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John Palcewski's Journal

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Sail Away
forioscribe




Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Schooner), 1931; collage, 4 ½ x 5 ¾ in.
(Collection June Schuster, Pasadena, California)


When I was six my father drove me out to Bellmont Avenue and put me into the care of his sister, Jane, and I lived for a while with her and her husband, Howard, their son, and two daughters. It started out okay, but eventually my cousins resented my disruptive presence. Jane, too, became unhappy with the burden her brother had put on her. She decided that I ought to make myself useful, so she gave me housecleaning chores, like dusting the dining room table and chairs, and vacuuming the living and dining room carpets. But she was never satisfied with anything I did. I always missed a spot, and I carelessly banged the vacuum against her precious furniture. I could never please her. I dreamed someday of sailing to a faraway island, no longer the passive object of her cutting complaints and critical eye.


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Re illustration choice: a happy coincidence, or triggered by the Cornell article in yesterday's NYTimes?

Hmmm, I read the Times via the internet every day but somehow missed that appreciation yesterday, which by the way seems like a great synopsis or perhaps more like a proposal for a book...like the one entitled Utopia Parkway that Deborah Solomon wrote in 1997. For the past couple of months I've been revisiting Cornell for some reason. In mid-June I posted my own theory on the possible origin of his shadow boxes, one that involves my high school days learning typesetting and printing, which can be seen here.

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