Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cozy Mystery Author Leann Sweeney speaks at Friendswood Public Library

Cozy mystery author Leann Sweeney recently spoke at the Friendswood Public Library to a large group of mystery fans.  Leann’s vibrant stories shed light into the mystery writing process and was great help to many budding writers. The event was a big success and we hope to have Leann back soon to share stories and answer more of those great questions.  Keep an eye out for our March Madness Reading Program when Leann may be a guest speaker.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Mic Poetry Night (November 3rd)

Open Mic Poetry Night on November 3rd was a great success. Poet and musician Oscar Pena hosted the event and also read poems from his chapbook, Fire of Thorns. Special guest poets Donna Pauley and Rebecca Travis read from their poetry to a group of twenty plus in attendance. Several poets from the audience got up to read their poems including Barbara Carle who read from her book, New York Rhapsody.  The Friendswood Public Library carries the works of many local/area poets including former Texas Poet Laureate and past speaker at the Friendswood Public Library, Larry Thomas. The library also carries Rebecca Hatcher Travis's Picked Apart the Bones, winner of the First Book Award for Poetry from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. Check with the Reference Department for help in finding these local poetry books.

We look forward to our next Open Mic Poetry Night on Wednesday, February 9th at 7pm. Everyone is invited to come and read your own poems or share poetry by other authors. These Open Mic events are a great way for poets of any experience level to meet and talk with people of similar interests. It's also fun to just come and listen! Refreshments are served.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FPL Computer Class tips

The Friendswood Public Library offers beginner computer classes in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; Managing Files and Folders, Internet Searching, Email, and Database Searching. These classes are designed primarily for new users but can also provide helpful tips to the intermediate level user. Computer classes are held every other Thursday evening at 6:30pm and some Monday afternoons at 2pm. Visit the library's Adult Programs Schedule for a more detailed listing of computer classes.

5 tips for enhancing your computer class experience:

1.       Take notes.
2.       Review exercises, notes, and class material within a day or two of taking the class.
3.       Practice the skills you’ve learned frequently.
4.       Slowly add new skills as your comfort increases.
5.       Take the class a second time to ask new questions or absorb additional material.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Van Gogh's Diary

The name Vincent Van Gogh conjures the quintessential image of Romantic artist, sacrificing self in the pursuit of artistic transcendence.  One look at any of Van Gogh’s dozens of self-portraits reveals the man to be serious, intense; maybe daring you to hold his gaze. What does he see in himself that you are also meant to see?  Do you see an injured man; an angry, sad or lonely man?  Some might even see a man injured beyond words or meaning; the vibrancy and color around the eyes to emphasize the total isolation within.

Van Gogh was injured in many ways familiar to us all; unrequited love (at least twice), little respect for his life’s work, and an inability to maintain meaningful relationships (aside from his brother Theo).  But it seems after reading Van Gogh’s diary that his injury, his artist’s burden, goes way beyond the line of duty that most would regard as appropriate.  In July of 1882, Van Gogh writes, “What am I most people’s eyes?  A nonentity, or an eccentric and disagreeable man--- somebody who has no position in society and never will have, in short, the lowest of the low. Very well, even if this were true, then I should want my work to show what is in the heart of such an eccentric, of such a nobody.  This is my ambition, which is, in spite of everything, founded less on anger than on love, more on serenity than on passion.  It is true that I am often in the greatest misery, but still there is a calm pure harmony and music inside me.”
Much of Van Gogh’s writings reveal a man moving through various extremes of feeling, striving to express the things which are intangible in nature and life.  Drawing and painting are revealed to be the one constant which keeps him moving steadily forward. Writing in September of 1882, Van Gogh describes his process of creation, “I see that nature has told me something, has spoken to me, and that I have put it down in shorthand.  In my shorthand there may be words that cannot be deciphered, there may be mistakes or gaps: but there is something of what wood or beach or figure has told me in it, and it is not the tame or conventional language derived from a studied manner or system rather than from nature itself.  It strikes me that Van Gogh believes most profoundly in the “mistakes or gaps” of his work. As he says in July of 1882, “I see drawings and pictures…in the dirtiest corner.  And my mind is drawn toward these things by an irresistible force.“ 
In November of the same year, Van Gogh speaks directly of the isolation of being an artist, “This also is something unbearable for many a painter…One is afraid of making friends, one is afraid of moving; like one of the old lepers, one would like to call from afar to the people: Don’t come too near me, for intercourse with me brings you sorrow and loss.  With all that huge burden of care on one’s heart, one must set to work with a calm everyday face, without moving a muscle, live one’s ordinary life, get along with the models, with the man who comes for the rent---in fact, with everybody…And then storms arise, things one has not foreseen; one doesn’t know what to do, and one has a feeling that one may strike a rock at any moment.”
Reading the words of Van Gogh clearly add to and compliment the great works of this genius artist. And yet, despite all of this explanation and outpouring, the full and abundant meaning of Van Gogh’s work seems to remain a beautiful mystery.  Our increasing knowledge of the heavens does not decrease our wonderment, and so our marvel at Van Gogh’s Starry Night should continue for generations to come.

Van Gogh’s “Diary”: The Artist’s Life in his own Words and Art. Edited by Jan Hulsker
Found in the Friendswood Public Library at 759.949 G613gv