rupta via.

According to the OED, the etymological origin of route is from a Latin phrase has more to do with rupture or breaking that with directing motion, tracking or linkages. Route as the edge of the jigsaw pieces, rather than the sidewalk. I am curious as to where such thoughts travel.

This year, I spent part of the holiday season visiting friends in New York. In the midst of beginnings & catching up, I was also fortunate enough to visit the amazing Crossing Borders exhibit at the Jewish Museum—filled with illuminated manuscripts from various centuries, on loan from the Bodleian Library at Oxford. 

I spent quite awhile in the midst of the codices & rotuli, gilding, gold leaf, vellum, parchment, vermilion, indigo & ink. I was taken by many things; my notebook holds quite a few notes & thumbnail sketches that I'm revisiting quite a bit. But I remember being particularly struck by the prescence of ghost lines, measurements, guidelines, grids—how the traces of the process and underpinnings of the illustrations and text were not worked away, censored, hidden.

In some manuscripts—particularly those produced in Al Andalus—the guidelines are given flourishes, details of their own. These gestures didn't strike me as an effort to mask the marks or their purpose, probably because the lines & their function as guides/markers were still clearly discernable. It felt more like a celebration or elevation—a means of bringing a mundane detail that also bears the mark of drudgery, associations with human weakness & falliablity into conversation & proximity with the divine, the sacred & beautiful. & of course, much of the connection in the case of these guidelines comes through the grace of geometry, trigonometry, mathematics of design. (There was an amazing & moving array of books in several languages dealing with the mysteries of Pythagoreanisms, trigonometric principles, etc.)

It was a gift to end the year & begin a new series of questions, projects, etc. in that space—scribbling my own notes & such amongst words & figures that might have been first penned by Ibn Sina, Maimonides.

Other endings & beginnings: While writing up notes from my visit to the Brooklyn Museum to see Mickalene Thomas' Origin of the Universe and re-visit Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, I realized  I was near the end of my notebook. I looked back through, curious to see what I'd collected. It was a surprise to realize how distant many of the projects, poems and books in the notebook seemed. How much I'd already forgotten or filed away in my memory. Even more surprising, however, were some scribbles among the first pages of the book: a sketch of The Dinner Party and scribbles to find out more about a painting & the artist—"A Little Taste Outside of Love," by Mickalene Thomas.