Sunday, March 19, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings (week 163)

Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.

That's an admirable goal, but for the purposes of this excercise, we're just hoping to have a little fun with the technique. Each week I'll post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind.

"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. AND you don't have to have your words up on Sunday. Take all week if you want! Read the FAQ for more information.

  1. Sugar rush:: Commercial break during March Madness

  2. Chemical::Addiction

  3. Suspension:: School

  4. Defending:: My opinion

  5. Conference:: Call

  6. Dance:: Like nobody's watching

  7. Weather:: Is it Spring yet?

  8. Fuel:: Fan the flames

  9. Heartbreak:: Hotel

  10. Insult:: Put Down

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gordon Parks 11/30/1912-3/7/2006

"My experience--though I would never wish it upon anyone else--has helped make me whatever I am and still hope to be. . .I have come to understand that hunger, hatred, and love are the same wherever you find them, and it is that understanding that now helps me escape the past that once imprisoned me." - Gordon Parks, A Choice of Weapons

Gordon Parks, photographer, filmmaker, poet, composer and novelist, died March 7th. This is his obituary from the Associated Press:

Gordon Parks, who captured the struggles and triumphs of black America as a photographer for Life magazine and then became Hollywood's first major black director with "The Learning Tree" and the hit "Shaft," died Tuesday, a family member said. He was 93. Parks, who also wrote fiction and was an accomplished composer, died in New York, his nephew, Charles Parks, said in a telephone interview from Lawrence, Kan."Nothing came easy," Parks wrote in his autobiography. "I was just born with a need to explore every tool shop of my mind, and with long searching and hard work. I became devoted to my restlessness." He covered everything from fashion to politics to sports during his 20 years at Life, from 1948 to 1968. But as a photographer, he was perhaps best known for his gritty photo essays on the grinding effects of poverty in the United States and abroad and on the spirit of the civil rights movement. "Those special problems spawned by poverty and crime touched me more, and I dug into them with more enthusiasm," he said. "Working at them again revealed the superiority of the camera to explore the dilemmas they posed." In 1961, his photographs in Life of a poor, ailing Brazilian boy named Flavio da Silva brought donations that saved the boy and purchased a new home for him and his family. "The Learning Tree" was Parks' first film, in 1969. It was based on his 1963 autobiographical novel of the same name, in which the young hero grapples with fear and racism as well as first love and schoolboy triumphs. Parks wrote the score as well directed. In 1989, "The Learning Tree" was among the first 25 American movies to be placed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The registry is intended to highlight films of particular cultural, historical or aesthetic importance. The detective drama "Shaft," which came out in 1971 and starred Richard Roundtree, was a major hit and spawned a series of black-oriented films. Parks himself directed a sequel, "Shaft's Big Score," in 1972. He also published books of poetry and wrote musical compositions including "Martin," a ballet about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

I wrote the following tribute to Mr. Parks for his on-line guest book at
In the early 70's I was young white girl in junior high when I read the autobiographical 'A Choice of Weapons' written by Mr. Parks. Since a great deal of the book takes place in the Twin Cities, I thought it was 'neat' because I lived not far from some of the landmarks described in it. But it also opened my eyes to the greater world around me. To understand what the previous generation endured in the Great Depression if you were not rich or middle class to begin with. To realize that not everyone goes to bed with a roof over their head, that not everyone has the same chance at landing a job, that we can choose how we react to situations in our lives which seem beyond our control. That each of us has 'A Choice of Weapons'. Since that time I have long admired Mr. Parks.

What makes this occurance especially poignant for me is he died one day after former Minnesota Twins player and Baseball Hall of Fame member, Kirby Puckett. (3/14/60-3/6/06)
The media were so caught up in Puckett's death, there was hardly any mention at all for Gordon Parks. The St. Paul Pioneer Press had a small article the day after, and that appears to be all they did--although I admit I don't always read the full paper cover to cover. But Kirby---he was all over the front page, the local section, the sports page, they published a special section commemorating his life. Ironic, is it. When Gordon Park was born, no black man (yes, I know the politically correct phrase is African-American; but I went to an inner-city high school. No one used that phrase) was allowed to play on a baseball team. He lived lived during the tumultuous Civil Rights movement of the 1950's and 60's. Mr. Parks was a gifted photographer. He taught himself how to take use a camera and take great pictures. He was the first black fashion photographer, working for Vogue magazine. He later became the first black photographer to join the staff of Life magazine. He wrote had several photography techniques, at least one is still considered to be basic reading for photography courses. He was also a gifted writer and poet, one of his books Half Past Autumn is a retrospect containing nearly 300 of his photographs.

Don't get me wrong. I love baseball. I much admired Kirby Puckett. He was a great player and always had a great smile and a lot of enthusiasm for the game. But I just wish that at least locally, more people realize that Minnesota lost two great icons this past week.

The guy who takes a chance, who walks the fine line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed." -Gordon Parks