A Perceptive Review of Tally: An Intuitive Life

These words are from a review of Tally: An Intuitive Life by Marylee MacDonald, author of Montpelier Tomorrow.

When a young poet stumbles into the life of a Greenwich Village recluse, she meets a bearded old man living in a garret. Surrounded by manuscripts in which he has attempted to comprehend the meaning of life, PJ has entered a time of failing eyesight, physical frailty, and economic uncertainty. Quiet and observant, the young poet Erin, or “Eyes” as PJ soon calls her, begins to help him put his life in order.

“No one is ever conscious of what he is doing or why he is doing it,” PJ said, “even a person who is aware of everything he is doing and after pondering it, can perceive the reason or motivation for it.”

The above is just one of many sentences I underlined last February while I was doing a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center for the Arts. Anyone who makes her or his life in the arts risks winding up like PJ, which is to say not wealthy, except in matters of the spirit.

“PJ’s long bony fingers swept over drifting stacks of books, papers, paintings, typewriter ribbons, photographs and found objets, all jumbled together, everything melting into some other form…’Dali would have had an idea of the melodramatic squalor in which I live,'” PJ told her.

PJ’s intellect and humor makes him an utterly fascinating subject. Some of his musings are brilliant; others, wildly off-the-wall.

To read the entire review, please click here.

Tally: An Intuitive Life, by Mary Clark, published by All Things That Matter Press, 2013.

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Tally: An Intuitive Life, Review by David Turnbull

“It constitutes a remarkable piece of discourse in its own right, a book worth reading opening up a distinctive view of the world.”

Mary Clark’s book, Tally, an intuitive life, describes how a friend of the writer named Rogue, introduced Erin (as Mary herself) into the life of Tally, an iconic figure in Greenwich Village. My interest in this book stems from my own work in enabling communities of human occupation in a rural and remote region of Australia. Many such communities are microcosmic in scale and are frequently unnoticed across the more widely publicised political landscapes of the world.

Together, Erin, Rogue and Tally formed a unique community. The focus of that community was organising Tally’s writings and manuscripts into a work that could be accessed by a wider audience separated in time and space from the bold and risky social experiments in art and life that characterised Greenwich Village.

This microcosmic community exemplifies writing as a means of enabling communities of human occupation in a number of ways. First it ensures that Tally’s work is not silenced by his personal death. Second it leaps across the chasm of mere litany or polemics. By that I mean it does not relegate Tally to having “a wasted life”, relegated to the dustbin of romanticism. Third it explores the social world of Bohemian culture in America and contributes to an understanding of its influence on American society. Fourth it constitutes a remarkable piece of discourse in its own right, a book worth reading opening up a distinctive view of the world. Fifth it poses the interesting question in the mind of at least some readers as to the extent to which life can become art, and how a life devoted to art can be sustained in the modern world. “Life-as-art” is the essential metaphor in this community.

To read more of his review, click here.

— David Turnbull’s review of Tally: An Intuitive Life , illuminates the artist’s life in the modern world, and the importance of forming “occupational communities” and enabling dialogue. Transformative consciousness is essential not only to the artist, but to the human species if it hopes to adapt to global changes in communication, diversity, community, economics, political structures and environment. David Turnbull coaches occupational communities, with a focus on enhancing dialogue among very different people. His blog is No Dangerous Thoughts

Tally: An Intuitive Life, All Things That Matter Press, 2013.

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