Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Confession Tuesday, The Critic's Edition

Moses by Michelangelo in the St. Peter's in Chains church (San Pietro in Vincoli) in Rome, Italy

Dear Readers,

I confess this will be last confession until September. I'll do my best to do things I can confess. I confess I am only a risk taker on paper. As a child, I wanted my Camp Fire Girl name to be Kekoa because it meant "courageous one." I think what we love in others we want to find in ourselves. So maybe this summer I'll be Kekoa, or maybe I'll just be Kelli (which stands for "Warrior Woman.") Or maybe I'll find my adventure on paper, or by horseback, or the geysers of the world.

To the confessional!

I'm still planning on a writing shed and am even a little more inspired about it today. There's a lot of cutting and building to do, but there's also a lot of summer to do it in.


I read Billy Logan's review of Ted Kooser's poems and I felt as if Logan had just put on his big boy pants and wandered out onto the playground again. If anyone believes a well-written review includes a sentence like this--

"Just when I thought that Kooser didn’t have a brain in his head, however, he surprised me."

then you've just been Punk'd. Trust me dear Reader, when a critic is trying to be so entertaining that he pulls out his whoopee cushion and hand buzzer, there's a desperate need to noticed and not in that good outstanding glad-you're-part-of-society way, but in the "I'm getting old, insecure, and need a Corvette so you overlook my inadequacies way" he's likely to wear the Ego Trip jock strap along with the Self-Important sweat bands off to band camp just so we can overlook his broken flute.

And how simple not to like Ted Kooser's Valentine's poems, I mean, people can actually understand them so they can't be good. This is like criticizing the moon for being too romantic, for showing up uninvited and routinely every night. I want to like Billy, but he's always eating paste in the back of the room and that doesn't sit well with me. Paste is not good for anyone.

But the positive of this review is that people love a car wreck, so perhaps this show of cleverness will sell a few more books for Kooser. And in this case I find no fault in Kooser's driving as he's just been hit by the showy Corvette. You see, I own one of the first copies printed by Brooding Heron Press here in Washington and when this crash occurred, I ran first to the pick-up truck to help Ted (who actually needs no help) and not the Corvette with wheels spinning and the driving shouting, "Did you see what I just did?" Of course we did, you've got your radio blaring.

Yes, I confess I read Billy Logan because I had to see what he would say, just as I would watch the class clown fart around with a paperclip and an electrical outlet with the slight hope that maybe he'd get a zap himself-- same paperclip, different day.


If what I dislike in others is what I dislike in myself, then I too need to find the good in others as much as possible. Wag more. Bark less.


I recently saw a bumpersticker that said "Cheney/Satan 2008" and it made me laugh. This completely negates my statement above. I guess I should say Satan a nice tail.


And speaking of parts of a devil, I chose the above photo because it was my favorite Michelangelo sculpture I saw in Rome. What did I love about it? The horns. Why? Because when Michelangelo was translating "the radiance of the Lord", there was a similarity in the Hebrew between the word for "beams of light" and "horns." His carving was created from a mistranslation.

I've read others say the horns represent "beams of light" because there was really no good way to show beams of light in marble, but I tend to believe it was mistranslation as I don't think Michelangelo would have carved (or painted) the sun with horns to show its radiance. Satan sun.

I think his depiction of Moses, horns and all, adds a little normalcy to a man we love to call genius. If a genius can end up making Moses look like the devil and we call it radiance, there is hope for all of us in all aspects of our life and our own creations. Our imperfections are what create our beauty and our uniqueness. Never want that perfect nose or flawless skin, there's splendor in our horns.


Billy, I'd love you for your horns alone, but my heart belongs to Ted.





  1. And I thought I was the only one who called him Billy!

    Incidentally, I've just posted a rare, never-before-seen poem of Mr. Logan's on my blog...

  2. I don't like it when critics use backhanded insults and call it criticism. That's not talent or skill, that's the sure sign of someone out of touch.

    Now I must go out and by my Cheney/Satam 2008 bumper sticker.


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