Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

This book is well worth careful consideration and hard won from bitter experiences.


Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

– Viktor E. FRANKL

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I wanted my 2021 to be a year about self-care and me-time. I looked for books people say that greatly changed their lives, and even their perspectives on life and I stumbled on Man’s Search For Meaning. It’s a memoir of Mr E.Franklin, a psychiatrist, who writes about his experience in the concentration camps from 1933 to 1945. However, unlike the books I read about that period, Mr E.Franklin’s version is more of what I consider a psychological textbook.

(c) Trang for Bookidote

The first part of the book is a recount of his time as a prisoner in Auschwitz and his observations and hypothesis about the…

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Poetry

Thoughts about René Magritte – The blank signature, 1965

May be an image of 1 person, horse, tree and outdoors

I don’t understand why I like this painting so much on first glance. The most disturbing element, I suppose is the strip where the horse has simply disappeared giving it the appearance of being a light transparent trunk itself. This, I think adds a joking quality to the overall work which I find a kind of magical forest. The sort that you might well find in a fairy tale or an adventure. The rider does not seem discombobulated by this wooded environment. Indeed she seems to have a sense of purpose and direction quite at variance to the seeming dissolution of her means of transport beneath her. The colours or palette seem to add to a jolly effect and the canopy of branches seems protective.


Verse of the Wu Garden by Wen T’ing-yun 溫庭筠《吳苑行》

I have been trying to penetrate the poetry of Ezra Pound and the delicate imagery of this poem reminds me of his writing.

Between Thought and Expression



Verse of the Wu Garden by Wen T’ing-yun
Brocade pheasants fly in pairs, the plums bear fruit.
Green spreading out to the distant in vast spring rises within the window frame.
Water of Wu river, a light ink painting, stretches to the end of the sky,
While a three-foot-wide screen divides a thousand miles.
There are red doors opening to the tiny garden,
Catkins and dancing butterflies hover around above.
Should the ornamented window and decorated railings long be here as they may.
Year after year, the spring light returns so.

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Jane’s Walks May 8, 2021

Some very lovely sketches here that all have a pleasant and relaxed feel. Well done indeed!

Urban Sketchers Edmonton

This week’s theme was “Jane’s Walks“, which celebrates the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs by promoting walkable neighbourhoods, urban literacy and cities planned for and by people. This is a festival that takes place annually around the globe. Due to the pandemic, the Edmonton walks, as with many around the world, were self-guided and virtual this year. Urban Sketchers Edmonton could choose a walk and go there in person whenever we liked to choose one point or more along the walk to sketch.

Here are our sketches from the website walks, and some that we created ourselves. All wonderful walkable city sketches!

By Diane Smarsh

“Heritage Tree Avenue in the Highlands. The canopy is created by American Elms planted in 1957. This street is particularly beautiful in the fall and in December when all the neighbours string lights across!”

By Gordon Ramsey


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On This Day … 12 May

Erikson is particularly interesting in having kicked started,so to speak,psychobiography with his important and interesting book on Luther.

Mental Health Matters

People (Deaths)

Erik Erikson

Erik Homburger Erikson (born Erik Salomonsen; 15 June 1902 to 12 May 1994) was a German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychological development of human beings.

He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis.

His son, Kai T. Erikson, is a noted American sociologist.

Despite lacking a bachelor’s degree, Erikson served as a professor at prominent institutions, including Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, and Yale. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Erikson as the 12th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Psychoanalytic Experience and Training

When Erikson was twenty-five, his friend Peter Blos invited him to Vienna to tutor art at the small Burlingham-Rosenfeld School for children whose affluent parents were undergoing psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud. Anna noticed Erikson’s sensitivity to…

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Literature Poetry

The Charming Paintings of Pietro Antonio Rotari(1707-1762)

Next to my laptop propped against the now never used printer is a postcard which I bought at the remarkable Musée JacquemartAndré. This lovely gallery is grandly situated in the Boulevard Haussman in the 8th Arrondissment (huitieme). The postcard shows what a Scotsman might have called a fair bonny lassie.

Pietro Rotari

This Italian Baroque painter was born in Verona and died in St Petersburg. His paintings are remarkable for both their astonishing beauty but also for their realism as can be judged from the following clip.

Looking at these lovely paintings gives me the same feeling as reading this-


Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.


London Rain – Louis MacNeice

I very much like the poetry of MacNeice and return to it often. I like poems about the rain as well notably the stunning “A Description of a London Shower” by Jonathan Swift.

my word in your ear

This year many of the the poets visited in our U3A (University of Third Age) sessions have had some connection with religious ministry. When you come to think about it it is not surprising. Ministers are thought-full people – don’t you think!

Louis MacNeice was no exception. His father was a Protestant minister who later became a bishop of the Anglican Church of Ireland. Below is Louis MacNeice’s poem ‘London Rain’, written at a time of conflict in Europe. He wrestles with thoughts on God as he looks out late at night on the rain. Sharing my comments which are shown in italics after each stanza.

 London Rain

The rain of London pimples
The ebony street with white
And the neon lamps of London
Stain the canals of night
And the park becomes a jungle
In the alchemy of night.

London night-time rain … I love that word pimples…

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A Sad State Of Freedom – Nazim Hikmet

Known as the romantic revolutionary. I knew nothing about him until I consulted a fascinating character and a great poem.

The Philosophy of Right - Philosophical Journal

Nazim Hikmet

A Sad State Of Freedom

You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you’ll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for others–
you are free to make the rich richer.

The moment you’re born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.

Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
your saunter about in your great freedom:
you’re free
with the freedom of being unemployed.

You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedom–
you have the freedom…

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Ego-ideal (Freudian Psychoanalysis)

This is very useful as it explains Lacanian terms in a shorthand, convenient form. There is much to be said for promoting dialogue, it seems to me with Kleinian and object relation theorists.

The Philosophy of Right - Philosophical Journal


French:idéal du moi

Sigmund Freud

Ego-Ideal, Ideal Ego and Superego

InFreud‘s writings, it is difficult to discern any systematicdistinctionbetween thethreerelatedtermsego-ideal” (Ich-ideal), “ideal ego” (Ideal Ich), andsuperego(Über-Ich), although neither are the terms simply used interchangeably.

Jacques Lacan

Lacan, however, argues that these three “formations of the ego” are each quite distinctconceptswhich must not be confused with oneanother.

Ego-Ideal and Superego

In his pre-war writingsLacanis mainly concerned to establish a distinction between theego-idealand thesuperego, and does not refer to theideal ego.

Identification with the Father

Although both theego-idealand thesuperegoare linked with the decline of theOedipus complex, and both are products ofidentificationwith thefather,Lacanargues…

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Drawings May 2021

Evocative- thanks!

Sketches, drawings and paintings

This is a portrait of my daughter. She is in Tallinn. Behind her are houses that were built around the 1300s. They are called “Three Sisters”. Sketch by pencil on paper.

This is a portrait of my mom when she was 19 years old.

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