If the life in the word “adventure” still lived there, it would have made a good theme for this issue. By way of illustration, let’s look at a condensed version of its derivation. From Online Etymology we get, adventure: (c.1200) “that which happens by chance, fortune, luck; to come to, arrive at.” Earlier it also meant “a wonder, a miracle, accounts of marvelous things.”
This description applies generously to the content gathered here, but instead of “adventure,” we arrived at unscripted journeys
as our theme. It’s a great fit, and still has some life in it.
This issue really began with my conversation with painter Craig Nagasawa, and the process of our exchange was itself an unscripted journey. It’s what a good conversation is—old things can take on more clarity and sometimes new things are seen.
This particular conversation was a long time in the making. I met Craig while his wife, artist Irene Pijoan, was still alive, but his life was soon turned upside down by her death. We published some of Craig’s paintings in 2007 along with the remarkable interview I’d done with his wife not long before her death. I’m sure this contributed to my feeling of connection with Craig. And there’s the great respect that consulting editor Jane Rosen holds for Nagasawa, who she met while she was also on the art faculty at UCB.
It must have been five years ago that I ran into Craig and casually asked him what he was up to. He’d embarked on a new direction, he said. He was grinding his own pigments in the old Japanese traditional way—a very slow process. I was intrigued, but sensed some time needed to pass to see whether this direction would take root. Then, maybe a year ago, I was checking my fb page, when I noticed that Craig had posted the startling image of a recent painting. Godzilla! (Gojira
in Japanese). I knew it was time for an interview
Last issue we featured LA playwright Murray Mednick. Now we have Ana Valdes Lim.
I don’t know if it means readers can expect more theater in these pages or not. Actor, director, dancer and dynamic catalyst, Ana Lim is working wonders in Manila, and our conversation traces her amazing, unscripted story. If these first two representatives of theater are a sign of things to come, we’re all in.
Next we come to Bill Chamberlain
. Writing these notes just reminds me of how each new issue is like an empty treasure chest—and it has to be filled with gems. This piece whispered to me from a little article in a local weekly, ”Computer Entrepreneur Turns Fine Art Sleuth.” It was a quick read, and I knew it had only scratched the surface. This is one of the more unlikely journeys I’ve run across. Just to give a hint, here’s Chamberlain speaking: “So, I’m in Uno’s (Uno Vallman) little studio in old Stockholm. Uno pulls this wooden box out and says, ‘Well, my friend from California, I’d like to show you this.’ He sets it down in front of me. Now, bear in mind, I knew nothing
about Paul Gauguin then. Nothing! All Uno said was, ‘Do you think you can find out if I can sell it?’”
Then Tom Madison contacted us regarding an article he’d written “about a clay artist, Lucy Clark, studying at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.” A regional publication in North Carolina had turned it down, he explained, because “it’s too much about New Mexico.” And magazines in New Mexico wouldn’t take it because “it’s too much about North Carolina.”
I was curious and asked him to send it my way. When I read the first two sentences, I knew I’d found another treasure: “Artist Lucy Clark stood on a dirt
road facing the main plaza of a tiny Indian pueblo in north-central New Mexico. The North Carolina-based potter had traveled to San Ildefonso, home of her creative idol, the late pueblo potter Maria Martinez, on this final day of a three-week workshop she was completing at nearby Ghost Ranch.”
And I want to mention another piece here, an excerpt from a conversation with Janessa Gans Wilder. Janessa was getting her master’s degree at Stanford and, during a career day on campus, decided to talk with some people from the CIA. What she heard appealed to her sense of adventure and service. It was indeed a fateful moment. Having requested a posting in Iraq, she found herself in the middle of a war. Her experience there led to something quite special.
It’s like that. And there’s more. Welcome to #36. –rw