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Kraszewski & Lewis – August 2022

Eleanor Lewis and Gracjan A. Soren-Bjorn Kraszewski traded art and words. Eleanor shared this untitled image with Gracjan:

In response, Gracjan wrote this story:

On Artists and Robots

It was the colors that did it for me, rather, did it to me. I saw it, one image, and I was happy. I felt disencumbered, at relax moreso than relaxed or in the action of relaxing. A painting, best taken in looking up, skyward, an explosion, upwards, color, colors, as if so much sun-soaked Iowa corn on the open American plains had saturated past tolerable levels and so raised itself, not by itself, but by the talent of its designer’s-self, and there’s 1/5 proofs here we go, raised itself up to the sky, the sun, off the aforementioned American plains every bit as beautiful as snow covered peaks, as the cold fresh streams following there off from, as the ocean and all its uncountable droplets which yes, and especially yes, if we mean like I just said Iowa, like I will say now, Nebraska, like I could say, Kansas, went bottle rocket shaken soda up, up, up, poof and sizzle like a geyser the sun off the ground into the sun in the sky and you just lay back down now and look up—at relax—and you smile and you feel good and you get it and get even more than what you bargained for, haggled for like in a Teheran bazaar, expected to get, and that’s when you might even get it all; it.

But so therefore: every now and then the most pedantic among us will protest that athletes and entertainers make more than doctors and teachers, the latter two but two examples in a larger collection of what these people deem to be underpaid and underappreciated professions all the more so grotesquely undervalued when juxtaposed against those they claim are overpaid, overvalued, and feverishly, meaning without reflective reasoning but rather simply from passionate attachment, supported non-essential perhaps detrimental ‘games’ and ‘playtime sub-juvenile hijinks’ wholly undeserving of the appellations ‘job,’ ‘profession,’ ‘career,’ ‘serious,’ ‘work.’ 

They are wrong.

They are fond of pithy slogans like ‘Doctors save lives. Sports waste them.’ ‘Teachers educate the young in reality. Actors absolve the young of real contributions to society.’ Even the slogans themselves, that second one especially, are so obnoxiously schoolmarmish it takes a Kierkegaardian leap of faith to come to the conclusion that people can be so impossibly, past the point of pointing out the flaws in their system with an old fashioned wooden blackboard pointer, I might add, insufferable. 

They are wrong. 

Continue reading…   

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Gracjan shared this story with Eleanor:

Chernobyl on the Palouse; or, Любовь и Искупление в свете трагедии на Черно́быльской АЭС

It’s unsurprising Stéphanie Dupasquier never came here. KTO, télévision catholique francophone, rarely covers American angles. Beloved by the French faithful and fallen away alike, it is also unsurprising that Mme. Dupasquier became a household name to American Catholics. Even here, on the Palouse, a small patch of pristine soil and sky in an overlooked corner of the Pacific Northwest. Pat’s grandmother loved Stéphanie Dupasquier, even wrote her a letter inviting her to film an episode of the show Églises du Monde in Pullman. It didn’t work out. But Mme. Dupasquier sent her a very nice, personal response along with a signed picture of herself. Pat saw the framed photo so many times in his grandmother’s house as a boy that Stéphanie Dupasquier eventually became more family than real family, decidedly more recognizable than some distant aunt or third cousin removed from whoever. Those people lived hundreds of miles way. Stéphanie Dupasquier lived in his grandmother’s kitchen. 

You can reach said kitchen via the Moscow-Pullman Highway, comprised of ID-8 and WA-270. All the rolling slopes of wheat and lentils, even they can’t be contaminated by the occasional side of the road salvage shops airing all their dirty laundry in the form of broken down and well rusted carburetors, defenestrated car doors, thin and thick split windshields and so many tires everywhere being enveloped by broken glass and burnt glass begging to be further smashed down into nothing pressed and squished tightly against chain-link fencing the very links in the chain-link daring driverbys to guess, go ahead, guess which one is the weak link and could, at any moment, spill its contents onto this carefully paved, scenic, winding road.  

WA-270 goes right into the heart of downtown Pullman, which consists exclusively of one, one-way street. Main Street is a glorious street, especially in late fall when the city drapes lights over the trees that line its trace in between the high hills that ring the town, the road set low like the Colorado River carving out the Grand Canyon while here, in Pullman, one can take Main Street out to Grand Ave. and circle the town and its hills time and again in an experience comparable to joyriding the Viennese Ringstraße under a nachsommer twilight sky. Quite a few buildings on Main Street solely stand to demarcate the not coffee shops from the coffee shops.

One of these is a restaurant named Black Cypress. Food’s good, but who cares compared to legend of Lars Michaelson? Michaelson worked at Black Cypress many years ago. He was good at his job, bartending and half-helping manage the joint, and liked it enough to start adding skills both of the intrinsically artistic and financially beneficial sort. He became a master sommelier and, liking the golden froth no less than the pressed grapes, a master cicerone in short order afterwards. 

Continue reading…

In response, Eleanor made this image, titled “Chernobyl on the Palouse”:

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