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Finger lakes

November 10, 2010

I woke up this morning thinking of three things:

1. “Skaneateles”
2. The opening piano part of “The Rose”
3. Log rolling

What on earth could I have been dreaming about? Doesn’t this sound like an improv sketch in the making?

I am still riding the conference high (are you sick of hearing about this yet?), although I’m starting to come down and spent a bunch of time missing my friends today. It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with Jeanne on facebook that I realized what makes me react so positively to conferences. As I told Jeanne, “It was helpful to get out and go somewhere where people didn’t immediately think of me as an adjunct of my family. I felt like myself again. I love my family, but every now and then I need to be reminded of my relevance in the world.”

I spend a lot of time in my house and I usually like it, but I think it may not be so good for me.

My work day was not quite as productive as I’d hoped. As I have to turn in my computer for repairs tomorrow, I was hoping for more checks off my to do list. I had a great bunch of lessons this evening, though. I had a new student start tonight. She’s in high school and has played three years only studying in a string class. But she’s way beyond what I’d expected with a background like that. She’s smart and curious and fun to talk to. Plus she’s ready to start the Vivaldi A Minor concerto. It will be fun to work on real music. She also wants to try fiddle — hooray!

Mr. Spy is out and about this evening, watching a friend’s band play. I am home backing up my computer and keeping an eye on AJ, who is playing some game of his own devising. I’m looking forward to an evening with Carson McCullers. I went to a really interesting paper last weekend about music in McCullers, particularly The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which I bought a year or two ago but never read. I’m always so blown away by her prose. Here’s one of the passages cited in the paper I heard that made me want to read this book as soon as I got home. Mick, the adolescent girl protagonist, is listening to Beethoven on her neighbor’s radio:

The announcer said they were going to play his third symphony. She only halfway listened because she wanted to walk some more and she didn’t care much what they played. Then the music started. Mick raised her head and her fist went up to her throat.

How did it come? For a minute the opening balanced from one side to the other. Like a walk or march. LIke God strutting in the night. The outside of her was suddenly froze and only that first part of the music was hot inside her heart. She could not even hear what sounded after, but she sat there waiting and froze, with her fists tight. After a while the music came again, harder and loud. It didn’t have anything to do with God. This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her — the real plain her.

She could not listen good enough to hear it all. The music boiled inside her. Which? To hang on to certain wonderful parts and think them over so that later she would not forget — or should she let go and listen to each part that came without thinking or trying to rememer? Golly! The whole world was this music and she could not listen hard enough. Then at last the opening music came again, with all the diffferent instruments bunched together for each note like a hard, tight fist that socked at her heart. And the first part was over.

A while back, a poet/English prof friend of mine and I planned an imaginary class on films about music that we considered trying to teach together at a local film center before she got a job out of state. I’m now wondering about a music in literature class. Cather and McCullers are obvious choices. Katherine Davies’ The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf would be a good addition too. And that’s just classical music. Food for thought.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 9:09 am

    I’ve just gotten a copy of The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf. After I’ve read it, maybe you and I should plan a Music in Literature course for the imaginary college that will appreciate it.

  2. November 11, 2010 9:20 am

    An excellent idea, Jeanne. I hope you like the book. I suspect Richard Powers’ The Time of Our Singing might also be a good addition, although I haven’t read it yet. But even if it were, I probably wouldn’t program it for an actual class, on account of its length.

  3. freshhell permalink
    November 11, 2010 9:27 am

    I love Carson McCullers.

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