The Artist Corner, by Michael Thorsnes

Welcome to the Artist Corner, to become a regular, but occasional column of IVN. I, Michael Thorsnes, am a recovered lawyer, having practiced law for more than 30 years prior to the onset of Parkinson’s disease approximately 12 years ago. My life changed in many ways in response to that event , the vast majority of which have ben positive enough to be regarded as a blessing. Why? Because, although I love the law and had a career that was said to have inspired many, I made the choice to devote myself to politics, poetry, and photography. I’ve always been a huge consumer and strident supporter of the arts. I admire those people who, with their hands, their heart, their minds shaped reality in terms which are unique and, in the end, beautiful.

Chad Peace has repeatedly requested that I share my art with you and I’ve agreed to do so. I met Chad in his first year of law school, and had long been an admirer of his father, former State Senator Steve Peace. In Chad, who now describes me as a mentor, I’ve found the same flinty intelligence that has marked his father, Chad’s real mentor. Chad participated and came to lead the Willam C. Vis International competition in commercial arbitration competition in Vienna and Hong Kong.

I write these words on the night President Obama won a second term. As someone who began working in politics while still in law school (1968) and has been involved in every level of the political process, including senior positions of Presidential campaigns. Although my efforts were always directed toward and for the Democratic party, I knew that the deciding factor in many races was determined by those voters who described themselves as “independent” of any party, or now eschewed party politics. Their designation of independence means exactly what it says, and I believe their voices must be heard. I have not left the Democratic party, and have no plans to do so. What I do hope to accomplish is a level of honesty, of candor, that is essential to removing nonsense from the political process. I am not so naive as to believe that goal will ever be eradicated from a process that survives, indeed throes on it, but I can call it out to the broad daylight, where can be seen for what it is.

As a professional photographer and a poet, I also intend to share art that goes beyond the political process, in the hope that you, as a reader, will see some of which I see and that, in that process, you will find the beauty, mystery, triumph, and desolation that marks our lives. My first contribution will be the poem which led to my designation as Poet Laureate of the Kerry Presidential campaign. It bears the title “Distant Bells”, and was written in 2003 in strident opposition to the war in Iraq. I welcome your comments and look forward to further conversations.

-Michael Thorsnes