden - each level of teeming life in infinite images reveals itself as I acknowledge the energy of life. As Ward once wrote of his images, "Soon there is movement and things begin to happen."

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