Feb–Mar 2013 Fluent

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ARTS | CULTURE | EVENTS

Feb – Mar 2013 | Vol 1 No 4

Vessels, Vestments & Tornadoes The Art of Joan Bontempo

Art: Is It In Their Genes? A Conversation With Area Artists The Art of Chocolate The Sound of Winter A Photographic Essay Ears, Eyes & Soul He Said, He Said Agri:Culture The Joy of the Seasons Savoir:Fare Redefining Bistro Fiction Breakfast by Zachary Davis Poetry Christa Mastrangelo Ed:Cetera The Illusion of Praxis & the Random Sentence Generator Coda

Vanitas “Gabriel” by Joan Bontempo


CONTENTS

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Feb–Mar 2013

Vessels, Vestments & Tornadoes The Art of Joan Bontempo

Art: Is It In Their Genes? A Conversation With Area Artists

The Art of Chocolate

The Sound of Winter A Photographic Essay


Letter From the Editor Forwarding Our Stories

Ears, Eyes & Soul He Said, He Said

Agri:Culture The Joy of the Seasons

Savoir:Fare Redefining Bistro

Fiction Breakfast by Zachary Davis

Poetry Christa Mastrangelo

Ed:Cetera The Illusion of Praxis & the Random Sentence

Coda Vanitas

Generator

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C O N T R I B U T O R S Todd Coyle is a journeyman musician who has performed in and around the Eastern Panhandle of WVa and around the country for over 30 years. He has worked in folk, blues, pop, jazz and country bands as a guitarist, bassist, singer, producer and sound man. Anne M Cropper is a visual artist artist working in photography, painting,installations and sculpture. She resides in her hometown, Berryville, Va. Anne is a founding member of the Slant Factory Art Space. Zachary Davis is a writer living and working in West Viginia. His work has appeared in print and online in The Fertile Source, Bartleby Snopes, Forty Ounce Bachelors, and the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vol. IV. Mr. Davis has twice been a finalist for the WV Fiction Award. Ginny Fite has won national, regional and state journalism awards for her writing. She was the editor of the Gazette Newspapers in Frederick, the Lifestyle editor at the Herald-Mail, and Executive Editor at Phillips Publishing before retiring to Harpers Ferry. Shepherd Ogden lives in Bakerton, WVa. He is the author of five nonfiction

books, one novel–memoir and a book of poetry. His photos and collected poems are at justsopress.typepad.com/facing. Judy Olsen, a Washington, DC, native residing in Shepherdstown, WVa, has had a love affair with photography since her teens. After 30+ years in the corporate world, her passion has been rediscovered. She enjoys capturing the world of light and shadow that will never come again in exactly the same way. Hannah Swindoll, a senior at Shepherd University, plans on graduating in May with a BFA with a concentration in photography/computer imagery. As a student, Hannah has focused on the use of lighting and perspective. Sheila Vertino is returning to her roots as a freelance writer and journalist, after a career as a magazine editor-in-chief and book and research publisher. Based in Shepherdstown, she describes herself as a culturally curious word nerd. Ed Zahniser’s poems have appeared in over 100 literary magazines, 7 anthologies, 3 books and 3 chapbooks in the U.S. and the U.K. He is co-editor of In Good Company, an anthology of area poets celebrating Shepherdstown’s 250th anniversary.

F LU E N T W E B S I T E Please visit the Fluent website (www.fluent-magazine.com), which complements the magazine with additional content, updated daily:

Gallery Happenings lists current and future exhibits in the region. Events Calendar gives detailed information on arts and cultural events. Newsworthy brings you stories of the arts, artists and happenings in the region.

Calls for Artists informs the arts community of opportuities. Classes lists organizations offering arts instruction for children and adults. Back Issues is the Fluent Magazine archive.

A D V E R T I Z E R S

Arts & Humanities Alliance page 29 Bloomery Plantation Distillery page 29 The Bridge Gallery page 33 4|

MAGAZINE

The Local Source The Old Opera House

page 43 page 47

Feb–Mar 2013 | Vol 1 No 4 Nancy McKeithen Editor & Publisher Ginny Fite Managing Editor Sheila Vertino Associate Editor Kathryn Burns Visual Arts Editor Zachary Davis Fiction Editor Tom Donlon Poetry Editor Contributing Editors Shepherd Ogden, Bill Tchakirides, Ed Zahniser Submissions For information on submitting unsolicited fiction, nonfiction and poetry, please see www.fluentmagazine.com/submissions. Please submit events and arts news to submissions@fluent-magazine.com. Fluent Magazine is published bimonthly and distributed via email. It is available online at www.fluent-magazine.com. To subscribe www.fluent-magazine.com/subscribe All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be duplicated or reprinted without permission from the publisher. © 2013 Fluent Magazine

Fluent Magazine is grateful for the support of the Jefferson County Arts and Humanities Alliance (AHA!) through its Community Grants program. Jefferson County, WVa is a Certified Arts Community.


Forwarding Our Stories In some ways, this issue is about how we speak about art. Artist Joan Bontempo describes it as “continuing the translation of creativity between generations.” Others may talk about art in terms of “searching for immortality.” Consider the words of a poet in the hands of a watercolorist, or a stone sculpture in the view of a writer — the inspiration could translate, respectively, into a painting or a novel. “We are forwarding our stories,” she says, “through our work.” Joan’s Bontempo’s story is told through ceramics. Nine artists share their stories in “Art: Is It In Their Genes? A Conversation With Area Artists” by Ginny Fite. Sheila Vertino writes about chocolate and chocolatiers in “The Art of Chocolate,” telling two stories — one that began in Washington, D.C., the other in Greece. Photographer Judy Olsen tells her story without words in “The Sound of Winter.” In “Ed:Cetera,” writer and poet Ed Zahniser enlists the help of a random sentence generator to reveal how the phrases emanating from the complex machinery of our brains can sometimes sound like nonsense. Christa Mastrangelo and Zachary Davis translate experience into art through poetry and fiction, respectively. In “Ears, Eyes & Soul,” musicians Todd Coyle and Don Oehser share each other’s stories when they trade off as interviewer. In “Agri:Culture,” Shepherd Ogden adds more to the story he began in the Dec–Jan issue about the passage of time. And a new, occasional column, “Savoir:Fare,” begins in this issue. It introduces you to Justin Meyer, Executive Chef at DISH Bistro, and serves a recipe. Throughout this issue, more than 25 artists are represented: those who make stories  and those who record them. Perhaps Bontempo speaks for other artists as well when she says about making art, “I put in what I need to, then it’s up to the viewers to take away what they will.” Bon appétit.

Finding inspiration, Huntington Gorge, Vermont.

Nancy McKeithen, Editor & Publisher

COVER PHOTO Hannah Swindoll PHOTO ABOVE Nancy McKeithen

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EARS, EYES & SOUL

He Said, He Said BY TODD COYLE

Don Oehser and Todd Coyle—friends, collaborators, journeymen. This month, FLUENT decided to have a little fun with two of the region’s best-known musicians and let them interview each other. Todd does the asking first. TODD Your first instrument, what was it? What happened to it? DON My grandparents’ piano was probably the first instrument I tried to get anything out of. In 6th grade, the teacher said, “If anyone wants to play an instrument, come down to the band room.” They asked, “Which instrument do you want to play?” All the boys said “drums,” so they asked for your 2nd choice. I said, “French horn” and was told you can’t start on French horn—which is true, you need to learn the basics of horn playing first. So, the first instrument I had possession of was a cornet. I played it for a year, but it never sounded like a French horn, so I let it go. At age 60, my grandmother decided she was going to learn to play guitar, so she bought a half-size nylonstring Swedish guitar. She never really did much with it and it was around, so I ended up picking it up and it was off to the races. As to what happened to it: After a year or so of hinting at the magic it held within, slightly fancier cousins started to show up and it entered the MyFirst-Guitar stage, found a quiet spot in the basement, and eventually dissolved back into the earth. TODD What is your favorite chord or chord progression and why? DON That’s a funny question. I never thought about it before. It’s not really possible to answer. It kinda depends on what you’re in the mood for. I mean, the beginning of Link Wray’s “Rumble” is just two gigantic, 1st position D and E chords and it doesn’t get much better than that. Because of the tunings, Hawaiian Slack Key has some absolutely gorgeous, 6|

lush chords. There are certain chords I like to end songs with. In the key of A, for example, I’ll often end a bluesy tune with an A13 or Asus2. I also love chords with open strings in them. Favorite chord progression? That’s even harder. I really enjoy soloing over Frank Zappa’s “Son of Mr. Green Genes” and Miles Davis’ “Four,” but jump blues (I-IV-I-II minor-V-I), the classic doo-wop (I-VI minorIV-V), basic reggae (I minor-VII), etc. They’re all great. TODD You lost a couple of finger tips a few years ago. What happened, what was the relearning process and how has this affected your playing? DON Well, art needs to be a constant re-learning process anyway, if you want to keep that rush coming, but… on a practical level: At first, I tried re-stringing the guitar and playing left-handed, but I soon realized that would only work for flat-picking and that I’d have to learn to make chords differently with my left hand so I could finger-pick with my right. I basically can only use my index and pinky (occasionally, with use of a prosthetic tip, I can lay down the ring finger for part of a chord), so a lot of my chords are kind of mini-barre chords. Some of the “re-learning” is physical. For instance, playing Rock, Blues or Country usually requires a fair amount of string-bending. I have to use my pinky for that, so it’s taking quite a while to build up the hand/ finger strength. As for changes in my playing, I’d like to think it’s made me practice what I preached to students, which is: Hold the reins, respect the spaces, say something. TODD Who is the one artist who has made the most impact on your musical life and why?


DON It feels kind of odd to say, but I guess as far as guitar playing goes it would be Eric Clapton. I say it that way because I don’t really like anything he did after 1970, but the (John Mayall’s) “Bluesbreakers” with Eric Clapton album is definitely the thing which made me want to play lead guitar and was my instruction manual for years (until I heard Albert King’s “Live Wire/Blues Power,” which changed everything). On a broader scale, Bob Dylan probably had the biggest impact on me (and everyone else) because of his musical and social attitude and, incidentally, because he changed forever the way songs are written. TODD You are into Hawaiian Slack Key guitar. What is this and what makes it so interesting to you? DON Wow, how about a yes-or-no question? Ok, after the accident, I wasn’t sure if or to what extent I’d be able to play again, so I looked into the world of alternate tunings. That trail led me to Hawaiian Slack Key, which has dozens of tunings unto itself. It’s a finger-style genre and is called slack key because most of the tunings require you to de-tune, sometimes down two whole steps. My wife grew up in Hawaii and when I first started playing slack she cried because she said it brought her right back to the Islands. When you say Hawaiian music, most people think of ukulele or steel guitar. That’s because slack key has been closely guarded and has only been taught to nonnatives since the 1970s. It’s such a beautiful style, similar to Delta blues in that it has fairly simple chord patterns, distinctive turn-arounds and evokes so many emotions. TODD If you were marooned on an island and could choose one instrument to have with you, what would it be and why? DON Well, maybe it’s boring to say, but I’m sure I’d choose an acoustic guitar. I mean, it’s the overwhelming, undisputed favorite instrument among hopelessly stranded musicians. The reason, of course, is that you can play chords as well as melodies (at the same time, if you work at it) and you can sing while you play [you might hear a clarinetist sing while they’re playing, but it’s difficult to understand the lyrics], and it rates above the piano in that it’s much easier to carry to the other side of the island. TODD Any words of advice for players just starting out? DON For anyone starting out my advice is: Take piano lessons, regardless of your instrument of choice.

It’s the quickest, easiest way to understand how music works and to learn the vocabulary. That’s if you care, of course. There are people who play for fun, people who play for a living and people who are artists. Obviously, these groups sometimes overlap, but… if you just want to have fun, then have fun; if you want to make a living, good luck, have fun, have adventures; if you’re an artist, you’re going to do it (you can’t not do it) and you won’t listen to advice anyway. TODD What is your favorite style of music? DON I have an aversion to posturing or anything I perceive as pretentious. Outside of that, I’ve got no favorites. TODD What are your top 5 favorite movies? DON Well, I’m a HUGE movie fan and a HUGE lover of the English language, so when you get great actors and great screenplays together, I’m in heaven. Don Oehser | PHOTO Provided by Don Oehser


My #1 favorite movie is Harvey. It teaches wonderful lessons, uses language beautifully, and Jimmy Stewart’s performance (especially the soliloquy where he describes his first meeting with Harvey) is the finest example of pre-Brando American screen acting. My #2 is probably Pulp Fiction. It’s often dismissed as “ultra-violent,” but as far as the violence/gore you actually see, it’s pretty tame. It’s a hero’s journey story with probably the best dialogue ever written for the screen. Rounding out my top 5 might be Network, The Maltese Falcon and Dr. Strangelove (but Bull Durham speaks hugely to me, personally). I could easily speak about any of these movies for a half an hour, but y’know… who cares? FLUENT If you could play with anyone, who would it be? DON Finally, an easy one. Scarlett Johansson.

Then Don Asks the Questions... DON What was the first record you bought, and what about it were you drawn to? TODD The first two albums I bought with my own money were “Led Zeppelin III” for the song “Gallows Pole” and “Grand Funk’s E Pluribus Funk,” because I liked the cover and I hadn’t heard it before. I bought them at the same time. Grand Funk ended up as a part of a trade for a pair of platform shoes that I never wore, but looked good in the closet for a few years. I still have the Led Zeppelin album. DON What was the record you heard which made you want to play guitar? TODD I was always interested in guitars; they fascinated me at an early age. But it was “For What It’s Worth” by the Buffalo Springfield that smacked me. Originally, I wanted to be the bass player but my brother told me that they stood in the back and I should play lead guitar and stand out front. DON Which three songwriters do you most admire? TODD Wow, that’s a hard one. 1. John Hiatt, as a pure songwriter, 2. David Crosby, for the vision and the crazy tunings, 3. Keith Richards, for the nonstop riffs. DON Many people practice playing their instrument, of course. Do you (or did you) practice songwriting? 8|

Todd Coyle | PHOTO Provided by Todd Coyle

TODD I wouldn’t say “practice,” as like an instrument. More like “practice” as in working a craft. To me, songwriting is the craft and the guitar is the tool. Songwriting is, almost, a religious experience. With both, after awhile, the actual doing becomes almost unconscious; the key is to practice life so you have material and a reason to exercise these gifts. DON You could just stay home, write songs, and play guitar. Why do you choose to perform? TODD Yeah, I ask myself this question some times. If I’d just concentrate on writing, I might be able to sell something. On the other hand, performing live is just so much fun! It‘s a joy. I love the playing off folks in front of people. Maybe it’s the ham in me, but most of the folks I play with are just so good and I don’t get stuck in a rut. AND, it’s what I do. DON Could you talk a little about the differences in your approach to playing and singing in the studio versus a live performance? TODD To a certain extent, there isn’t a lot of difference. In the studio I’ll have the lyrics and chords in front of me, live I might not. This means I might have to make the words on the spot, which I do fairly regularly. In the studio there is a specific goal and you can do it again if you need. Live, you have one shot. I guess the real difference is in the mind-set, rather than the technique. DON I assume you’ve been influenced by other songwriters, other songs. Are there other media, such as movies or books, which influence your writing?


TODD Sure, I write a lot in front of the TV with some show or movie on. A lot of my ideas come from these. For the most part it’s just background noise. I read a lot and I know those words make their way in to it. When I was a kid I loved the soundtracks to movies and TV shows. I always listened and checked out who the songwriter was. I’ve always been drawn to word groupings. I mean, whether it’s from the written page or a movie or a TV show or somebody speaking; my ears perk up when I hear interesting groups of words. It seems to be quite random. DON You play guitar in a number of different tunings. How did you discover them, and how do you decide which tuning to use for a particular song? TODD When I was a kid there was a player that lived up the street, and he played in all kinds of weird tunings. He was great and could play almost anything. I later found out that he didn’t know how to tune a guitar and he just made them up. He just picked up the guitar strummed it and figured out the chords wherever the guitar was tuned. I figured out 10 or 11 of these “off the cuff ” tunings and used them for years. It taught me to not be afraid of turning the tuning peg. You can always turn it back. Then I got into CSN&Y, Crosby and Stills used a lot of different tunings. I don’t pick tunings for a par-

ticular song; I tune and then write in that tuning. In other words, the song picks the tuning. DON Which guitarists influenced you the most? TODD Stephen Stills, James Taylor, B.B. King and then Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, David Crosby, Lowell George, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Joe Walsh. DON Songwriters are often asked, “Which do you do first — lyrics or music?” I imagine you to be a “concept first” writer. I know better than to ask how the lyrics come to you, but what’s the process in choosing the chords and chord structure to suit the idea of the song? TODD There is no set process that I am aware of. It’s mostly experimentation. More often than not the words and the music happen at the same time and flow together. It can happen in just about every way you can think of, but more often than not, I kind of go into a “trance,” for lack of a better word. Sometimes it seems that an idea is sparked by something and then I start and then time goes into slow motion and then it’s over and there is a song in front of me. Then it becomes a matter of learning what I just wrote, which takes longer than it does to write the damn thing. fluent

Todd and Don play on the patio at the “Meck” in downtown Shepherdstown. | PHOTO Provided by the musicians


AGRI:CULTURE

The Joy of the Seasons BY SHEPHERD OGDEN

The heart of winter is passing. Despite the cold here near the end of January, a part of us notices that the days are getting longer, just as sometime in late August we suddenly notice the length of those warm languid evenings. And that part of us always seems to know what it means. The question, one might ask, is what part? Some of our simpler fellow creatures, like horseshoe crabs, have clumps of light-sensitive cells in fairly obvious places (the crabs have them on their tails) but others, like swallows, have them embedded in the skull. That has often been the explanation used for humans: that we have a small organ, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which acts as a sort of master clock, ordering the function of our bodies according not only to time of year but also time of day. It lies inside the skull, just above the place where the optic nerves from each eye converge. It’s also called the pineal gland, or, if you are of a spiritual bent, the “third eye.” The mechanism by which this master clock works, how such an “eye” sees this bigger picture, is the subject of much speculation and experimentation (depending on your spiritual or scientific perspective). Also, how it communicates with the organs of the body that need to regulate their daily business, not to mention the three trillion or so cells within the body that each has been shown experimentally to display “circadian rhythms” (circadian from the Latin “circa,” or about, and “diem,” or day). This direct cellular sensing has been found to be present in what are considered the oldest life forms now on Earth, the cyanobacteria. The transformation of these bacteria from single cell to multicell organisms about 2.3 billion years ago is linked to what astrobiologists call the Great Oxidation Event — the point at which oxygen began to build up in Earth’s atmosphere and life as we know it began. Making all this work day to day in higher plants and animals (such as ourselves) is as much or more a ballet as it is a balancing act; the invisible 10 |

choreography in what seems a mundane day of waking and working is really quite astounding if we look closely. The biological clock, it seems, has three parts: a receiver, whether specialized clumps of cells or the cells themselves; a timer, currently thought to be chemical in nature; and a transmitter that most likely works via hormones. This synchrony is truly a matter of life and death. Obviously, a seed needs to know better than to germinate at the wrong time of year, but there are important effects of cellular bad timing in humans as well. It seems that there are at least eight “clock genes” involved in cell proliferation and death. Both unlimited cellular proliferation of cancers and the (terribly) normal process of aging may be partially due to problems in timing, and scientists are studying how new treatments might reset, or help regulate, cell processes in the same sort of way that a pacemaker calms an uppity heart. But the recognition of astrobiological cycles and the internal communication of them is no mean feat. After all, even the most oblivious among us know that no two days are really the same length, and despite what most of us may believe, days (light and dark together) are not really 24 hours long. And of course, a year is not simply 365 days long. What we call a year is around 365-1/4 days long; the lunar month is about 29-1/2 days; humans are entrained to a circadian cycle averaging 24 hours and 11 minutes. All are damned by fractions. But maybe damned is not the right word, when we consider the old aesthetic saw that “in imperfection is beauty.” The golden mean beloved by the Greeks is at 3/5’s, not the stasis of 4/4 symmetry. The senses themselves depend on imbalance to function; without it we soon “tune out” anything boringly persistent or consistent, and do this even more insistently than we turn a blind eye to our surroundings or a deaf ear to the rumbling of traffic and trains.


So not even history wholly repeats itself in this sense, at least not in our lifetimes, though the Indian and Mayan calendars, with their long sweep of time, might factor in enough cycles to smooth out all the irregularity that the span of a human life brings into relief. Every farmer and gardener knows the confounds of variability in his or her gut of course, and one of the great pleasures (or challenges!) in the art of raising things is trying to recognize the patterns of growth, maturity and senescence that never happen the same way twice and finesse from the system the food and flowers we want. The passage of the year, days sewn together with the thread of the ecliptic, always seems to drop a stitch or two: a freak frost in May at the full moon, a seventy-degree day in late January. Nothing is as we would have it. The latest sunset is not on the longest day of the year, nor the earliest when we would expect; right now (late January) the afternoons are longer, but the days don’t really start any earlier, as we might anticipate.

Just as seed sown in March will sprout and grow faster than the same in September, there is a lag in each season, as our calendars — and our lives — readjust themselves to the reality of the heavens. Those equinoxes, spring and fall, provide the two instances of balance from which to reckon. And the green fuse begins to smolder in us, in our wild cousins and in the plants we all depend on; the spark within the bud on the branch begins to swell, and we begin, slowly at first, to dream again of abundance. The fact is: Our bodies, and thus our minds, are exquisitely tuned to the landscape, the larger environment, and to the heavens. In our daily cares, we may wish or choose to ignore the hints of spring, but soon enough it will be upon us. The joy of the seasons is just that they pass. fluent A version of this article, with references to the science discussed, can be found at http://justsopress.typepad.com/ shepsite/joy-of-the-seasons.html

Harpers Ferry Gap, Winter Solstice Sunrise, December 21, 2012 | PHOTO Shepherd Ogden

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Vessels, Vestments & Tornadoes

The Art of Joan Bontempo by Nancy McKeithen


PHOTO Hannah Swindoll


“I wonder what would happen if I did this?”

A Theory in Progress

Ceramics artist Joan Bontempo poses questions to

Bontempo’s art is in part defined and driven by experimentation. She wondered what metal would do in her “40-year-old-plus dinosaur of a kiln” that she moved from Michigan to Wisconsin to Maryland. So she investigated—when copper melts, when stainless steel melts. “I try all combinations of clay and something else,” she explains, “clay and copper, clay and steel, clay and cloth.” She works from a challenge to herself and a process—not from drawings—where the idea comes first, then the play. She begins “by making things that may technically fall apart or break or look heavy when I want them to look light.” Then she works toward the technical aspects, then the outcome. And throughout the process, the medium doesn’t always do what she sees in her head, so she may have to modify her original intention. The pieces when completed exist in an idea she’s accomplished, visually and emotionally. “That’s the art—not the things but the idea and its execution,” she says. There are no rejects. She breaks them and recycles. It’s a skill she has cultivated, “because when something doesn’t work and I leave it, it’s an annoyance. I blame it for not being good… and it has to go!” She laughs at this. But knowing what to break and what to keep isn’t always obvious. Bontempo was ready to throw away “Gabriel,” the piece on the cover of this magazine, until it came out of the last firing. The mystery is why: It may have settled in the kiln or something may have shifted. She talks about the wonder-what-I-am-going-to-get moment when she opens the kiln and sees what is there. A change may have made a piece better than she had envisioned, or ruined it. Two things tell her to keep the piece: It speaks to her visually. And it takes her breath away.

herself throughout the creative process. Perhaps the questioning comes from an interest in science. Bontempo entered Notre Dame in the 1970s to pursue study in chemistry before “jumping ship” to study art there four months later. “My parents were a little shocked,” she recalls. With minimal training in art, she took basic classes: drawing, painting, ceramics. And she clicked with three-dimensional material, quickly developing a strong portfolio. But she was bored with traditional work, like making jars with perfect lids. She started to “poke and stretch and cut and push” the material. Eliminating the limits. It was the beginning of how she works today. “I am able to make a perfect jar with a perfect lid with a handle that is elegant,” she shares. “But I can’t stop myself from changing it and making it not that.” She describes it as almost a neurosis.

“Silver Blue,” about 12 inches high, is stoneware and porcelaincoated lace. It was fired, glazed and has silver enamel flourishes. The piece was exhibited at the Artspace, Herndon, Virginia– Golden Dome Anthology, invitational, 2011. 14 |


PHOTO Joan Bontempo

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Meeting the Artistic Challenge When Francisco Marin-Price of the Marin-Price Galleries in Chevy Chase, Maryland, invited her to participate in his annual sculpture show in 2008, she said “yes” first and thought about the challenge second. “I didn’t do figures, what was I going to do?” She gestures toward one of her figures in the series atop an antique armoire in the dining room of her 120-year-old house. “This.” She created a foam rubber figure and using what she calls “her typical approach to clay,” encased it and draped it. Think Nike (she mentions this piece as one of her favorites) with no arm, no head and no figure, but with movement and cloth. When she put the claywrapped foam figure into the kiln, the foam burned away, leaving form and movement—a kind of antifigure figure. The series was very well received, and she is now represented by the gallery.

poses.” Her vision seems to come from archetypes, she says, defenders and prophets, things that are timeless. Although she got an MFA to be a practicing artist, not an education degree, she surprised herself by taking a full-time job teaching Art History and Ceramics at Hagerstown Community College (HCC) which she loves. “When I get to the Romans in the survey course, I leave class and think, ‘I have to get to Rome.’ It’s malpractice that I haven’t been there,” she jokes.

“Kimono,” from Bontempo’s first series of Vestments, was part of the Marin-Price Gallery Sculpture show in 2008.

The Cyclical Nature of Her Work When a series is complete, she doesn’t continue to make more of it, but the series is never really over. She may revisit it, years later, for a different mission or from a different perspective. That is the case with the most recent series of “Vestments.” She considers them more inspired and developed than the previous series. And the presentation is different. The first Vestments were mounted on small black boxes. The most recent, larger and named after ancient prophets or defenders—Xian, Gabriel, Sirai (a female prophet), Birch Woman or simply Prophet— are atop pieces of limestone. She selects the rocks from the alley behind her house (with apologies to her neighbors), scrubs them and seals them with varnish. Vestments is one series of work. A second, Vessels,” is “a nod to a traditional vessel,” though she quickly points out they are not traditional. Yes, you could buy one and put lemons in it, she says, but would you? A third is her “Tornado” series.

Finding Inspiration The Vestments series tells one source of it. “The more I teach the ancient arts the more enamored I am with the art forms from centuries ago… the Greeks and Romans… the movement and inspired

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PHOTOS Joan Bontempo


“Unfold” is from her Vessels series.

Art and Artist

She does get to the galleries in Washington, D.C. each semester with her students, where they go off to the Hirschhorn and other museums and she always goes to the National Gallery, all in search of what she calls “the wow moment—where you turn around, not expecting to see ‘that’ and you can’t help but say ‘wow.’” It happened on the first of her HCC student trips to D.C., standing in front of a DaVinci that was in a special box, much smaller than she had anticipated, when she got this feeling of an electric shock. (Her voice rises and grows in volume, as if she is experiencing it in the retelling.) At that moment, she says, she recognized that she was standing where DaVinci stood in front of his painting and said “It’s finished. “I felt as if I was connected to that moment in an artist’s world where they put their thoughts and talents and decisions and colors and materials, and everything came together. “I have that moment,” she says, talking of her work. “I stand back and get that feeling that it’s exactly what I want, that I don’t need to do anything else to it. And I can’t define the moment ahead of time.” She believes it’s intuition, and that all artists are aligned by the experience.

It’s something Bontempo appreciates—this privilege to live a creative life, with her hands in clay, to make a living making art. She sees sharing art as the other side of going into the studio and producing it. Yet a certain sense surrounds her that her artwork isn’t about her, “that somehow these ideas, these visions come through me and my hands and somehow I have the knack of seeing them, analyzing them and producing them for others to share. “It’s a very weird feeling,” she says, punctuating her discomfort with laughter. She wonders aloud if performing musicians also have this feeling, and points to two guitars resting near a wall in her living room.

The pieces in her Tornado series are large, and made of fired clay and copper coil. “Whirlwind ” is nearly five feet high.

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Bontempo in her studio, doing things her way, stretching the boundaries of clay. “In my fantasy world of ‘what can I still accomplish,’” she dreams out loud, “ I want to take my work and create a community piece, public art that will incorporate mixed media.”

She notes that she has fun playing them but is not accomplished. “I get that they’re in some sort of zone… their hands are doing something to this wood and wire, and there’s music being created.” Art being shared.

The Return to the Studio Already she is thinking of another show in late summer to which she has been invited to participate. Its theme is Technology, and she is pondering whether that would require her to be a different kind of artist. She has done anti-figure. Perhaps anti-technology? Soon, it will be time to open her studio, where the afternoon light is best. The French doors open to a Mimosa tree steps away, and she has a view of her neighbor’s gardens. Carmine, her dog, will be near. She will listen to music as she works there—her favorites are Shepherd (University) radio, blues and country artists—and work on pieces for the Technology show, or keep up the momentum of her Vestments.

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Between now and the end of the semester, something, maybe a wow moment, will start the next vision. “It could be a natural moment out on the battlefield (she lives near Antietam), a piece of artwork I’ve seen or something I’ve read.” That something will lead her to ask: “I wonder if I could do it this way?” fluent Joan Bontempo’s artwork may be seen at Marin-Price Galleries 7022 Wisconsin Avenue Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 Telephone 301-718-0622 www.marin-price.com/Marin-Price%20Galleries%20 Joan%20Bontempo.htm


“Xi’an Defender” on a workbench in her studio.

Her work is part experimentation, part invention,

all art. There is a kind of controlled serendipity at work

that begins when a piece goes from the workbench to the kiln. “You fire it once, then you put a glaze on it and fire it twice. From dry clay to out of the kiln is this”—she points at a piece of unglazed earthenware—“like pottery you would put a plant in.” Different kinds of firings give her different results. “A high- or moderate-fire in a kiln in a concoction of ways that will melt in a prescribed temperature” allows her to predict what she will get. Sometimes she uses raku, a traditional Japanese method—once-glazed, low-fired. The difference between a standard firing and raku firing is dramatic in terms of

temperature. It’s much lower and lasts around 45 minutes, compared to a high-fire process that can take up to 16 hours. She describes the process: You put the piece in the kiln (hers is gas-fired) and when it gets red-hot, you go in with iron tongs and take it out, much like a glass-blower—there is a blast of heat—and put it into a burnable material, like straw in a big barrel. Taking the piece from 1500°F to air temperature shocks it and crackles the glaze, as it cools very quickly. Sometimes the pieces crack. “It’s a dynamic process, but the mortality rate can be high,” she explains. “A delicate piece might not make it. “The straw catches fire, you put a lid on it, snuff the fire out and the barrel becomes filled with smoke, which gets into the crackles, giving it a metallic look.” Her raku pieces are coppery, shiny, luminous, with amazing depth. “The look changes based on whether a piece was on the straw and got hotter, or was exposed to more air when I put the lid on the barrel, or the wind was blowing, or the straw was wet.” The results are unpredictable and unrepeatable. The texture and movement though that are characteristic of her pieces are repeatable, and Bontempo wants you to see these qualities as you ponder her work. She infuses them in a variety of ways: by pressing rug backing into the clay, or using lace dipped in porcelain—both burn off in the kiln, leaving the form. Or by drawing a saw edge across a clay slab, or by folding and “buttoning” the pleats in her Vessels series. What is very clear is that Bontempo will continue to question how she can do it differently. fluent

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Art: is it in th eir genes? Art is doing. Art is not a goal, an aesthetic, a talent, a talisman, a lofty ideal, principle or pages of incomprehensible gobbledygook that make your eyes roll back in your head. Art is doing something passionately that engages the heart, mind, hands, eyes, voice, skeleton and sinew. Art is a state of mind, or perhaps it is a state of soul. Maybe

Artists Are Driven

it is a spiritual practice. It is definitely

But by what? “I’m doing it for me,” says Sanders. After years as a craftsman to support his family, he knows the difference between making stuff to make a living and making stuff because he wants to. The others nod in agreement. It is a common thread in the skein of motivation. Just wanting to do art doesn’t an artist make. It’s the doing that counts. Making art is an innate need. “I paint as a way to validate my existence,” says career artist Isabelle Truchon, in another conversation at Beasley’s Books in Charles Town, her pageboy haircut hardly swaying as she leans forward to make her point. She is currently thinking about painting life-sized images of a horse and a bison. She is a tiny woman. She will need a large wall and a ladder. For artists, the thing they do, the stuff they make calls to them, perhaps nags at them. And since very few people who make art make a living at it, life can be tough. Often artists must do other things to put food on the table, yet they still make stuff. They can’t help it. “When I wasn’t working, something was always just nagging at me,” says artist Cynthia Fraula-Hahn, who is also exhibit chair for the Arts & Humanities Alliance of Jefferson County. “This makes me feel like I’m worthwhile, when I’m producing something.” Art is about the process, painter Patricia Perry tells her students, not that image developing on your canvas.

physical. It requires a thing done. Doing art, a collection of local artists with whom Fluent talked in December and January agree, is “making stuff,” whether the “stuff” made is words strung together to tell a story, the layering of color on a surface, describing a motion in space with the body, making the exquisite sounds we call music, finding the image that speaks volumes in one/one thousandth of a minute, or shaping bronze into what the material itself requires. 20 |

We are sitting in the back room at Mellow Moods in Shepherdstown so close to the art hung on the wall that we can examine the brush strokes and talking so intently the room fades away. “Art is alchemy, and the substance refined into gold is not lead but oneself,” says Bradley Sanders, who seems like a young Gerard Depardieu, full of righteous energy and forthrightness. His primary medium is casting, forging and “smithing” bronze, silver, gold and iron. Artists “art” because they must. Writers write. Sculptors sculpt. Painters paint. Potters pot. Musicians sing, drum, bow, pluck, strum, hear music in their dreams. Take away artists’ tools, suggests Rhonda Smith, Chair of the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater at Shepherd University who is wearing a vivid magenta sweater and spark-throwing amethyst necklace, and they will invent new ones. Take away their materials and they will make stuff out of whatever is at hand.


By Ginny Fite

A con versation with area artists The work produced, says Smith, is not precious. You can do it again. If you are brave, you will break it all apart and start again. It sounds like sacrilege when she says it. It sounds like a good idea. If you are an artist, you are now thinking of all those canvasses you can paint over, the paper you can shred, the hundred and one ways you haven’t tried to recombine a painted surface. And yet the material with which the work is made matters. It calls to you. “Materials have spiritual connections, imbue authenticity, increase the power” of what is being made, says Smith. You gravitate toward doing something that draws you, to materials that call to you. If you are working with the wrong material, you may just stop.

Left Home to Find Home Rhonda Smith has traveled extensively in Europe, Africa, China, Peru, India and the United States. Her travels and interest in other cultures and traditions is often reflected in her work. Smith works on paper using intaglio and collagraphic methods combined with collage and assemblage. www.shepherd.edu/artweb/gallery/ faculty_detail_rsmith.php

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Sarah in Betty’s Benita Keller is a fine art photographer and photojournalist. Living with the land on a 40-acre farm shaped her ideology and her photography, but a trip to Vietnam inspired her to photograph people. While she has photographed in Africa, Vietnam, Russia, Haiti and Cuba, Keller doesn’t need to leave home to find subject matter—life is her subject matter. www.benitakellerphotography.com, www. trailerandtrash.com

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It’s likely, they agree, that everyone is an artist in some way. Everybody is creative. People may not be making visual art or poems but maybe they cook like a dream, grow plants, or design things like beautiful phones or pages of a magazine. “My take is that humankind is created creative,” says multi-media artist Gary Bergel. “While some individuals are gifted and called to function as artists, all humans are [called] to express creativity.” Bergel texted this note while sitting in an immigration holding room in Cotonou, Benin. Like engineers, artists are problem solvers. “You are solving problems with materials, structure. That’s part of the excitement, when you solve that problem,” asserts Smith. She slams the table with both hands, makes two fists in the victory mode and grins, the Rocky Balboa of art. “The way things bend, the way things stretch over a form,” says Sanders about the synergy between the artist and materials. “I’m searching for something about structure, like the bones in the skeleton are structured to support where there’s impact, the resistance of the materials. There are fundamentals in the materials.” They agree that there is a eureka moment of pure joy when the problem they are struggling with is solved. That moment is the reward for the effort. Neuroscientists may put it down to a cascade of serotonindopamine chemicals in the brain, but whatever causes the high, it locks in the need to do it again.

It’s Not about Talent Playwright Sean O’Leary thinks that limitations are critical to creating art. He wrote his first play when he was 43, thrown into a creative furor after


Herd Isabelle Truchon works primarily in oil or mixed media. Her deep source of inspiration comes from the emotions that well up inside her in the moments she spends in the stillness and utter beauty of nature. She sees nature as a conglomerate of textured, irregular, rough, smooth, polished, simple, deep, earthy, sensual and unpretentious properties, attributes she hopes transpire in her art. www.isabelletruchon.com

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a play by Sean O'Leary reading about Orwell’s transformation from onlooker to warrior in Homage to Catalonia. He has since written seven more plays and won awards and production for them, no easy feat in a field where very few plays are ever staged. Plays, like musical compositions, are presented to an audience through other people. Those artists, the actors and musicians, transform the work, sometimes in good ways. The staged work, says O’Leary, is rarely like the movie he Are you ready saw in his head. to see things as they are and not as you would have them? Photographer Benita Keller has that experience with her printed photographs. She is wearing a crocheted gray and pink hat with little pink-rimmed cat ears. Sometimes, she says, she is completely surprised by how the printed image is different from the one she had in mind when she took the picture. For Hali Taylor, a photographer known for her unsmiling portraits of Shepherdstown notables shot against a white background, showing her work came much later in her life than taking pictures did. She had to be coaxed by people who had seen her photographs in her home to exhibit

POUND

Jefferson County Sky Gary Bergel works primarily in mixed-media collage and assemblage, often combining original film, digital and Polaroid transfer photography, Xerox and other copy processes, letterpress, serigraphy and other print processes, acrylic and other pigments, and gold and silver leaf. His works include found objects, “low relief” and two-sided hanging pieces. www.touchstonegallery.com/Artists/ Bergel/Bergel_Images.html

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Pound Sean O'Leary is the author of eight full-length plays that have won numerous awards, including recognition by the National Endowment for The Arts, National Arts Club and West Virginia Commission on the Arts. He is the recipient of commissions from Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia and from the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre. In 2004 Sean’s name was added to the Literary Map of West Virginia. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. www.olearyonstage.com

more widely. Working in black and white film and still developing her photographs in chemical baths, she has documented the world around her through the lens of her own eyes. The view is uniquely her own. That is another piece of the “why does an artist art” puzzle. Artwork is as distinctive as a fingerprint or retina. No artist’s work is like any other artist’s. And artists like it that way. “I’m in a critique group and we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re glad we don’t do work like somebody else,” says Fran Skiles, who makes abstract multi-media pieces out of paper, fabric and paint. Making art is not about talent or skill. “Talent is a propensity to do something. You can teach anybody anything if they want it. You just need a guide. Talent is like genius, it doesn’t exist,” asserts Smith. And there’s more to who is an artist than genetics, although it is possible to find families, like the Bergel or Sanders families, where more than one person does art. “It’s some other thing than genetics,” Sanders says. Making stuff is driven by something highly personal. “I’m not doing it for anyone else, I’m not doing it for a show,” says Skiles. Art is perhaps literally a way of leaving your mark on the world. Bradley Sanders expresses the need to work another way: “There’s a core of energy coming up through you that if it is stopped by external rules or what you are supposed to do to survive in the culture, you get clogged up like a chimney. You can explode.” “You do art because it’s there,” says Smith. “Artists aren’t any different from anyone else.”

Moon Mantis Cynthia Fraula-Hahn is a painter and is currently working with drawing, abstraction and the abstracted image in oils and charcoals, and is on the search for the inspiration that will lead to her next series of work. Her style is always evolving into the tapestry of her own regional history. Her brushwork interprets soulful landscapes, defined not by their familiarity, but by their otherworldliness. www.otherart.com


Copper Bracelet Bradley Sanders focuses on multi-media art. His primary interest is in studying the common elements, material and personal issues that drive the process of human crafting, and his primary medium is casting, forging and smithing bronze, silver, gold and iron. Sanders also works in wood, stained glass, leather and plastics media. www.bradleysandersart.com

That very large canvass that won’t fit on any wall but a museum’s must be painted because it’s there — your very own Mt. Kilimanjaro waiting to be climbed. If you are lucky, you will have an understanding partner like Truchon, whose husband rigged a pulley system that will allow her to paint bigger canvasses and still get them out of her studio.

Believing in Yourself These artists agree that becoming an artist has something to do with believing in yourself, believing in the process that is calling to you. It sounds mystical. But doing art also has something to do with not being squashed into the box of conformity at an early age, says Sanders. Oddly, early recognition or early rejection of work seems to lead to the same result. Artists keep going. They become fiercer. Rhonda Smith describes her 3rd grade experience. “I was painting igloos in class. The girl next to me was copying Disney Eskimos. The Growing Eye Flower Fran Skiles has been a full-time studio artist for the past 20 years. What she hopes to do in her work is create an abstract landscape that captures nature’s essence. Her collage paintings are rigid yet flexible layered constructions of paper, cloth, paint, gesso, ink and pencil held together with stitching, embroidery and medium. Her personal photography plays a part in the content and design of the work. www.franskiles.com

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teacher came by and praised her, looked at my work and said ‘hmm’ and moved on.” Smith was stung to ;x;the quick but her sense of competitiveness was stirred. Just to prove she could do it, she says, made her excel in providing what that teacher wanted. On the flip side, Fran Skiles attended a Cincinnati public school that had a roving art teacher. “She gave us an assignment to make a doll with tiles. I didn’t pay attention to the tiles. I drew a doll. The art supervisor was in our class that day observing the new teacher. He walked by me, looked at my work, and said, ‘So you’re an artist.’ He said that because I didn’t pay attention to what the teacher said to do.” “It’s about tenacity,” says Fraula-Hahn. It might be a touch of arrogance, suggests O’Leary. It is definitely about thinking outside the box, or thinking of a different box, or deciding that the box simply doesn’t exist.

Biciclette Hali Taylor is an awardwinning photographer. She still develops in a dark room, no digital, and shoots in the style of Richard Avedon. On the Wall — A Work in Progress‚ featuring faces of Shepherdstown, has been an annual event for 17 years. That work has been produced as a book. www.halitaylor.com

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Photographer Benita Keller says, “Society as a whole doesn’t support the creative mind. I was an outsider in high school.” Coming from a farm family, Keller wasn’t expected to be an artist, but “my parents let me be who I wanted to be.” There is an element of fierce independence in artists, a resistance to conformity that may make them seem antisocial to others. “I don’t think we live by the same definitions as other people,” says Sanders. “Once you get your hands in the materials, you begin to think differently. Our whole culture has lost the capacity to indulge the materials.” Bergel views it this way: “Different things spark and energize the creative process and productivity — different strokes for different folks. Solitude and reflection and carrying a camera to ‘see’ and shoot, if no more than with my iPhone, are part of my creative lifestyle.” Perhaps being an artist requires a stew of DNA plus environment, personality and opportunity, frequent “creative burps,” as photographer Hali Taylor calls it, as well as drive, independence of mind and a certain willingness to be seen as different, they seem to agree. Even the word artist is under construction in these post-modern days. An artist, declares Smith, who does not call herself an artist, is someone who does art full-time, who pushes the material so far into the future it takes generations for the rest of us to catch up to that sensibility. On the other hand, says Skiles, her thinking has changed as she has gotten older: “Anyone who says they are” is an artist. That may be because it’s a scary thing to call yourself an artist. “Art is like being immortal,” muses Smith. “There is a kind of immortality in the work. We all have something to say. I think people have children for the same reason — to be immortal.” Being an artist has something to do with hands and brains creating something. Perhaps it is hardwired. Humans have been making art practically since they stood up on two feet. Art, after all, Benita Keller points out, goes all the way back 17,300 years to the Lascaux caves in France. Even if some experts claim those artists were hallucinating, they left their mark. fluent

RHYTHM

Snow covered hills unroll under arched eggshell sky on a planet I have never seen.

Snowbuds bloom on palms of Queen Anne’s Lace; cut cornstalks in cuneiform cross a field; your horse does minuets to the subtle music of command.

And you speak of rhythm, and later spring and death, and not to trust you. I take you at your word,

2013 EXHIBITS & PERFORMANCES Gary Bergel June 2013, Fire Hall Gallery, Charles Town, WV Benita Keller May 2013, Fire Hall Gallery

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knowing every cell, your kisses and cautions, move in a dance, in rhythm

Sean O’Leary Summer, “The Boy in The Box” public reading at Barter Theatre in Abingdon, The Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights

as the universe commands.

Bradley Sanders September, Fire Hall Gallery

Rhonda Smith March, Fire Hall Gallery

Ginny Fite

Isabelle Truchon Currently at Dish Bistro, Charles Town, WV April, Bridge Gallery, Shepherdstown, WV November, Fire Hall Gallery, Charles Town, WV

From Throwing Caution


Join us! at the AHA! March Exhibit

“Journey’s Home” Rhonda Smith Printmaking & Collage Opening Reception Friday, March 1 5:30–7:30 pm Exhibition Dates March 1–29, 2013 AHA! Fire Hall Gallery 108 North George St Charles Town, WV

Become a member today! www.ahajc.org

Limoncello adds zest to life!

Bloomery Plantation Distillery 16357 Charles Town Rd, Charles Town, WV 11–8 Fri & Sat • www.bestlimoncello.com • 304 725-3036

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The Art Of Art moves the soul and the senses. The raw medium can be anything, really — a line of paint, a hunk of clay, a verse or phrase, a pluck of notes‚ even (or maybe especially) the rich brown liquid known as chocolate.

legant Chocolates & Memories At Defluri’s Chocolates Back in 1985, Brenda Casabona (nee DeFluri) made a dramatic career change, leaving the world of international economics to start her own bakery and candy business in the Washington, D.C., area. By the mid-90s, she was ready to focus solely on chocolates, and find a less-congested location. The derelict old McCrory’s Five and Dime space on Queen Street in Martinsburg had potential in Brenda’s eyes, despite the six inches of water in the basement. “I liked the community, and I have never regretted it.” Peer inside the broad, enticing display windows of DeFluri’s Chocolate shop now and you will be drawn into an elegant, Old World store with high-quality chocolates and other confections. Just out of sight behind the retail area, the production facility buzzes

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PHOTO DeFluri’s Chocolates | www.defluris.com

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PHOTO Sheila Vertiino

with small-batch processing — nonstop except during a brief period of planning and marketing during the summer. DeFluri’s hits the sweet spot for customers who want high-quality chocolate with an assortment of traditional flavors, at an affordable price point. Brenda explains, “People are more adventuresome in tasting things, but they still go back to more traditional flavors. I think it’s about the psychology of it. You don’t buy chocolate because it’s an avant-garde, cutting-edge product. It’s a product that brings back very good memories. I think that’s one reason why traditional flavors are still very, very popular. And also, the traditional flavors are good!” Besides their truffles with accents of liqueurs, fine wine and espresso, DeFluri’s has explored new flavors too, like their guava and passion fruit chocolates, which have become very popular. Once, for a blind continued on page 20


Chocolate In the artistic hands of fine chocolatiers, the perfect combination of flavor, background, texture and flourish come together and transport us to a state of beauty and sensual ecstasy.

By Sheila Vertino odern Sophistication from Zoe’s Chocolates To find Zoe’s Chocolate Company’s tiny shop on North Market Street in Frederick, try looking up, for their hip, hot pink Z sign in a circle. Zoe’s (Greek for “life”) is all about blending tradition with a modern sophistication, and signature chocolates with vivid Mediterranean flavors. Think Aegean pistachio, baklava, pomegranate, sesame tahini, chestnut. Or the mysterious Black Daphne, a dark chocolate ganache flavored with Mavrodaphne wine from the Peloponnese in Greece. If caramels are your passion, how about an apple pie chocolate piece made from local apples, or a milk chocolate caramel flavored with pinot noir and pink fleur de sel? Zoe’s uses five words to describe their chocolates: handcrafted, artisan, locally sourced and natural. “We combine the spirit, skill and tradition of fine artisan chocolate preparation with today’s flavors, using fresh cream, Italian butter, all natural ingredients

M

PHOTOS Zoe’s Chocolates | zoeschocolates.com

and imported dark, milk and white chocolate,” Zoe Tsoukatos explains. The honey used in chocolate pieces like the Dionysus baklava and golden honeycomb even comes from their own beehives. The Tsoukatos family love affair with chocolate goes back to 1902 when the family, recently arrived in Baltimore from Greece, began selling confections from a pushcart. Zoe’s father, George Tsoukatos, arrived in the early 1970s. In 2007, with George as the master chocolatier, he and his three children — Petros, Pantelis and Zoe — were ready to take the business in the current direction and formed Zoe’s Chocolate. continued on page 21

Zoe in the middle, flanked by siblings Pantelis on the left and Petros, right. | 31


taste test at a chocolate festival, Brenda created some unusual centers, including kidney bean with black pepper, carrot with pumpkin pie spice, and tomato basil. About the kidney bean concoction, “which which sounds absolutely awful,” Brenda says, “it was interesting. It wouldn’t be one that I would purchase every day, but it was rather good.” Her personal favorites are their chocolates with crème centers, like black raspberry, orange, vanilla butter cream, boysenberry, maple and peppermint. “For the most part, I would personally choose dark chocolate. But we do a maple crème center with milk chocolate coating, because maple is a delicate flavor.” Visitors to the Martinsburg store might be surprised to learn that in addition to their retail and wholesale operations, DeFluri’s manufactures specialty products for ThinkGeek’s “wacky edibles” line, including their wildly popular green Zombie Bunny, “eight ounces of vicious, delicious, solid white chocolate” and a gourmet dark chocolate bar of Han Solo frozen in carbonite! fluent PHOTO DeFluri’s Chocolates

Enhancing Your Chocolate Experience Like coffee and wine, there’s a chocolate for every taste and budget. And like coffee and wine, you shouldn’t rely on price to ensure that you are buying a quality chocolate product. Here are some tips from Brenda Casabona, DeFluri’s Chocolates, and Zoe Tsoukatos, Zoe’s Chocolate Company, on how to recognize quality and enhance your chocolate experience. Aroma: “When you open a box of chocolate, or a chocolate bar, or unwrap any kind of chocolate, it should smell like chocolate. It should not smell like the box! A strong aroma of chocolate is an indication that it’s flavorful,” Brenda advises. Look: The visual experience is a large part of a chocolate’s appeal. The chocolate piece should have an attractive sheen and rich brown color. Sound: With dark chocolate in particular, especially if it’s a bar or a solid piece of chocolate, you want a snap, advises Zoe. That means that the chocolate has been tempered correctly and will have the proper mouth feel. Touch: As Brenda suggests, “Put it in your mouth and just let it dissolve... if you run your tongue over it, it should be perfectly smooth to the touch.”

She explains that one of the stages in the manufacture of chocolate is grinding and conching —  “essentially a process where the hulls are ground to a very, very tiny particle size that the tongue cannot detect. But to get it to that stage requires more time and more processing — and that costs money.” And that is part of the reason why some chocolate costs more than others. The one exception to this is when chocolate has an intended crunch. “Personally, I like crunch in my chocolate,” says Zoe, whose line often includes textures from nuts and seeds. And finally, Taste: Brenda observes that “The beauty of chocolate is that it melts at mouth temperature, because of the natural fat, the cocoa butter, in it.” Zoe takes that one step further. “When I’m tasting chocolate, I like to put warm water in my mouth first,” she says. This allows her mouth to be ready for the full chocolate experience. Both women note that it is important to slow down and savor the experience, rather than gulp down the chocolate. They advise taking a bite and letting the chocolate warm and melt in your mouth. Mmmmm, yes….


“In the beginning, we all made the chocolates, but over time, we settled into various other roles in the company,” explains Zoe, who handles the marketing and packaging. Her brother Petros works with George on developing the chocolates, while Panteles oversees the financial aspects of the business. “It’s like Steve Jobs said, a team is stronger than any one person.” Zoe’s maintains a list of new flavors to try out, and tackles them as time allows. “With new flavors, we could get it right in one try, or it could take six months!” Their latest product is a line of chocolate bars flavored with kid favorites like crunch cereal, chocolate drops or animal crackers ­— geared to parents seeking quality treats for their children. “People are very interested in learning more about chocolate. It’s not uncommon for customers to ask the percentage of cacao that is found in our confections.” News about Zoe’s Chocolates is starting to spread far and wide, and their products are available in

PHOTOS Zoe’s Chocolates

shops in close to 20 states. The celebrity world has also taken notice, after Zoe’s was named the official chocolate for the 2011 Emmy Awards Salon. Next stop, Los Angeles in February, and the celebrity SWAG bags at the Oscars! fluent

The Bridge Fine Art & Framing Gallery Special Exhibit Don Rees Paintings February 2–23 Drawing Exhibit Opening March 2, Call for Artists

8566 Shepherdstown Pike, Shepherdstown WV 25443 • 304.876.2300 Fine Art, Ceramics, Photography & Custom Framing | 33


The Sound

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Fresh Perspective


of Winter Photography by Judy Olsen

Cecil’s Barn Moon Meadow (below)

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Winter’s Bareness | 37


Shepherdstown Station

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Fenceposts

Rumsey Bridge

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It Speaks To Me

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SAVOIR:FARE

Redefining Bistro BY NANCY MCKEITHEN

Executive Chef Justin Meyer is a self-described “food nerd.” French trained and of Italian heritage, he loves cooking what he calls “peasant food—like roasted chicken and lasagna—stuff you can feed Meyer counts organization and timing among his strengths in families.” being an executive chef. Sitting at the front table at DISH on a sunny winter afternoon between lunch and dinner, Meyer talks about what that means for the bistro where, since last December, he’s the new executive chef: “Simple food done to a different level, unexpected, refined. “My sauces may take three days to make from start to finish, but I won’t tell people that.” He laughs, big and often. “It’s fun,” he says of living his dream—being an executive chef before he turns 30 (he’s 26). Cooking since the age of 14, Chef Meyer was inspired by his “Grandmom,” who “always has a table of food when you go there—pastas, lasagna, thin-cut steaks or lemon chicken. All peasant food. That’s where I get it from.” The “it” is his passion. He watches the Food Network for fun and to keep up with trends in his industry, but cautions that while trends, like gastronomy and edible menus, are wonderful to follow, “you have to stay local.” That’s part of his mantra: “Simple, really good food done well, using fresh, local products.” His new DISH menu, introduced in mid-January, is true to that theme, and infused with tastes the new chef hopes “will evoke memories for his customers of favorite things they’ve had before.” And when the executive chef gets hungry? His favorite is from his Italian roots—pizza. fluent DISH • A New American Bistro 213 W Washington St, Charles Town WV 25424 304-728-8464 | www.wvdish.com | info@wvdish.com Sundays & Mondays Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays 11:30 am to 9:00 pm Fridays & Saturdays 11:30 am to 10:00 pm 42 |


Justin Meyer’s Herb-Roasted Chicken serves 2

5 lb whole chicken, bone in 6 Yukon Gold potatoes 2–3 oz baby arugula (peppery) red onion 1 pound butter

1 Tbsp paprika 1/2 Tbsp black pepper 1-1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

Spice Rub 1 Tbsp salt 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper 1 Tbsp fresh thyme

Vinaigrette yellow mustard (to taste) 1 chopped shallot 1 minced clove garlic white wine vinegar extra virgin olive oil canola oil zest of 1 orange salt to taste Preparation: Brine chicken overnight OR salt the skin thoroughly and refrigerate overnight. Remove, pat dry and cover with spice rub. Cook in 425°F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Remove chicken and pat on olive oil and thyme. Finish in oven for 15 minutes. Meat temperature should be between 145° and 165°. Place yellow mustard in bottom of bowl and add 1 chopped shallot and 1 minced clove garlic, then white wine vinegar and incorporate. Add oil (2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar; 75% of oil should be canola oil and 25% extra virgin olive oil) slowly to establish emulsification. Add orange zest and juice to thin out dressing. Add thyme and taste for seasoning. Add pinch of salt. Hand mash cooked potatoes with 1 pound of butter. (Hand mashing keeps down the gluten and gives the potatoes a velvety texture.) Serving: Spoon potatoes onto plate and place half-chicken atop potatoes, cover with sliced red onions and arugula.

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PHOTOS Anne Cropper

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FICTION

Breakfast BY ZACHARY DAVIS

He would not cry today, he was going to be happy. The waitress, a moderately beautiful twentysomething, approached the table he shared with a briefcase and the morning paper. Her eyes were light blue, and her small mouth, free of lipstick, was opened slightly as if she was whispering something to herself, but had stopped midway. He wondered what she might have been saying: perhaps a song, or maybe a bit of poetry. No, not poetry; she was far too pretty to know any poetry. Only ugly women liked poetry. Maybe that was wrong. Did ugly women read poetry, or did it just seem that way? Did they just talk to themselves out of loneliness? Pancakes today, two big fluffy ones both larger and thicker than the plate they rested on. The midpoint of the pancakes had been eaten out, and in the exposed portion was a small pool of sugar-free maple syrup. He was on a mission to lose weight this year, although he was not fat in any clinical sense of the word. His stomach was slightly engorged, and he only had three pairs of pants that fit him comfortably, but he was skinnier than many people, and in fact was considered scrawny by some. The guy his wife was currently sleeping with was rail-thin, though. He wasn’t sure what his wife saw in her rawboned lover, but if she was looking for a skinny guy, he could become that for her; she would love him again in six months. He would be nearly transparent. Thinking about that made him feel terrible, however, and he sat with his fork suspended in mid-bite, a line of syrup falling from the bit of speared pancake. He was already transparent to her. Despite his inward feelings, the image he presented was that of a strong, able-bodied man who had entered into middle age with most of his hair free of gray and a look of good-natured intelligence and wisdom that shone in the corners of his eyes and in the lines of his cheeks. Today he was wearing his nice suit jacket with a long-sleeved white dress shirt 44 |

underneath with no tie. He left the top button — the one that presses against the Adam’s apple whenever a man swallows — unbuttoned. Looking good was important because a man needed to project an image before he experienced what the image suggested. If he looked successful, he would be successful. Happiness was just a matter of showing the world how happy you were, and eventually the heart and mind would cease their stubbornness and become happy. “Can I get you anything else?” the waitress asked, and when she closed her mouth, her face set in an expression of somewhat hurried benevolence, he could see small lines at the corners of her mouth that made her lips look curiously like parentheses. He was shocked he hadn’t noticed when he first ordered. “No, thank you. I’m fine at the moment.” The waitress walked away, and he stared at the hole he had made in his pancakes and thought of the waitress’s mouth. Those oddly shaped lips, nearly curlicued in construction, would not leave his mind. He was surprised to discover he did not want the thought of her mouth to leave his mind. He wanted to call her back and ask what the specials were so he could stare at her lips as they bounced over every word. He wanted her to read the menu to him, and when she was done, he would ask questions about the food. Is the bacon from a local farm? Is the gravy homemade? Do the eggs come from actual chickens, or does the restaurant use that liquid egg substitute I sometimes see in the supermarket at the end of the egg cooler, the sight of which always brings a queer sadness upon me. It’s derided by children as their mothers push carts loaded with offspring and cereal, their eyes skyward so they can pretend the obscenely loud noise does not come from their children. They had no children — oh no — they were still young and had so much going for them. They never got married at 17. This goes on until one of the children grabs its mother’s arm and cries “Mommy, look! That eggy stuff


PHOTO Judy Olsen Photography

is gross!” but it’s not gross, it’s just different. You can never get kids to understand that because it’s one of so many things you cannot explain to kids. Reflecting on it now, I think it was probably a good thing our baby died because I’m not sure I would have had the patience to explain things like egg substitutes to a child. It would have been nice, though, to have a little version of me, dressed for success, standing next to me and calling me daddy. I could explain other things to him, like why boys are different from girls and why mommy works and daddy stays home. That would be nice. I don’t know why she chose (because I sure didn’t) to get rid of the person growing inside of her, and it was you, my son — I don’t know why she didn’t want to keep you. She said she just wasn’t ready for a family, but it was really because she had met that skinny guy, and wherever women go to find insubstantial-looking guys like that, I’ll never know. I want to hear the waitress read the menu and watch her strange, pretty mouth move easily over the words

she is so accustomed to saying every day, and maybe if I’m lucky I can tell her about my wife and how I’m going to get her back. She might even be proud of helping me get her back by bringing me the sugar-free syrup with the pancakes. She’ll say she’s glad to help and that she knows a guy who can take care of that skinny punk, no problem, and I’ll say no thanks — not necessary — because I’m lifting weights. One day soon, I’ll walk to the house from the restaurant and open the door and mount the steps and not listen to the skinny guy’s heavy breathing or my wife’s moans. I will stay focused and alert because she wants me to, and she will be impressed by my focus when I go into the bedroom. I will lift up the skinny guy as he is on top of you and carry him down the steps and out the front door and throw him down on the curb like the worthless trash he is, and I’ll go back in and wash my hands and go upstairs. You’ll be smiling brightly and will tell me you never loved anyone but me and that you’re sorry for playing around with trash. You’ll be | 45


FICTION continued

ready for a real man, and I’ll make love to you like the skinny guy never could, and your moans will be louder because I am a man and not walking trash. You will want to have a baby — a son we’ll name Jack, just like he would have been named if we had kept him the first time — and we will grow old together in each other’s arms as Jack turns into a fine man just like his daddy. A man walking by bumped into the diner’s arm just as he was about to take the bite that had been suspended for so long. A bit of sugar-free syrup fell from the fork and landed on the diner’s shirt. There was no “excuse me” offered, and he doubted there would be one in the future, the sort of rudeness that is even more insulting because the person doesn’t even acknowledge that he’s done something rude. If he had maybe spit on the diner’s face, it could have been forgiven—at least it would have been honest. The diner could not understand why some people felt the need to act as if kindness and basic decency were foreign concepts. Just like the scrawny man. Just like his wife. She never once thought to bring up the subject of her infidelity. She kept trying to hide it, and that was unforgivable. There are certain things you should be honest about no matter what, and anyone who wasn’t deserved what they got. The diner felt something within himself shift, and then break. He thought how awful people were because they insisted upon their rudeness but lacked the decency to be straight about it. He was hedged in all sides by the callous and uncaring. There was no escape. He was too hot, the room was too hot, and he needed to cool off. Feeling like he was aflame from within, he rose from the booth and started swiftly toward the door. He realized as he stood in the doorway that he had left his briefcase at the table. A family of three trying to leave stood behind him. Trying to decide whether or not what was in the briefcase was necessary to go back for, he turned around and began to bite his nails and spit them out absentmindedly, not 46 |

noticing the ragged, brutally shorn ends of his nails were landing in the hair of the woman in front of him. “Oh, excuse me,” she said, “you just spat on me.” Realizing this was his chance to be courageous, the husband stepped forward and placed his index finger mere inches from the face of the diner — this man who had offended his wife, and by proxy, him as well.

He was hedged in all sides by the callous and uncaring. There was no escape. “Nobody spits on my wife, you get me?” The husband, feeling his statement to be insufficiently tough, added, “You don’t even spit near my wife, asshole.” Getting bolder, he said, “Maybe you and I should go outside and talk about your manners. I’ve got my family here, and they don’t need to be exposed to that kind of rudeness. What makes you so special you can spit on people, huh?” At this, the husband spit a viscid glob of saliva, yellowish from the orange juice he recently finished, onto the diner. Although he was aiming for his face, the glob, perhaps too heavy or not expelled with enough force (just in case the diner would happen to take offense) landed on the collar of the diner’s nice white dress shirt. The husband stepped back and raised his hands to chest level in anticipation of the coming fight, but the diner walked past him to the table where he left the briefcase. The husband, considering himself to be the victor in the exchange, marshaled his family through the exit and toward their car; the only physical contact between himself and the diner was the soft brush of fabric as the diner, in his finest suit —the one he wanted to be buried in — walked past, the shoulder of his jacket touching lightly the husband’s pullover sweater. fluent


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POETRY

Christa Mastrangelo has loved words and poetry for as long as she can remember. She earned her MFA in poetry from Antioch University in Los Angeles and taught college writing for 5 years. Her poems and nonfiction are published in such journals and publications as Water~Stone, The Florida English Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Umbrella Journal and Fairy Tale Review, among others. She currently runs a yoga studio, Jala Yoga in Shepherdstown, WVa, where she combines her love of teaching yoga with poetry whenever possible.

Say It Is the memory of early mornings watching him rise before anyone else dared; say it was his need to greet the sun, to own the morning, to absorb the quiet for a brief time. Say it was the way he assembled his things — black surf rod and silver reel that glinted in the light; tackle box arranged in neat rows, each brightly colored lure laid in its own bed; cooler of bait and his bucket — carried them to the shore, and arranged them around himself in the sand where he stood as the sun rose slow and pink over the horizon of the water. Say it was his patience, his persistence, not necessarily for the fish itself but to be caught in the moment, to stand utterly still and listen to the shushing of the waves calling him, a Buddhist Monk invited by the morning bell. Say it was the shine on the water, prayers breaking into light. Say I witnessed the parts of his body made of water come alive as he listened to bird call and watched the morning light begin its ascent over the horizon. Say that this is why when someone asks me how it was my father died, I smile and tell them conspiratorially that, one morning when the waves were at rest, he walked far, far out into the ocean and, as if his feet were leading him home, he simply didn’t stop. For a moment he paused when the water topped his shoulders, then suddenly the last of his black curls slipped under and he was returned to where he belongs.

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Dancing the Blues You were swiggin’ Jack, growlin’ Blues burns in my belly; I knew then you were a man I’d dance with. A man who’d put Tom on the juke and grind into me through the gravel of his voice. You rolled up your sleeves, showed me tats and scars from fights with loved ones. I leaned into you, pressed hip bones into groin, told you I’d make no promises, but the dancing would feel good. You hesitated, said my hips felt like another needle engraving your center. Your heart sounded like a motorcycle gunning. My blood warmed to the whiskey. We were mixed drinks, making blues on the dance floor. I pressed harder when you whispered, Baby, me and you were never strangers, Baby, me and you were never strangers.


A Small Revelation

Family Portrait It is as shapeless as they were in this new place. Their mouths and jaws are set like the vice that held them. Eyes rimmed by dark circles tell of long days working to make themselves at home; hard set mouths reveal how little they must have spoken, how few words they could manage. My grandfather is wearing a golf cap, a stiff winter coat. My grandmother stands close, hair set in tight, black curls. My father is two, looks like a miniature man, dark suspenders fastened to plaid pants. They stand in front of the brick wall that my grandfather has meticulously laid; it will become the home where this family will live. What could they offer beyond the small bits of knowledge brought with them, imprinted on their genes? What else but mixing brick, making sauce, fermenting wine? Memories of white roofed, stone houses stacked up the hillside of Pani; red tomatoes purchased at Sunday morning marketplace; my great-grandfather preserving freshly-made bottles of Chianti in the cool underbelly of sand; the music of the language of familia, all packed tight in a steamer trunk, locked as their eyes were, looking into America.

One day you feel it, that the tight shell you’re curled inside has pushed against you too long, that it’s time to open out into something bigger. And so you begin by breathing because there is always breath at the beginning of new life and because if you can just focus on the breathing then the fear won’t feel so heavy. Then you push outward, past the comfort of what your parents taught you, past the comfort of your lover’s arms, past each and every identity that has seemed both certain and vaguely restrictive. What you come to isn’t an open field where you are greeted by monks in white robes. There is no white light or chimes to toll your arrival. There is just more life and string after string of identity pulling you back; old sorrows and words that you packed and brought along; children and spouses who need you to pack lunches and sweep floors; jobs that demand nearly every single thinking moment of the day. But there is something else too—if you keep breathing, moment upon moment will begin to unfold around you and suddenly you understand fullness and presence and devotion. And so one day you spend the whole afternoon picking wine berries with your children, letting the sharp burst of tartness linger on your tongue. Or you ride your bike down a long hill and allow the wind to fill your hair and T-shirt. Chopping vegetables for dinner, you feel the slide of the knife through thick skin and inhale the smell of the tomato stem full of sticky, musty sweetness. And though you won’t stay there, soaking in the grace of being present, you know for sure now that you’ve been, you will come again.

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ED:CETERA

The Illusion of Praxis & the Random Sentence Generator BY ED ZAHNISER

The human mind is a random sentence generator. When it operates by the usual rules of syntax and grammar, everything appears hunky-dory. Your language behavior is so transparent that no one notices. But you might want to notice, and one way to externalize how your language-mind works is to play with random sentence generators. Fortunately, they are as close to you as the Internet. In real life — not what we are talking about here — random sentence generators have several educational uses. They are used to teach English as a second language (ESL). They are also used to teach, by example, the parts of a sentence: subject, verb, object, complement... all those things you faced in public school and hoped you’d never face again. Gird up your loins. “English Sentence Machine” may sound like a description of the late William F. Buckley or even George Will. Not so. It’s the name of just one example of a random sentence generator. It is to be found at www.manythings.org/sm/. The generator gives you a template for listing proper names, verbs of all sorts, adjectives, adverbs, and temporal and spatial terms — now, yesterday, tomorrow, often, twice, here — and with whom this sentence happens. If your purpose is ESL or boning up on the elements of a sentence, you can use the template that English Sentence Machine offers. Or you can launch your career as a fiction writer and put your own words into the template. Be warned, however, that you should try to refill the template with words that apply to the category of the specific frame. Your linguistic behavior will not be transparent if you use verbs where proper names should be, etc. That would put you in the realm of the Dadaist absurdist or the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets who don’t use words denotatively but rather like objects torn from their roots. Think Abstract Expressionist painting — or the notion that words might function on the page like the color blends in a Mark Rothko painting. 50 |

Because my day job regularly drives me to my trusty Harbrace College Handbook, I put my own words in the template, but I tried to stick to the grammatical or syntactic character of a specific frame. Here are my entries: John Boehner, flounder, flounders, floundering, floundered, excruciatingly, never, yesterday, tomorrow and tomorrow, at odds, for two years, often, every day, kick the can, down the road. I used some other words, but the generator never pulled them out, so I won’t burden you with them. It never seemed to get to “kick the can” or “down the road” either, which was a disappointment. Next I ran out a bunch of sentences, by mouseclicking the “Get a Random Pattern” button (using “button” in computer-speak mode). Then I selected some of the sentences and put them in an order that pleased me. At that point I decided that my new work of fiction needed complication, so I mouse-clicked on the “Get Random Words” button, and simply changed the single proper name frame to “Grover Norquist.” Then I ran a bunch of “Get Random Pattern” button sentences and selected those that I thought carried my putative story line forward. Then I made up a title that I hoped would inject tension into my short-short story. Here we go: John Boehner No Longer Loves Grover Norquist John Boehner doesn’t enjoy floundering down the road. I have floundered down the road twice. John Boehner floundered for two years yesterday. Please flounder down the road tomorrow and tomorrow. John Boehner flounders excruciatingly. Would you mind floundering? Please flounder at odds. John Boehner floundered for two years every day. I have floundered down the road at odds.


Grover Norquist will be very angry next Wednesday evening. Grover Norquist is dancing in the mountains now. Grover Norquist danced for a few hours four times a day. I have never danced at noon. Would you mind dancing in the mountains? Grover Norquist was afraid to dance at noon. They dance in the mountains four times a day. Grover Norquist dances very quietly. Did Grover Norquist dance in the mountains earlier this morning? If your dream has been to study at the University of Chicago, you can pretend to do so online by using the random sentence generator developed there. It can be found by typing “Write Your Own Academic Sentence” into your Internet browser search box. Or copy this in: http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/toys/ randomsentence/write-sentence.htm. You can copy and paste your brand-new sentence, but it’s in a big, sans serif font in blue, so you have to keep conforming it to the font in your word processor, which is a somewhat Luddite protocol, compared to giving voice commands to your iPhone over pancakes at iHop, for example. Second, you don’t get to put your own words into the generator. It’s stuffed with the specialized language of the Postmodern Deconstructionist vocabulary that has captured humanities studies in many universities. Therefore, you can sound educated and stupid at the same time. This can come in handy in certain social situations, but don’t try it at NASCAR events. You simply choose one term from each of four drop-down menus. Then you mouse-click the “Write It” button to get your academic sentence. A particularly nice feature is that you can instantly get another academic sentence — based on your four selected terms — by mouse-clicking the “Edit It!” button. So here goes: I choose 1. linguistic transparency, 2. post-capitalist hegemony, 3. engendering, and 4. epistemology. (Epistemology is not a dirty word. It’s the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.) Then I mouse-click and voilà:

The engendering of post-capitalist hegemony is strictly congruent with the epistemology of linguistic transparency. Not much change. Mouse-click “Edit It!” again: The epistemology of linguistic transparency is strictly congruent with the engendering of postcapitalist hegemony. Well, you get the idea. Let’s try something more down-to-earth: 1. print culture, 2. the gaze, 3. fantasy and 4. eroticization: The eroticization of the gaze functions as the conceptual frame for the fantasy of print culture. I’m not sure an edit will improve that, but here goes: The fantasy of the gaze functions as the conceptual frame for the eroticization of print culture. Well, that has a nice post-Helen Gurley Brown ring to it. Don’t be surprised, however, if someone nearby drops their cocktail glass but doesn’t realize it until they’ve been staring at you for quite a while. Here, too, you could string your academic sentences together to make academic paragraphs: The engendering of post-capitalist hegemony is strictly congruent with the epistemology of linguistic transparency. The fantasy of the gaze functions as the conceptual frame for the eroticization of print culture. You might even use a short string of such PomoDecon pearls to try to move to the head of your Lifelong Learning class, at least temporarily. But be warned: The illusion of praxis asks to be read as the ideology of the nation-state. fluent

The epistemology of post-capitalist hegemony is strictly congruent with the engendering of linguistic transparency. So you’re not totally impressed? Okay, I’ll mouseclick “Edit It!” | 51


CODA

PHOTOS Shepherd Ogden (top), Nancy McKeithen

“Vanitas”

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