Old Moon

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Thought While Listening

Maybe I’ve come to love chamber music so much because of the constant evidence it gives of human ability to respond to another. Every nuance of every note depends on communicating, on agreed-upon emphases: volume, timbre, tempo, interpretation—and, I believe, some instinct that allows for perfect consonance. It’s like an emblem of the possibility of understanding at the deepest level. 

How terrible to be deaf, and not to experience this!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Emphasis on the Wrong SyLAble

Foreword: to those who asked about the Irving book, it's A Widow for One Year. I left out the title because I thought what I was saying really applies to the other books of his I've read as well.

What I'm thinking today arises from two recent public brouhahas (love that word): the Olympic uniform debacle, and the ongoing campaign rhetoric. Never having been a political animal anyway, I'm ill suited to understanding and/or discussing campaign practices. However, I can't help thinking that if something could just be got through the heads of campaign managers and their candidates', namely: that transparency, honest answers even to harassing questions,
and a change from the culture of he who can afford the most obscene waste of money wins is not the way to win the hearts and minds of those with something more useful than lint between the ears!

When will lawmakers begin behaving the way their oaths of office demand of them, and stop seeing who can outspend the other? It's shocking. The emphasis on insulting and "spinning" every bit of publicity-rich information (regardless of its accuracy) is utterly misplaced.
Then the Ralph Lauren flap: economy is a word with more than one meaning. For some it's a narrow concept involving an attempt to make the most of the money you have. If it was significantly (sic.) cheaper to manufacture some components in China or elsewhere, so be it. The point is that the designer shouldn't be using Olympic athletes as private posters for his company, and the important part of the Olympics is supposed to be international SPORT. Of course, the view of the games as purely chauvinistic competition is pretty well ingrained, but we should really be thinking of the fact that in the original games, even in the midst of armed conflict, the Greeks put aside the war for the duration of the games (in which they competed nude--perhaps so as not to reveal their native states)? The athletes were competing as athletes, not as members of Sparta or Rhodes, or Athens, or what have you.

It's discouraging to find so much of humanity engaged in what looks like deliberate or totally wrongheaded perspectives on really important issues with future consequences.

So much for my rant of the day.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reading for Fun

Most of the time I read for entertainment. That's been the case ever since I got out of college. It took about ten years for me to realize that a) I didn't have to finish something I hated, and b) that I dared to read without an analytical eye.

However, often I see something that attracts my attention. I just finished a novel chapter which is really a fairly long scene that combines melodrama, satire, burlesque, and sadness (John Irving) that stopped my suspension of disbelief for a moment. Here's a teenager, a four-year-old, and a mature woman in a confrontation full of emotional undercurrents and epiphanies-in-the-making.

As is expected by anyone who has ever been to a workshop, the physical description of the place where the action takes place is supplied right away. Here, though, just before the close of the chapter, Irving inserts the information that you thought you'd had at the beginning of the chapter:  the minute details of the setting with all their implications.

I guess if one tries to write for entertainment, whether fiction or not, one becomes accustomed to accepted methods. This inversion provided a new technique for giving emphasis that slyly inserted a whole truckload of specific, important exposition.

Is there a message here in whether or not it's okay to read just for fun?