“it all melts down to this: a novel in timelines (chapter 10)”
by ben miller, inspired by the drawings of dale williams
One year my frequent collaborator Dale Williams and I participated in the RE(HAPPENING) on the Black Mountain College campus. We swaddled the Lake Eden boathouse with images and performed songs and monologues for four hours, after crossing the lake in a rowboat. I wanted to participate because I had studied the Black Mountain phenomenon and its connection with much of the art I had grown up loving. The paintings. The poetry. The music. It is an epic tale of many creators—from Jacob Lawrence to Anni Albers—leaving the city to gather in North Carolina to engage in a kind of cultural forestation that is still spreading over the globe.
Ben Miller’s prose has appeared in Best American Essays, One Story, Southern Review, Harvard Review, New England Review, Raritan, AGNI, and elsewhere. He is the author of River Bend Chronicle (Lookout Books) and the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (fellowship), the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (fellowship) and the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (research grant).
Dale Williams has exhibited in the New York City area over the past 25 years. He is a 2014 recipient of a fellowship in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His most recent one-person show, “America Now Suite,” which re-visioned American history in service of the civic imagination, was held at Gowanus Loft (Brooklyn) in October 2018. A selection of portraits from “America Now Suite” was included in the BRIC Biennial, February – April 2019. (BRIC is Brooklyn’s premier cultural institution). A show of drawings from phase 2 of his ongoing collaborative project with writer Ben Miller, “Cage Dies Bird Flies,” was held at the Center for Literary Arts of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, April 2019; a performance was staged to coincide with the exhibition. His work has been published in BOMB, Ecotone, Inverted Syntax, Bat City Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review and other print and on-line journals. He studied art at the Cooper Union, Hunter College and Cal Arts.