“Would it be so wrong for art to be about something happy?
It’s a legitimate feeling.”
- American Author Elizabeth Crane
in her short story “You Must Be This Happy to Enter”
from her book of short stories
You Must Be This Happy to Enter: Stories
(Punk Planet Books, 1990)
Once again, Krista Tippett’s weekly On Being podcast has brought a gift into my life. The December 28, 2017 edition of the podcast, entitled “Stories About Mystery,” includes actor Claire Danes (star of the television series Homeland) reading Elizabeth Crane’s delightfully off-centre short story, “You Must Be This Happy to Enter.” (link) Click on ‘Play Episode’; the story starts at 28:14 and takes about 18 minutes. (BTW, the whole episode is worth your time if you’ve got an hour to indulge yourself.)
What struck me about this story was the world that Elizabeth Crane has created: unhappiness is the norm; happiness is illegal. The question that the story’s protagonist asks, “Would it be so wrong for art to be about something happy?”, has stuck with me since I listened to it last week.
Indeed, what is wrong with happiness in art? A fair question, and one that I try to answer in my photography.
My basic answer is: Nothing whatsoever! I hope that the photos that follow reflect that answer.
Enjoy the photos – and enjoy Claire Danes!
Bill nursing a lamb on the farm he shared with his
late partner, Gene Ouimette, in Amelisaburgh, 2006
Photographer: Gene Ouimette
Late 1970s era Lincoln Continental at a North Front Street Motel in Belleville, May, 2016. So deliciously indulgent!
Seagulls – bold as brass – at an outdoor café,
Sydney Opera House, July, 2010.
Grandchildren, photographed in our kitchen, May, 2017.
All four grandchildren and my grandnephew
bring me such happiness.
What a blessing they are in my life!
Artist participating in Belleville’s annual Plein Air painting weekend, Queen Street, Belleville, May, 2015.
Streetcars heading east along Queen’s Quay,
Toronto, January, 2016.
I love the symmetry of this photo.
Hungry giraffe at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia, July, 2007.
Red-haired boy disappearing into a bronze log,
Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia, July, 2007.
No doubt his mates call him ‘Blue’,
the fate of many red-headed guys in Australia.
Photo of me when I was training to be a
therapeutic clown at the Hospital for Sick Children,
Toronto, June, 2007.
My clown’s name: Dougie, named after my dad.
Photographer: Joan Barrington, founder of the
Therapeutic Clown Program at Sick Kids.
Sadly, the program has dwindled since Joan left.
Otis travelling regally to a family cottage on Georgian Bay,
Tim on the left, Bill on the right.
And, yes, that is a life jacket he’s wearing!