Golden Moon

“Golden Moon” | Anthony Satori

“You may have noticed that everything we do is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, because theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle, and so it is with everything where power moves.”

– Black Elk

The Myth of the Rainy Night

“Piano Keys” | Anthony Satori

“I looked. George Shearing. And as always he leaned his blind head on his pale hand, all ears opened like the ears of an elephant. Then they urged him to get up and play. He did. Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you’d think the man wouldn’t have time to line them up. They rolled and rolled like the sea. He played innumerable choruses with amazing chords that mounted higher and higher till the sweat splashed all over the piano and everybody listened in awe and fright. They led him off the stand after an hour. Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat; these were his great days before he became cool and commercial. He went back to his dark corner, old God Shearing, and the boys said, ‘There ain’t nothing left after that.’ When he was gone, Dean pointed to the empty piano seat. ‘God’s empty chair,’ he said. God was gone; it was the silence of his departure. It was a rainy night. It was the myth of the rainy night.”

– Jack Kerouac

This text is my own compilation of two entirely separate accounts that Jack Kerouac wrote describing a single rainy night when he and “Dean” (Neal Cassady) watched George Shearing play piano at a jazz club. The more I combed through each of the two descriptions, the more I found them to be almost perfectly complimentary to each other. Eventually, it even started to seem as if Kerouac had deliberately structured them this way: consistently presenting certain elements of the experience in one description that he had left out of (or shaded differently in) the other, and vice versa. Being an avid appreciator of Kerouac’s descriptive writing, I became curious to see how the text would feel if I synthesized these two descriptions into one continuous narrative. It started as a creative exercise, but as I proceeded, it almost began to feel as if Jack had quite purposefully left this puzzle to be found and deciphered later by some especially attentive (and lucky) reader, and that I had by pure good fortune stumbled upon this riddle. Whether he did it on purpose or not, I do not know. But the combined story ended up coming together in such a compelling manner, I decided to share it with you here. I hope you enjoy!


“Longing” | Anthony Satori

Edgar Degas was a French painter from the Impressionist Period of the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was known for his delicate, dream-like paintings of ballet dancers and, later in his career, for his highly sympathetic images of women in domestic roles. During his lifetime, Degas’ paintings were very well-regarded, and he achieved both critical acclaim and financial success. Through the century following his passing, his stature as a great artist only increased with time. What many people don’t realize, however, is that, in addition to being an accomplished painter, Degas also made sculptures; or, rather, he wanted to make sculptures.

Degas, in fact, exhibited only one sculpture in his entire career: The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years (1881). It was a 1/3 life-size wax figure of a young girl striking a balletic pose, gazing upward with an enigmatic look on her face. She is wearing ballet shoes, a corset, and a skirt, with a white bow draped down her back. Upon its exhibition, it was so badly received by the public and by the critics, both for its “realism” and for its use of “unconventional” materials – including fabric-weaved tulle for the skirt, real human hair for the wig, and wax-coated ballet slippers on the feet – he took the piece down, brought it back to his studio, and never exhibited the artwork again. He was never to exhibit this sculpture – or any other sculptural work – for the remainder of his life. While he would continue over the next four decades to sculpt numerous figures in wax and clay in his studio – beautiful, graceful figures, mostly of women and horses – he never exhibited them publicly, and never cast even a single one of them in bronze.

Thankfully, after Degas passed away, his heirs discovered over 150 wax, clay, and plastiline sculptures in his studio, many of them still intact, and, within a couple of years, they enlisted Degas’ close friend and sculptor Albert Bartholomé to prepare over 70 of the best-preserved pieces for limited-edition bronze castings. Thus, the world was presented posthumously with an almost entirely never-before-seen body of sculptural artwork from an already world-famous painter, and the works have been shown and enjoyed throughout the world in museum collections ever since.

How poignant, to think that even an artist of such fame and renown as Edgar Degas could have been stung so badly by a single bad reception of a solitary piece of work that he never exhibited another sculpture in his lifetime. The world was almost kept from experiencing a complete “second” body of work from a quite wonderful artist, merely due to the callousness of a handful of critics. Thankfully, he had the pure desire and self-motivation to continue to create sculptural works for his own pleasure and edification, and, as a result, we have them to enjoy and appreciate today.

If you are curious to see what the infamous Little Dancer looks like, I have included my own photograph of it below. In terms of Degas’ sculptural career, this is the artwork that started (and almost ended) it all.


“Degas’ Little Dancer of Fourteen Years” | Anthony Satori