One way to think about how crazy I find the world is to realize that I live in a different reality from other people. In my reality it’s people and beauty and ideas that are real not money. In my reality I want to take responsibility for my own actions and understand history and listen to great music and great ideas. This means my reality is peopled with the writers I read and composers I play and listen to. After all my world seems as real to me as other people’s worlds seem unreal to me.
It looks my buddy Dave Strong probably died of Covid. I was looking at past messages on his Facebook feed and it looks like he was struggling with it before he died. What a shame. I have a terrible feeling that he might not have been vaccinated or wore masks. I hope that’s not the case because I’m sure this would have made his brother, Dave, who is a MD crazy. But I’m just shooting in the dark here.
The pandemic is worsening. Eileen and I are taking precautions. We went to the grocery store together today. We wore masks, but many people at Meijer were not wearing masks. Like I say, they live in a different reality from me.
I continue to play through Bartok. Recently I began playing through his Bagatelles. I admit I didn’t know exactly what a bagatelle was. I am familiar with Beethoven’s Bagatelles. I played through a few of these. Finally I broke down and looked it up in my Harvard Dictionary. The word means “trifle” and was coined by, lo and behold, my beloved Francois Couperin. Bartok’s Bagatelles are very different from Beethoven’s. And Couperin’s music is totally different than both Bartok and Beethoven, of course.
Willie Apel, the author of the Harvard Dictionary, says these are “character pieces.” He mentions Schumann’s character pieces so I played through a bit of Schumann earlier today as well.
When I was at Readers World recently, I was using up my gift certificates that the church and Rhonda gave me. The owner asked if I had retired recently and how was it? I said I had and it was great. I read, play music, and think of more books to order from her store.
I am in pig heaven with many good books to read. I’m reading Kunzru’s My Revolutions and Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness and enjoying the shit out of both of them. I am rereading Lerner’s book length poem, Mean Free Path, since I had no idea what the title meant when I waded in for the first read.
“Mean” in sense of “average.” According to a Google, the actual distance a particle such as a molecule in a gas will move before collision is called the “free path.” The distance cannot be generally be given because its calculation would require knowledge of the path of every particle in the region.
Whew! I suppose Lerner expects his ignorant readers like me to google it, but I like to forage ahead into poetry and sometimes prose without always stopping to look up everything. I definitely didn’t have a clue about this connotation of the phrase when I read the little book the first time. Now I’m rereading because one of the techniques he uses is to write lines that only make good sense if you skip a line to finish the thought.
I have interlibrary loaned his book, The Hatred of Poetry. I wonder if it will shed any light on Mean Free Path.
I had to stop at this point and listen to Rhonda and Brian Reichenbach play the piece I wrote for them. They were performing at Calvin College which streamed the concert.
They played the heck out of my piece. Thank you Rhonda and Brian! I will link up the video if I can.