Thursday, February 23, 2012
i go to the river for lunch. it renews me in ways that i can't describe. but the quote from Siddhartha sums it up.. the spots are the same as they were when i was a boy, just 20-30 years older. i feel connected to who i was, who i will be and who i may become.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I've been listening to music that has extended solos as a key component to their music. As a rule I enjoy that type of music when I select it. But today I listened to a concert of all very competent, if not virtuosic musicians, and as each took a solo in every song, I began to wonder if they all had that much to say.
As a listener of music, I understand that often the meaning of the lyric is of utmost importance and in other cases the sound of the singer's voice is just another instrument layered onto the canvas of sound; the words chosen for their sound and not their meaning.
I've been taught that all art has some meaning. Whether that meaning is just the expression of frustration during a moment or of a lifelong struggle against societal norms or a documentation of an event, period or place. There is some meaning to art.
The two greatest road novels to have been written in America are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and On the Road. In each the protagonists take a journey into the unknown, but to very different ends. Huck Finn realizes that the road is the same as at home, in that his struggle with his relationship with Jim moves along the river with him. The road moves, but he remains in place. Still struggling with the notion that he is making a moral decision that is at once unethical and very illegal. Twain rectifies these dilemmas by freeing Jim at the conclusion of the novel and it serves as an exoneration of his sins, allowing Jim to feel no guilt about corrupting Huck and Huck being able to reintegrate with his white society without repercussion.
In On the Road, Sal Paradise learns to see the world differently, through his journeys. But in that he is finding what he is seeking (a bohemian America, where jazz musicians are prophets and hobos are saints). In theory, the road is not just a metaphor, but a character. Kerouac succeeds in making his book bounce with the excitement he himself is experiencing. The prose has a momentum that matches Dean's driving. OTR is probably the book for which Kerouac will be best remembered, but The Subterranians better captured the raw energy and spontaneity of being on the road. It is at once confusing, disorienting, enthralling and over all too soon. He says so much in such a short period of time, that it feels like hearing John Coltrane playing alongside Miles Davis; you're left wanting more.
Kerouac and Davis both worked in similar ways. They would have an idea, sit down and play with it until it could be released. But capturing the idea as closely to the source was at the heart. Revise little and improvise much.
Now they are dead. And every year or so, new versions of their material is released. Often with out-takes or earlier revisions that are marketed as the authors “original vision”. I guess that in some ways they are the most raw expression of the initial idea and in some cases are close to the original vision. But they are not what was released for public consumption. Or to put it another way, how the artist felt their vision was best expressed to the public.
And that brings me back to the music that got me thinking about this. When I hear a guitar solo (or piano or drums, for that matter) I wonder if the musician has more to say in the song or just has space to fill. Are they saying " hey look what I can do," or are they saying, " listen to me this is important"
Sometimes you don't know the answer to that until you vomit out the idea and see what it looks like on the floor. Then you can take it and make a cohesive work out of it, but it leaves me wondering if it is fair to artists to dig through the raw vomit, from which great art was made. Or is it perhaps essential to understanding how great art was made in those instances.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I don't have a ton of memories of days at the beach from my childhood. My first memory of going to the beach involves jellyfish and a search for meat tenderizer. That memory blends with one of getting burnt terribly while in Puerto Rico when I was 5 and being covered in Olive Oil. As an adult I found the beach to be kind of boring...it's hard for me to read in the sun and no one ever wants go go in the water with me. it's also dirty. I don't tend to like lotions on my hands or sand on everything and never learned to appreciate the sublime pleasure of the sticky saltiness of ocean residue.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Fenway joined our house last summer. He was a golden retriever-yellow lab mix and was a great dog. he was born with a heart murmur that may or may not have been correctable with surgery, but open heart surgery on a dog, that may not work seemed like something that he would have declined. (well maybe not, he did a lot of other things that you might have thought were undesirable too, but he's a dog).
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Liam has been asking me to take him mountain climbing and so i obliged. errrr...i took him up Bear Mountain in Salisbury, CT. For those who know, it is not the highest point in CT, just the highest summit in the state. (for a complete summary of the issue visit CT Museum Quest.)
this 6.7 mile hike is one that i have taken innumerable times since being a boy scout. It rates as being a strenuous to moderately strenuous hike, but i figured that Liam could do it pretty easily. He ran a 5K over the summer so this would be walking twice as far, but in a greater period of time.
on the morning of the walk, we got up, had breakfast and packed snacks for the hike. mom even made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Liam later commented while eating his sandwich: "is there anything that peanut butter doesn't make better?" truer words were never spoken and it reminded me of an old nike ad.)
we started walking and were making descent time, but taking more breaks than i might have taken had i been by myself. at one point there was an opportunity to turn the walk into a loop or a straight up and down walk. i gave Liam the choice telling him that the loop was longer, thinking that he'd opt for the shorter trip, but i was mistaken. we took the loop (the Paradise trail for those "in the loop"). it is a great walk, with a steep final approach to the summit. Liam called it real rock climbing and he wasn't too far off.
at the summit we ate our sandwiches and drank some water. we sat on the monumet and took pictures. then hiked down. I should say here that I had an Anatomy and Physiology lab that night and was running late. the trail was about 2 hours away from school and i was getting pretty stinky from hiking. that said, i wanted to get off the mountain as soon as possible. we hiked and liam got tired. the last hour of the hike was hard on him he lacked the real profanity, but his attitude was "F-you and F this F-ing hike." I wanted to tell him that his mom has said that to me many times on hikes, but i didn't want to fuel his fire.
in the end, we got back to the car and i showed him how taking off his boots and socks feels so much better and i raced him home to put on deodorant and a clean t-shirt and race to lab. i got to lab an hour late and people were actually almost done when i arrived.
a walk that takes me 3 hours by myself took us 6, but it was a great 6 hours and i hope that Liam remembers it that way too.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
yesterday i had to run an errand that would have taken me all of 20 minutes to put on my shoes go to the store get what i need and return.
took 2 hours.
find shoes that match. (wait where are your socks)
get the shoes on.
repeat for brother.
why did you take off your shoes? oh, i was taking too long.
put shoes back on again.
i just changed your diaper! what have you been eating?
why did you take off your shoes? oh, i was taking too long.
put shoes back on again.
get in car
go back into house for the right CD (why don't my kids love the Red Hot Chili Peppers like i do?)
drive to store
touch every thing...twice
argue about buying M&M's
corral back to car.
get seat belts on.
three trips to get everything in the house.
realize i forgot something at the store
forget it...i'm not doing that again today.
also...does anyone have a good recipe for turtle soup? that franklin's got it coming to him.