connie converse – talkin’ like you (c. 1950s)

During the 1950s, Converse worked for the Academy Photo Offset printing house in New York’s Flatiron District. She initially lived in Greenwich Village, but would later take up residency in the Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem areas. She started calling herself Connie, a nickname she had acquired in New York. She began writing songs and performing them for friends, accompanying herself on guitar. During this time, she adopted smoking and drinking, which starkly went against her strict Baptist upbringing; her still-religious parents rejected her music career, and her father died without having heard a single one of Connie’s songs. Converse’s only known public performance was a brief television appearance in 1954 on The Morning Show on CBS with Walter Cronkite, which artist Gene Deitch helped to arrange. By 1961 (the same year that Bob Dylan moved to Greenwich Village and quickly met mainstream success), Converse had grown frustrated trying to sell her music in New York. That year, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her brother Philip Converse was a professor of political science at the University of Michigan. She worked in a secretarial job, and then as Managing Editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution in 1963 which she also wrote for. Following her move to the midwest, Converse appears to have mostly ceased writing new songs. She disappeared in 1974. [Read more here.]

moment of tangency: a glimpse of what might have been (2017/1913)

The 18 January 2017 word from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

This resonated for me with a sentiment Rainer Maria Rilke captured in a poem more than a century earlier, in 1913:

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…

head in the clouds

Alicia Savage - Head in the Clouds.

Alicia Savage – Head in the Clouds.

“Destinations is an ongoing series of self-portraits inspired by the decision to explore on one’s own. Over the past few years I have often felt compelled to travel alone, trusting in the direction of my curiosities and finding inspiration in the experiences that follow. Some of these images were conceptualized beforehand where others were created completely on impulse, reflecting a documentation of my surroundings, mindset, and subconscious. With my face hidden the girl becomes unidentifiable – allowing others to interpret the images as they will; incorporating their own journey and experiences.”

More of this series HERE.