Best Of 2009, Guest Editors: Rosanne Cash On Maira Kalman’s “And The Pursuit Of Happiness” Blog

As 2009 has come to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors. Today’s entry is from September 28. Here, Rosanne Cash writes about one of her heroes, artist/author Maira Kalman.

Cashlogo100dUnless you’ve spent the last 50 years cryogenically frozen in deep space, you may have heard of Rosanne Cash‘s father, Johnny Cash. When Rosanne locked in on becoming a successful country singer/songwriter, she had a formidable set of footsteps to follow. But she isn’t one to duck a challenge. Twenty of her singles cracked the top 20 in the country charts from 1979 to 1990, with 11 reaching the number-one spot. Her new album, The List (out next week on EMI/Manhattan), is a terrific reworking of country classics, handpicked from a list of indispensable songs her dad made for her 36 years ago. Having Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy and Rufus Wainwright appear as guest artists on the record is a nice fit. Rosanne will be guest editing all week long. Read our Q&A with her.

kalman370Cash: There are very few people in this world I actually worship, and Maira Kalman is one of those few. I haven’t gone so far as to make a shrine or keep a picture of Maira in a locket around my neck, but I’m close. Every time I read her blog And The Pursuit Of Happiness or her book The Principles Of Uncertainty or look at her photos or paintings, I get a rush of crazy energy in my stomach and a feeling that I might fly out of my body with happiness and inspiration. This is not something I feel every day, I promise. One of my favorite blog posts is on Paris: “The application of lipstick … The first superlative tassel … The wrapping of the parcel … The pink bed.” Yes, of course. That is Paris, exactly. Maira lives her life as a pure expression of art, a most elegant and gracious soul, a teacher and a poet. I love her very much. I want to look at people and at life the way Maira does. I am writing my memoir now, and I’m nearly finished. I have had a zerox of one of Maira’s paintings taped to the top of my computer the whole time I have been writing this book—for years. It is a picture of a woman in a respectable black dress with a white collar, standing by a tree, with a branch in her hand. At the bottom of the picture it says: “The woman stood in front of the tree before she went mad. She wrote a book and then she went mad. How do you go mad? How do you not go mad?” So, I read this every time I open my computer to work on my book, and you know, Maira is right.