"Last night Ishmael got Really Wired" This is my own metal wire sculpture depicting Ishmael, the narrator of Moby Dick
As I am sitting here, trying to figure out how to start, I can't help but wonder what the great master writers did when they had a touch of writer's block. Melville grabs his little quill and his little bottle of ink... no, Melville sits down to his state of the art 1850's typewriter. He stares at the type writer and plays with the little bell thingy until a first sentence comes to him...
"There once was a whale named Moby". He glares at that for a while, trying to imagine all of the readers out there reading that first line of his fantastic novel. "There once was a whale named Moby" will go right up with "To be or not to be." Melville smiles a Melville grin and begins to write the second sentence. Before the next sentence becomes a key stroke, he rips the sheet of paper from the type writer and crumples it up (not unlike the way I've held down the delete key in my own way of literary protest). He tries the fantastic beginning again, with a touch of plagiarism:
"Moby was the best of whales, Moby was the worst of whales." he laughs at his ingeniousness and decides to call his novel "A Tale of two Whales". Of course, he would have to write in another whale, but that was workable. After some thought, he decides this would not do either. Pondering a narrative piece or whether to do it from the perspective of Moby Dick, he decided that a neutral character would be best. And what better way to start a story than to introduce the narrator:
"Hi, my name is Pip". The name sounded familiar but was a little short.
"I go by Penelope". It didn't quite flow and thought a male (being a member of a sexist society) would be more appropriate.
"My friends call me Ahab". He liked the name, but thought it would be better for a later character.
Melville sat and pondered the most appropriate name for a narrator. He thought of "Shirley", "Pequod", "Starbuck", and "George". He liked some of the names but none seemed right for the narrator. Melville let out a sigh of frustration and looked at his dog Ishmael. Ishmael was lying on the floor chewing on his milk bone and growling softly. "Oh, Ishmael", Melville said out loud, "all the names that I have thought of don't sound right. What am I going to do. I am trying to start this great novel, and I don't even have a name for my main character. I might as well just call him Ishmael.
And that's how Melville got through writers block.
Perhaps I'll break through my writer's block by revealing a little about the foundation of this home page. This home page was the collaborative idea of a crew that set sail for "Moby-Dick, HNR 303" at Northern Kentucky University led by Captain Dr. Wallace, a sea-faring mate more obsessed with Moby Dick than Ahab. We sailed through Moby-Dick in a few weeks and threw Moby-Dick to the wind. Our class sailed to Evanston (near Chicago) to see a rare collection of Moby-Dick art. Following the trip, we caught the wind of inspiration and spent some time doing our own art. The crew on the Moby Dick, HNR 303 had a near mutiny at the end of the semester with all of the projects due, but pulled through the storm with our leading captain, Dr. Wallace. Overall, The class was phenomenal. The entire class centered around 1 novel (Moby-Dick, of course) and we spent our time exploring, creating, philosophizing, and analyzing. I learned a lot, and I can now honestly say that I have Moby Dick under my belt.
Our individual art projects were a high flag to be flown. We had just about every art form represented: Musical composition, plaster sculpture, metal sculpture, computer projects, paintings (acrylic and watercolor), pastel, a still life complete with a pearl necklace and a bratwurst, stained glass art, and photography. The art was beautiful, but the amazing thing to me was that all of this artwork was created from Moby-Dick. It was an art piece that inpsired an art piece (many of which were influenced by the art pieces we saw at the Mary and Leigh Block Gallery).
Our project for the gallery trip was to choose an artist and write about his or her work. I chose a most stunning piece entitled "Moby Dick" by an art guru herself, Vali Myers. Perhaps the most compelling and inspiring piece of art work I have seen yet. The attention to detail and fluidity of expression that Vali Myers achieves in her work is a rival of spiritual contentment. I found not only Moby Dick and Vali Myers in the painting, but a little bit of myself as well.
Since this home page is a continually developing and growing one, I hope to soon have a picture of Vali Myer's "Moby Dick"; for now, just pretend you see it here. check back from time to time to see the growth of kallmeyer's home page. any e-mail is in order. e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org