I have written a "Ruby" blog posting before (though not with that title). I think that the song, "Ruby," as sung by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, is an authentic musical "gem," which carries a powerful message we all need to hear, and to take seriously. Thus, I am providing that link, above, so that some readers of this blog might decide check out the "Ruby" that I have written about previously, letting the power of the music help them understand how much these lyrics describe our current situation:
I'm that old time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world's on fire
And I'm trying to get a message through to you.
The "Ruby" I am writing about today, however, is "Ruby C. Williams," from Bealsville, Florida, whose painted, produce stand advertisements came to be recognized as stunning works of "folk art." There is a picture of Ruby Williams at the bottom of today's blog posting, coming from The New York Times article that announced her death, at age ninety-four. I have also placed one of her folk art pieces at the top of this blog posting.
If you can avoid potential paywall problems, and can read that Times' article, you'll see a few more of Williams' folk art pieces, and if you can't get to The Times' article online, a simple search for images related to Ruby C. Williams will show you what that New York Times' article is talking about.
Not all of Williams' art is as upbeat as "It Will Get Better." There is, for instance, the image below ("I had it with you man"), and The Times' story mentions another one of Williams' pieces, which I couldn't locate online (a painting of an alligator with red spots) with this message: "I played so fair an' they cheated me."
I knew nothing of Williams until I read that article in The Times, and what struck me in the article was the fact that Williams' life and work is such a wonderful demonstration of how meaningful our lives are - or can be. We live, so briefly, in this present moment. How truly amazing it is to be alive, with the ability, in every instant, to do something unexpected and world-transforming. Williams' life and work exemplify that, to me.
Those of us who are alive, right now, need models and reminders that we can all do such world-transforming things. Politically. And otherwise.
Now that I have met "Ruby," I have another example I can cite, to prove this point.
(1) - https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/30/arts/ruby-c-williams-dead.html
(2) - https://www.mysticmuseumofart.org/entry/the-outsider-art-of-ruby-c-williams/
(3) - https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/30/arts/ruby-c-williams-dead.html
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