"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words." ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not a Memo, A Mission Statement

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song,
read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words."

Back in February, when I clicked on "Create Blog," I picked this self - explanatory comment from Goethe to appear continuously as part of the header above. At the start I didn't think to explicate it any further, but now that my literary blog is six months old, perhaps I should.

When I designed this page, the space I had in mind was one where readers would encounter everything on Goethe's list: selections from all the wonderful poetry that I have been reading and collecting ever since forever, the song lyrics that make up the soundtrack of my life, and a few reasonable words of my own (or so I'd like to think!), tying it all together with the perfect visuals into an image that you won't forget.

Goethe makes it sound so simple, I thought I'd give it a try. For a title, I decided to start with my name. That would be easy enough: Kitti Carriker: A Fortnightly Literary Blog of Connection & Coincidence.

Fortnightly: Well, that just sounds so cool and literary, plus I felt pretty sure I could commit to an essay every two weeks.

Connection: I wanted, if possible, to create a place of connections, in the spirit of E. M. Forster, who implores us in Howards End to connect: "Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect . . . ."

Coincidence: As I wrote in an earlier blog post: "Sometimes life is so full of coincidences that I think my head will split open trying to take them all in! It's enough to make me believe in the whole Universe at once!" I stand by that. I want to capture all the unexpected connections that amaze and surprise and suggest a pattern.

Back in college when I worked on the literary magazine, I was known as the editor with "a poem for every poem" because no matter what I read, I was always reminded of something else -- kind of like that "Scooby-Doo" episode when Daphne asks Velma: "Do you have a book for every occasion?" And Velma answers, "Actually, yes."

A poem for every poem, and a book for every book! Those are the literary connections and coincidences that I am always on the lookout for, not that they require much tracking down, since they usually find me before I find them.

In addition, I wanted the blog to include my favorite passage from Yeats' poem "A Prayer For My Daughter." Naturally, he wants so many things for her, but chiefly a heart full of "radical innocence" and a life "Rooted in one dear perpetual place . . . a house / Where all's accustomed, ceremonious."

How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.

From childhood -- perhaps impressed upon me when I first read The Little Red Story Book (more on that later), anyway long before I ever read Yeats -- one of my goals was to organize the kind of home described in his poem, where order would triumph over chaos and no holiday would ever go unremarked: accustomed and ceremonious, familiar yet celebratory.

Thus the line from "A Prayer For My Daughter" has became the perpetual caption for the pictures that change with every post. I hope that in some way (though not always in the same way) these photographs and illustrations portray "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." Sometimes it's my own house (or former houses), other times, a cathedral, a log cabin, a playground, an historical custom house, a neighborhood mural, a village mosaic, a medieval tapestry. I admit, these last two were not created by me, though I take most (not all) of the photographs and did help paint the mural!

And those raspberry parfaits you see up there? I didn't make them myself either (the credit goes to my dessert specialists, Ben and Karen . . . and to Gerry for growing the fruit). But I did line them up on the windowsill and photograph them. And I did eat one a little while later -- delicious!

So that's what's happening on this page every couple of weeks! Oops, I mean, every fortnight! Maybe it all made sense before. If it didn't, I hope it does now, perfect sense!

New Paint Colors: Silver Lace Vine and Raspberry Parfait


  1. Finally something makes sense. thank you.

  2. This entry explains exactly how your brain works and who you are. This is your special gift. Anyone who is critical of it just doesn't get who you are. Who else can do this? Who else has such passion for finding the meaning in life in poetry and prose combined with such a memory. I have been waiting for you to do this for the last forty years.
    You were meant to do this. You just had to wait for the technology to catch up with you!

  3. Eve said . . .

    So beautiful! So you. It IS a real space, a ceremonious house for dwelling in, for moments or however long you have. I love it!