Tomorrow I fly to the West Coast to see plays in Portland and Seattle, and I’m frighteningly busy preparing for the trip. (If you’ve trying to get in touch with me, please don’t be surprised by unexpected delays–it’s been a long time since I was this swamped.)
In lieu of original thought, here are some fugitive gleanings from the blogosphere:
– Ms. twang twang twang summarizes the ups and downs of her life as a professional harpist:
I have asked a tramp to hold my harp at 2am outside a casino while I clamber into my car boot to unjam it from the inside. I have been dressed as a fairy, a mermaid, a 1920s burlesque dancing girl complete with red sequinned cigarette holder, been asked to play topless (no, I didn’t), been asked to wear a sailor’s outfit (no, I didn’t–although that was more because the orchestra requesting it wasn’t supplying the gear, and I don’t have a sailor’s outfit hanging next to my long black), and played behind a screen in case I gave the 100 dining Arab men wrongful thoughts. I have done countless youth concerts in a variety of silly hats, although fortunately not a WW2 gasmask, which was once given to the principal double bass. I’ve done pubs, clubs, casinos, cruises, discos, orgies, supermarkets and public lavatories. I’ve also played in private lavatories, when no ground floor warm-up rooms have been arranged. I have performed My Heart Will Go On 75 times accompanied by bagpipes, kit and a Wurlitzer Organ–together.
Jeepers, how come that kind of stuff never happened to me when I played music?
– Ms. pretty dumb things has a bone to pick–but not her usual one:
In general, things don’t happen in real life as they do in movies. That palpable difference is, after all, one of the reasons why we love cinema. Our lives do not finish in a neat narrative moment that resolves as it fades to black. We do not, in general, experience our lives as a grand unfolding of plot points that crescendo-culminate in some grandiose happening, whether dramatic or comedic or both.
Rarely do we have that succinct pointed epiphany. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a love story, a war story, a family story or a personal story; the real defies any narrative framework, perhaps because rarely is anything in real life just one story.
Which is why cinematic reproductions of therapeutic moments give me a huge pain in the ass….
You’ll never guess where she goes from here.
– Mr. Anecdotal Evidence enunciates a credo:
In art, fortunately, one is not compelled to choose sides, one poet at the expense of another. Milosz and Larkin are not mutually exclusive loves. Aesthetic love is promiscuous without being unfaithful. I feel no compulsion to be rigorously consistent in matters of artistic taste. I can love Proust and Raymond Chandler, Schoenberg and Johnny Cash. Only in that sense, I think, is art democratic….
What he said (except for the part about Schoenberg).
– If you didn’t see this story in Publishers Weekly, read it right now. The subject is the decline of newspaper book reviewing:
With newspapers under increasing financial pressure, however, is it reasonable to expect them to give extensive coverage to an industry where they get relatively little support? Among the remaining Sunday review sections, only the New York Times Book Review receives a significant number of ads. The Washington Post Book World has seen very little publisher support throughout its history. “It’s been a real problem,” said Book World editor Marie Arana. The situation is much the same at the San Francisco Chronicle, where, said editor Phil Bronstein, the section gets few ads. “It gets harder and harder to justify something that has no ad support,” said Bronstein….
That’s laying it on the line. Yikes.
– Meanwhile, Mr. Parabasis is concerned about the constricting cultural effects of copyright law:
I don’t think an artist should have ownership of their work in the conventional sense of the term. I believe that art is a gift we give the world. Cheesy, I know, but think through the implications of the metaphor. When you give a gift, you don’t own it anymore. The receiver of the gift owns it. So if art is a gift we give the world, the world owns that gift, not us.
Now I’m not saying people shouldn’t be paid for their work. They should. They just perhaps shouldn’t have as much control over what happens to it once it’s out there in the world. Because as artists, the giving activity is the useful, helpful, growthful one. Having control over that gift once it’s out there is selfish….
I know just what he’s talking about, and if I had time to weave it together with my recently published thoughts about YouTube, I would. Instead, I’ll let you connect the dots yourself.
– Mr. Lileks goes to a suburban party in Minneapolis and finds it reassuringly tame:
If this had been a Peter DeVries novel or Cheever story, someone–usually a failed but charming intellectual becalmed in the suburbs–would be canoodling with someone else’s wife in the kitchen, who responded to the classical allusions floating on the seducers winey breath with a sharp mocking retort that would end in a brisk cynical coupling seventy pages later. Sitting around the living room tonight I realized that the middle-aged overeducated vaguely alcoholic East-coast suburban adulterer is no longer the cultural archetype he used to be. Pour some Cutty on the curb for the dead homey. Or the dead homey-wrecker….
– Speaking of life in New Yorkerland, Ms. Emdashes has posted the latest edition of “Ask the Librarians,” her monthly Q-&-A with that magazine’s head librarians. As always, it’s a must.
– Finally, Ms. Tinkerty Tonk points to a site called How Many of Me that allows you to search the U.S. Census Bureau’s database to find out how many people share your first and last names. It seems there are 586,439 Americans named Terry, 1,560 Teachouts, and three Terry Teachouts.
Where do my two namesakes live? Are we related? What do they do for a living? I wonder….