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Amber Paulen

A Chain Linked

In the short story I recently finished writing, I used the metaphor of a chain linked forwards and backwards to describe a painting. As I flipped through The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich, I read a similar metaphor. The experience of standing before a painting, a photograph, reading a novel, admiring a star, observing nature, an element of architecture, listening to music, reminds us of our human past, binds us in a present connection and ensures us—for some generations at least—of a future with some constants. Though the mechanisms of the world seem to be run by the powerful and greedy and rarely humane, by the schedules and routines of day-to-day, it is not that which gives us our humanity. The poets, the artists and visionaries preserve our divinity. The pantheism of Ancient Rome, the gods and goddesses and cults and sects, was modernly secular. To stand as a link in a single chain would be a mistake. I find myself working towards (and fascinated by) the multiplicity and multi-dimensionality of so many possible connections.


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