Downstairs, My Landlord Must Be Dead | Or, ‘We all create by looking back’

 

Downstairs, my old Italian landlord is listening to his incredibly loud television. I’m trying to be considerate and just think through it. The pace of the program is non-stop and I have a deadline. From nowhere, there is a hard surf guitar riff to exit commercial break that allows me to think of a serendipitous 
moment in which one of my friends went to a skateboard company’s halloween party dressed immaculately like the screaming hand of Jim Phillips. If she didn’t win the door-prize, she should have. It was an immaculate costume. Downstairs the show begins again. We forge ahead. At the same time as seeing my friends costume, I had been studying the very similar form in the image which accompanies this article. The 18 x 12 inch bronze statue from 1913: Auguste Rodin’s, “The Mighty Hand / Clenched Right Hand.”

As a fan of sculpture and art history, I am fulfilling my duty to study the giant’s shoulders upon which I hope to stand (for better grip under foot, stronger pads to launch from, a better board with which to faithlessly leap… yikes) and I was studying Rodin. Seeing the piece, I could only think about skating. I could only see the screaming fucking hand of Jim Phillips in ‘Clenched Right Hand.’ From downstairs all the Italian starts to make sense but for no more than a split second. It fades away and I shake my head. I asked my friend who went to the party as the perfectly replicated hand if she knew who Rodin was. She didn’t.

Rodin must smile, born again somehow. Other than the hand, Rodin is also the sculptor of the famous ‘Thinker’ which many people are born recognizing. If you don’t, it’s a relatively muscular man sitting on a rock with his chin on his hand, just sitting there thinking (a character depicted as Dante gazing down into Rodin’s unfinished ‘Gates Of Hell’ (circa 1880-1890) (Rodin said of The Thinker: “The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator.”) While being able to speak Italian, I can’t help considering Jim Phillips as Rodin reincarnated or at least as his reincarnator. Furthermore, I comprendere Stefan Janoski as a new Dr. Seuss or Lewis Carroll tearing the walls of imagination down with his bronze sculptures. Henri Matisse pushing colour, innocence and form, defying the chair and Gonz with the helmet on, never sitting still. I see Jason Adams heading back into the studio to hunch over his exacto knife, not quite cutting out an immaculate Fairey per se, but an interpretation of it in the form of his friends, heroes, compatriots, contemporaries. Unlike skateboarding, all of these thinkers are communicating using forms older than themselves. Forms that have been well established and are easy to understand. Skateboarding isn’t that easy to understand, especially when compared with bronze, paint and the English language – which can all be blunt, malleable and easy to communicate with when wielded right, or simply wielded at all.

Downstairs, my Italian landlord must be dead. The stale hallway reeks and I can’t breathe and it all becomes too much to understand or focus through. My cognition can’t take it and just before my hand hits the hardwood like the business end of a broom-handle, the triplex falls silent save for my fingers finishing this actual sentence.

 

– Ben Wannamaker

 

 

 

I'm very pleased to announce that my freshman novel "Steal Away Golden Calf" is now available digitally for KOBO devices! (See the link attached for synopsis, purchasing details, page count and more. It's $9.99) One of One Copy House felt like it was a no-brainer to diversify the platforms on which the novel was released and although it was hard for my old soul to swallow, I've accepted that it pays to be media-literate and keep up with the times! #2017. Still, I can proudly vouch that print isn't dead and neither are independent publishers. Also, thanks for the support and thanks to everyone who helped us sell out of the first print run so fast! As a thank you, I have 5 personal print copies of the novel which will be signed and raffled off to a lottery consisting of the first 20 digital orders placed. Shipping will be free, as always. (Send a message to let me know you made the KOBO purchase to enter!) Good luck and thanks again! Here's the link: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/steal-away-golden-calf 🐂🐂🐂 #independent #publishing #canadian #writer #canadianartist #prose #literary #fiction #avantgarde #sardonic #absurd #philosophy #rebel #antihero #freshman #novel #StealAway #GoldenCalf 🐂🐂🐂 Huge #thanks to @robinoconn @papatrickster and @darylshaughnessy for all their help with the project, formatting for #KOBO and so much more. #OneOfOne #CopyHouse #PrintAintDead #LongLivePrint #Media #Literacy

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