Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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29

Oct

2021

Every work of art has its “provenance”

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday October 28, 2021 

 

I am awash in provenance. 

            In the art world, provenance identifies the origins of artwork. The art could be a painting, a statue, a piece of music or literature. Often, provenance enhances the value of a work of art. Mozart’s Requiem takes on special status when you know that Salieri wrote it out for a dying Mozart – at least, according to the movie Amadeus. 

            That’s why art galleries provide information about the artist, and about the history of that piece. 

            In my case, I have too much provenance. My daughter and I are the only leaves left of four family trees. 

            Everything funnelled down to us has a story. 


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13

Nov

2020

Finding the right ending

Author: Jim Taylor

No, I am NOT going to write about the recent U.S. election. Everyone else has done that already.

            Instead, I’m going back some 80 years, to a collection of academic papers I inherited, written by my father while doing his studies for a PhD in psychology. 

            He was, at the time, acting principal of an undergraduate arts college in India. His students belonged to four different religions and at least six language groups. And he was using those students to test psychological theories developed for western nations -- Europe and North America.

            The only thing he proved, he admitted later, was that western categories simply didn’t fit the eastern mind. 

            But some of his exercises have interesting implications.


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4

Dec

2016

Spilling your guts as a writing model

Author: Jim Taylor

Newspaper journalists are supposed to be dispassionate observers of the subjects they write about. They’re not supposed to have feelings themselves.

            Stan Chung flips that dictum upside down. In the columns he writes for the Kelowna Courier, he’s more than just personal. He spills his guts. And then he lays his guts out on the operating table and dissects them. Stan bares his soul to grab us by the heart.

            He describes his writing technique as “creative non-fiction.” It’s real. It’s fact. But it’s dramatized for impact.

            Most of us – and I include myself in this generalization – tend to sandpaper smooth the raw edges of our psyches. We find rationalizations for our actions. We shift some of the blame to someone else.

            Stan refuses to buy into that pattern. He’s ruthlessly honest with the feelings most of us try to forget. Or to bury. He writes a biography of pain that is also a celebration of survival.



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30

Nov

2016

The persuasive power of stories

Author: Jim Taylor

She looks happy. A smile wreathes her face, which is smudged with charcoal. So is her frilly pink dress. She’s on her hands and knees inside the fireplace, one small hand raised in greeting. 

            Our daughter Sharon was eight months old when we moved into our dream home in North Vancouver. The rest of us were busy carrying boxes. Sharon was too young to carry anything, so we parked her inside and carried on carrying. How much trouble can a still-crawling child get into in an empty house?

            Then my wife asked, “Where’s Sharon?”

            No one had seen her. We scattered through the rooms, searching frantically. Panic rising in our throats, we gathered in the living room. 

            That’s when we heard the happy gurgle coming from the fireplace.

 

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Categories: Soft Edges

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