The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged
This was fun.
This was for DS106‘s The Daily Create #355, and the assignment was to “Draw a picture of one person/animal/object/thing riding another like a cavalry charge (e.g. Stalin riding a shark)” (and while that photo was unavailable, “Putin riding a shark” is, miraculously).
The photo is, OF COURSE, Rainer Maria Rilke (from Germany) riding Falkor, the luck dragon (from “The Neverending Story”). I made it awhile back for a prose-poetry-zine project called STOP SAYING WHAT IT IS.
The title of the prose poem was “Dummy Life,” which is taken from a quote from one of Rilke’s letters:
“Now, from America, empty indifferent things are pouring across, sham things, dummy life. . . . A house, in the American sense, an American apple or a grapevine over there, has nothing in common with the house, the fruit, the grape into which went the hopes and reflections of our forefathers. . . . Live things, things lived and conscient of us, are running out and can no longer be replaced. We are perhaps the last still to have known such things.”
The quote is also the epigraph of one of my short stories which won an Avery Hopwood Award at the U-M MFA program, but it’s just something that got stuck in my head. Of course I bring a different batch of perceptions in reading it than Rilke suffered from when he wrote it, but the quote challenged me in ways that I both like and don’t like.
So when the daily create came up with the “thing riding another thing” concept, I immediately thought of that picture I had made. I busted out the colored pencils and got to work. Now, the cutout of the drawing sits in my home office, along with another daily create artifact–the “draw on a newspaper” assignment–and my horarium, my hourly work schedule.