The Idyll’s of Jim Faulkner’s Indiana

This memory popped up a couple days ago, and — considering the suitability of the season — it’s prime for re-appraisal.

“The Woods,” by Jim Faulkner

Back in 2008, I participated in the Arts Kaleidoscope exhibition in Muncie, Indiana — an event (at the unfortunately erstwhile Gallery 308) which paired writers with visual artists, the former creating works inspired by the latter.  I was privileged to get matched up with painter Jim Faulkner, a regional legend of sorts who passed away last January.  In a May, 2021 story for the Muncie Journal, Faulkner was called the “Ambassador of Indiana’s Beauty.”

My task was to create a poem that paid tribute to Faulkner’s simply-titled watercolor, “The Woods,” while imparting my own voice and style.  What I came up with was the following poem, “Heckle and Jeckle’s Catch-22.”

Adam Golaski’s COLOR PLATES: A Live Performance by Stories on Stage

A narrow window of opportunity presents itself in the weeks ahead, as Stories On Stage is set to feature Adam Golaski’s Color Plates in a virtual, live-streaming performance at 7 p.m. (MT) Friday April 9, 2021. Several stories from Color Plates (2010) have been adapted for this live performance interpreted by actors Randy Moore, Anne Penner, and Geoffrey Kent. (The program is sponsored by Isabelle Clark.)

“The Dance Class,” Degas (1874)

Golaski’s Color Plates is an exercise in ekphrasis: a literary commentary on a work of art. Sixty-three short tales, or “plates,” compose Golaski’s volume, with the book housing stories inspired by Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, along with a “sort-of” curator in Mary Cassatt. During the live play, the paintings on which the stories are based will be paired with the performance.

Stories on Stage selected several of the ‘Sister/Brother’ stories,” Golaski recently shared with me, and “throughout the book Sister & Brother appear, at different ages in different situations. My favorite is the Tolouse-Lautrec inspired story where cousins of Sister & Brother perform an indoor mini-circus…[b]ut Stories on Stage also chose stories outside that cycle,” including Degas’ “Young Spartans Exercising,” examining, writes Golaski, “a high school boy’s desperate crush.”

Adam Golaski wrote the introduction (“The Profane Articulation of Truth”) to my short story collection, The Skeleton Melodies (Hippocampus Press). And while I deem him a friend, he is above all a literary ally and creative colleague. If you consider yourself saturated in the disciplines of reading-writing reciprocity, you’d benefit from acquainting yourself with Golaski’s uncommon craft.