Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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Overcoming the Absolute

“The only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths” -Paul Freyerabend

The human mind has a tendency to concretize. We do not like a lack of categorization when it comes to our view of the world. One practice is to let go of the need for absolutism and allow things to be more fluid. Begin to train your mind away from a strong need to pigeonhole every detail. Black and white are hard to come by, most of life is made up of shades of gray. The more willing we are to accept this, the less we will struggle when our ideas of the absolute suddenly change.

Susanna Coffey is a painter based in New York City. Her studio is located in Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center on the Lower East Side where she is surrounded by art and culture. During the spring, Coffey teaches art in Chicago where she is a professor of painting at Chicago Institute of Art. In addition to portraiture, Coffey paints night landscapes. Currently, she is involved in putting together a book of these night paintings. The book, she says, is “a small meditation on night” to which writers have contributed their words as a companion to the paintings. In the current political climate, Coffey says she has a difficult time orienting her work. She is determined to paint her way until she finds what’s next.

Kathryn Kramer is the author of Missing History, a book based in her own and her child’s experience in elementary school education. She recalls eccentric teachers she had as a girl as well as the memory, once she became a parent herself, of worrying about evaluation when she was a young school child. Her own school was somewhat informal but the worry over grades was palpable for her even as early as the second grade. Kramer reflects upon her own career path and the stark contrast between when she finished school and was able to find work easily and today when establishing oneself is very difficult. Her first foray into publishing was as the slush pile reader at Little Brown. After reading each unsolicited manuscript it was her task to type letters to each author. Kramer has written three novels with another in the works and is the co-author of a language textbook. She teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.


A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket

We all know the expression “there are no guarantees in life” but few of us are able to live by this. Allow yourself to let go of absolutism accept that impermanence is the name of the game.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Susanna Coffey is reading Three Degrees of Latitude: A Curious Guide to the Natural History of the Pehuen by Jane Coffey and Benita Cole is enchanted by The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram.

Opportunities / Open Calls

Brooklyn Arts Council offers grants to artists, collectives, and organizations that produce arts and culture projects with a public component. Info sessions begin in late summer for a September deadline for those wishing to apply for grants for the following calendar year.



Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

More Resources – For Artists Only – (2 essays from last week)

Tips for a Healthy, Active Mind — Read more here

Residency Spotlight: Haystack — Read more here

Popular Writings –

Non-profit spaces to know –

London, UK Non-Profit Spaces – read about some of the best.

Los Angeles, CA Non-Profit Spaces- read about some of the best.

New York City Non-Profit Spaces – read about some of the best.

Self Illumination –

Conquering Fear – read about methods and Pema Chodron.

The Trap of Self-Esteem and How to Break Free- read more here.

F*ck the Art World, F*ck Consumerism! – read more here.



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