No Stone Unturned, Global Province Letter, 1 July 2015

Shards of the Past.  Just the other day the mailman put in our hands a thickish envelope from New York City bearing a magazine, all in Japanese, with a short note from Kazuko Stone, saying, “Remember this.” Thumbing through the pictures (we do not read Japanese), we finally twigged on to what it was. There was an article, written by Kazuko, about one of our business colleagues in which she essayed about his business, his family life, his health, and his exercise habits. She had hatched it sometime in the last century, probably in the 1980's. It is attached to this letter for the amusement of our many Japanese readers.

We had met the talented Kazuko through her husband Bob Stone, a Greenwich Village fine artist, whom we would commonly encounter at La Lanterna Cafe, an awfully pleasant coffee house just off Washington Square. Each Saturday morning our conversation became so animated, we would forget ourselves and down far too many espressos. At the end, we would stumble down the steps in front, dizzy not from alcohol, but from the caffeine coursing through our systems. Bob was a somewhat classical painter who enjoyed the art of the past. Even his paintings looked to history. We have, for instance, his paintings of water towers and steeples that are no longer part of the New York skyline, but told of the Village he grew up in.

Kazuko.  Soon enough we met Kazuko, an artist and writer, who has done 25 or so wonderfully charming children's books, mostly in Japanese but in other languages, too. It is wonderful that art brings together people of such diverse backgrounds. And it is wonderful, too, that art itself is an international language that is understood across borders, no matter that the artist may speak a tongue that is incomprehensible to us. Kazuko graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo in the mid 20th century and moved to the States in 1973. We much like the sparing way she told her story to us:

"My name is Kazuko Stone. I am a children's book artist. I am from Japan. I have published 28 books in Japan and the United States.

I am very careful about what I eat. Also I walk a lot. Yoga, I do in the morning."

Her art too is spare and fine. And creative without becoming burdensome. View her work here.

We Are Just a Stone's Throw Away.  New York Towers. A coffee house. Yoga. Japan. The Robert Stones with their travels and interests and businesses and rooftop gardens remind us that in this world we are just a stone's throw from practically anything and everything this world has to offer. It is odd but not so odd that Bob Stone had his last art show in Las Vegas: it was a retrospective yet it took place in an unlikely make-believe city where he had never been before. Creative people are connected to practically everywhere. Verily they are rolling stones.

As the Fourth makes its way to us, we are reminded that ours is the country where diverse people and paradoxical ideas come together in order that fireworks might light up the night sky and tomorrow can always look different from today.


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