Monday, June 26, 2006

my name is asher lev

Read this book.


Click the on the picture and buy it off of Amazon. Or go to your nearest Barnes & Noble. Or find Mark Nelson and borrow one of his many, many copies. But some how get your hands on this book and read it. Soon.

In the last two years, I have had many friends tell me I should read it. So it has been on my 'to read' list for awhile now. A couple weeks ago, while killing time at our nearest Barnes & Noble before seeing Lucky Number Sleven (which is a good movie, on a totally unrelated side-note), my friend Nick picked it up and said, "Have you read this? You really need to. It is amazing."

Well, that was the final nail that broke the camel's back. Or the final straw that made like a tree and got outta here. Or...something like that.

It is about a young Hasidic Jewish boy (named Asher Lev...go figure) who is born with an unparalleled ability to draw. A gift from God. A gift Asher is completely unable to supress. The book chronicles his journey from a 5 year old, whose father tells him to stop wasting his time with paper and pencils to a troubled twentysomething outcast by his family and religious community.

It is the story of passion threatening tradition. Art befuddling the religious.

It is the story of new wine breaking old wine skins.

Here are few excepts:

"He runs a great risk in becoming a member of a large society, for large bodies tend toward the leveling of individuality to a common consent, the forming and adherence to a creed."

"...every great artist is a man who has freed himself from his family, his nation, his race. Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere."

"The artist should have a powerful will. He should be powerfully possessed by one idea. He should be intoxicated with the idea of the thing he wants to express."

Asher's own inner torment:

"Be a great painter, Asher Lev; that will bet the only justification for all the pain you will cause. But as a great painter I will cause pain again if I must. Then become a greater painter. But I will cause pain again. Then become a still greater painter. Master of the Universe, will I live this way the rest of my life? Yes, came the whisper from the branches of the trees. Now, journey with me, my Asher. Paint the anguish of all the world. Let people see the pain. But create your own molds and your own play of forms for the pain. We must give balance to the world."

Seriously. Go read it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're so0o incredibly right. I absolutely adore this book, and it has given me a TON of spiritual truthes over the past couple of months!