Can Art & Poetry Serve A Purpose Without the Story Behind It?

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When I was a young teen, I always kept a small spiral notebook and several Bic pens close at hand in the event I should get the urge to dash off some prose. Society was different back then. It was before “After School Specials” and was when the Victorian-Era attitude that “Children should be seen and not heard” was still pretty much the norm. Anyone who knew me back then would probably tell you I was this happy-go-lucky kid, always ready with a smile and some absurd observation geared to make people laugh and forget their woes. Very few, if any, had a clue what was really going on in my mind and my life. Of course, the same thing was likely true for the other kids at the schools I attended. It’s just the way things were back then. But keeping up the façade of “all is right with the world” was at times an unbearable burden and that’s where my poetry came in

Writing prose was a life-saving outlet back then in the same way that visual art serves me today. It allowed me to vent, to dream, to cry, to wonder, to argue and even to pretend. Early on, I discovered that I had the natural ability to assume the literary voice of any character I read about in a book, saw in a movie, or dreamed up from scratch and write about their feelings as if they were my own. It was really no different than what most authors and actors do, but because I recorded these creative ramblings in a book that had the word “Diary” on it’s cover, anyone who picked it up to read assumed it was all about me. Of course, I hadn’t intended for anyone else to read it but it happened nonetheless, each time causing great suspicion and worry or ruffled feathers or outrage on the part of the unauthorized reader(s). Had they only asked me what the poems were about or what inspired them rather than jumping to erroneous conclusions, a lot of grief could have been avoided. But, as I was still considered a “child” then, it never occurred to my elders that I could possibly have something intelligent to say or that my feelings mattered.

Thank God our society (for the most part) has finally woken up to recognize not only that children DO have opinions and feelings and that they deserve the respect to be heard, but also, most people today realize the importance of being able to share their feelings with others. As a society, we’ve still got work to do in learning how to listen to each other but it is getting better, one individual at a time. And as long as we’re moving forward in the right direction, regardless of how slowly, there is hope.

For tonight’s Freebies, along with a few empty frames for you to fill with your own content, I’ve mixed together a couple of my shorter prose, written when I was teenager with decorative backgrounds I created close to half a century later. These poems served their purpose for me at the time they were written and so now I hope they can serve some purpose for you. It really doesn’t matter any more what or who I was actually thinking about so feel free to interpret them in whatever way you choose.

Free Icons and Clip-Art of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Children Play

“Children Play Games” – 1973 by Leslie Sigal Javorek – (600 x 309px)

Nouveau-FrameNouveau Frame 2

“Art Nouveau Style Frames” – Download size: (600 x 763px)


“Listen” – 1973 by Leslie Sigal Javorek – (600 x 763px)

Book Opening

“Book Opening” (600 x 595px)

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IconDoIt Lautrec

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Coming up with titles for these postings is quite a challenge at times. The title not only should reflect the content of the post in a meaningful manner but should also been intriguing enough to draw in passers-by who may not otherwise realize there’s something here of interest to them. In the case of tonight’s post which includes some clip art I created that was inspired by Toulouse Lautrec, I had an additional consideration to balance my choice of titles upon. And so, I imagine you don’t need further explanation as to why “IconDoIt Lautrec” won out over “Too Loose Leslie”… 😉

I have always loved the feel of Toulouse Lautrec’s artwork. It just so full of life, vibrant and real and totally absent of any judgment upon the people depicted or the activities they’re engaged in. So very different from most other artists of his time – or of any time, for that matter. He was a true observer and reporter in my mind: capturing only what was rather than what he thought it should have been. That puts him on the list for my ultimate dream cocktail party when I depart from this world. Who’s on your list?

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). Create Commons license applies (see sidebar for details)

Whatcha Reading?


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Solvo Ex Libris (free bookplates)

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The statistics for the percentage of adults in the USA who read books for pleasure is surprisingly (and dismally) low at only 20%. The percentage of adults in the USA who are illiterate is 15%. I don’t know whether the latter group includes those who are illiterate or not but either way, it strikes me as rather sad that so many people seem to have stopped picking up a book as soon as they got out of school. Now, I’m not one of those who rails against television or movies as I certainly watch and enjoy my fair share. But as an avid reader (generally, a book every day or two when I’m not on chemo) I’ve always thought that there’s something magical about reading a good book that I just don’t get from watching some director’s vision of the author’s words. Imagining the characters, their voices, what they look like, the locations, and being somewhat in control of the pacing makes me feel much more involved in the story (be it fiction or non-fiction) as it allows me to actually feel the tale from the point of view of the narrator. When I’m just watching a film or TV show, it is extremely rare for me to get so caught up in it that I can actually smell the heroines perfume or the salty sea breeze or feel the snow falling on the tip of my nose. But a well-written book will do it every time.

Whenever I come across an especially fine read, I like to share it with my friends so we can talk about it. Consequently, I’m often loaning out my books or buying a second or third copy to give away as gifts. In either situation, I always thought it was both useful and classy to have a bookplate attached on the inside front cover that claimed the book as my own or which dedicated it to a special friend. So for tonight’s post, I’ve got something a little different: a choice of 24 different bookplates. The downloadable files are formatted for printing at 300dpi for a finished size of 3.5″ x 3.5″. You can print them out on any kind of paper you want, but they will look best if printed on a semi-gloss or glossy premium photo paper or label stock which is readily available at most office supply stores or via this link at Hint: If you want to write your name on the printed label, be sure to use a permanent marker like this one to avoid smudges.

Just like all of my other artwork made available for downloading on this blog, these are yours to enjoy whether on your monitor or printed out free of cost – but for your personal use only. (If you wish to re-post them elsewhere, the artwork must be attributed to me and you must include a copy of my Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. If you wish to use them in any commercial endeavor, whether in full or in part, please contact me directly to get an appropriate license. I appreciate your respect for those terms and my efforts. Thanks! and Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following image is a reduced size preview. Simply right-click (or control-click) on it to save a zipped file to your desktop that has 24 files (each image is in .png format for 300dpi, 3.5″x3.5″ printed size).