AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

17 August 2017

Study.

van Hoogstraten, The Reader, 1630


We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straightly looked after! We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Discern.


Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book.

Marcel Proust

Duran Duran, "Lonely in Your Nightmare"

Red.


Elvis Costello ...


David Bowie ...


Elton John ...

Perception.


2. Aesthetic Enthusiasm
Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.

George Orwell, from the essay, "Why I Write"

Robert Plant, "In the Light"

Studies.

van Gogh, Flowering Plum Tree, 1887


If we study Japanese art, we see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic and intelligent, who spends his time doing what? He studies a single blade of grass.

Vincent van Gogh

16 August 2017

Mistakes.


I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, this year and forever.

Neil Gaiman

Now.

School starts right now ...

Handel, Atalanta, HWV 35

Alison Balsom performs the Overture with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert ...

Today.

School starts today ...

15 August 2017

Poetry.


What can be explained is not poetry.

W.B. Yeats

Ella Fitzgerald, "How High the Moon"

Tommy Flanagan accompanying ...

Feel.

Huber, Summer Storm over Quandary Peak, n/d


To EARTHWARD

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of—was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength

To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.


Robert Frost

Design.


I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth-
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witch’s broth-
A snow-drop spider, a flower like froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth hither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?-
If design govern in a thing so small.

Robert Frost

Cockburn.


Bruce Cockburn recorded in performance at the Fur Peace Ranch, June 1, 2017 ... HERE.

Baptizes


The life of an apple when it is a delicate flower to the moment when, golden russet, it drops from the tree to the grass, is as mysterious and as great as the perpetual rhythm of the tides. And a poet must know this. The magic virtue of a poem consists in always being daemon-ridden so that it baptizes with dark water those who look at it.

The daemon? Where is the daemon?

Federico Garcia Lorca

Charles Dalton, "Poetrusic"

Mystery.


Only mystery makes us live. Only mystery.

Federico Garcia Lorca

Robert Plant, "Worse than Detroit"

Obligation.


Thanks, hopeleslie.

Go.


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

T.S. Eliot, from ¨The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock¨

Right.

Conquering.


Shelby Foote and the nobility of conquering the past, at Cultural Offering.

End.

The end of days is upon us.

Eagles in 1973 ...


... and today ...

14 August 2017

Theme.

... And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream ...

Excellent.

An excellent book ...

Barber, Agnus Dei

Marcus Creed conducts the Vlaams Radio Choir ...

Believe.

Sonny Rollins, "There Will Never Be Another You"

Enemies.


Routine, repetition, tedium, monotony, ephemeracy, inconsequence, abstraction, disorder, boredom, angst, ennui—these are the true hero’s enemies, and make no mistake, they are fearsome indeed. For they are real.

David Foster Wallace

Conserve.


Conservatism is what its name says it is: the attempt to conserve the community that we have — not in every particular, since, as Edmund Burke put it, “we must reform in order to conserve”, but in all matters that ensure our long-term survival and mutual support.

We enjoy valuable assets: peace, security, democracy and historic liberties. And these good things, which depend upon the uncoerced co-operation that they also encourage, are both easy to destroy and, once destroyed, hard to rebuild. Moreover, they all depend on other, deeper and less easily comprehended things. They depend on a shared sense of belonging among strangers whom we nevertheless can trust. They depend on traditions of education, co-operation and compromise.

They depend on the Christian legacy of neighbour-love. They depend on a tradition of tolerance — not only towards those who disagree with us but also towards those whom we might easily resent for their success or despise for their failure.

Most of all they depend upon specific institutions and forms of life that have come down to us not as the universal inheritance of humanity but as the legacy of our long-standing attempt to live together as a nation on the island that is ours.

Roger Scruton

CONNECT

Minds.


All things are ready, if our mind be so.

William Shakespeare

13 August 2017

Al Bowlly, "The Very Thought of You"

Relax.


Worried that your child is "ungifted?" Relax.

CONNECT

I need therefore I imagine.

Carlos Fuentes

More.


Listen, now. Read this carefully, because I am going to tell you something important. More than that: I am about to tell you one of the secrets of the trade. I mean it. This is the magic trick upon which all good fiction depends: it’s the angled mirror in the box behind which the doves are hidden, the hidden compartment beneath the table. It’s this: There is room for things to mean more than they literally mean. That was it.

Neil Gaiman

Bach, Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243

Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Concentus Musicus Vienna and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir ...

12 August 2017

Looks.


Yon rising Moon that looks for us again --
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden -- and for one in vain!

And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand teach the spot
Where I made One -- turn down an empty Glass!

Omar Khayyam

Made.

Katz, Late Light, 2004



One of life's quiet excitements is to stand somewhat apart from yourself and watch yourself softly becoming the author of something beautiful even if it is only a floating ash. I had as yet no notion that life every now and then becomes literature—not for long, of course, but long enough to be what we best remember, and often enough so that what we eventually come to mean by life are those moments when life, instead of going sideways, backwards, forward, or nowhere at all, lines out straight, tense and inevitable, with a complication, climax, and, given some luck, a purgation, as if life had been made and not happened.

Norman Maclean

Frank Sinatra, "Body and Soul"

Little.

Aboutness.

Sir Roger Scruton on neuroscience, "aboutness," and the invasion of the humanities by natural science ...

Pärt, Fratres for Violin, String Orchestra and Percussion

Neeme Järvi conducts the Gothenburg Symphony ...

Happy birthday, Bellows.

Bellows, Shore House, 1911



George Bellows was born on this day in 1882.

The artist is the person who makes life more interesting or beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense, more wonderful. The ideal artist is he who knows everything, feels everything, experiences everything, and retains his experience in a spirit of wonder and feeds upon it with creative lust.

George Bellows

11 August 2017

Robert Earl Keen, "Amarillo Highway"

Plug 'er in and turn 'er up ... Happy Friday!

Becomes.


And now for as much as five years, perhaps, I don’t know exactly, I’ve been more or less without a position, wandering hither and thither. Now you say, from such and such a time you’ve been going downhill, you’ve faded away, you’ve done nothing. Is that entirely true?

It’s true that sometimes I’ve earned my crust of bread, sometimes some friend has given me it as a favour; I’ve lived as best I could, better or worse, as things went; it’s true that I’ve lost several people’s trust, it’s true that my financial affairs are in a sorry state, it’s true that the future’s not a little dark, it’s true that I could have done better, it’s true that just in terms of earning my living I’ve lost time, it’s true that my studies themselves are in a rather sorry and disheartening state, and that I lack more, infinitely more than I have. But is that called going downhill, and is that called doing nothing?

Perhaps you’ll say, but why didn’t you continue as people would have wished you to continue, along the university road?

To that I’d say only this, it costs too much and then, that future was no better than the present one, on the road that I’m on. But on the road that I’m on I must continue; if I do nothing, if I don’t study, if I don’t keep on trying, then I’m lost, then woe betide me. That’s how I see this, to keep on, keep on, that’s what’s needed.

But what’s your ultimate goal, you’ll say. That goal will become clearer, will take shape slowly and surely, as the croquis becomes a sketch and the sketch a painting, as one works more seriously, as one digs deeper into the originally vague idea, the first fugitive, passing thought, unless it becomes firm.

Vincent van Gogh