I begin with last night’s dream. I hope it amuses anyone who reads it as much as myself:
In my last dream last night, I seemed to have been courting George Bush’s daughter. In the course of our romance I had written up a four page obliquely worded critique of her father and given it to her. She was so taken with my critique that she replicated it on pink sheets and sat her father, her mother and myself down to read it to us.
As she read it I realized how poorly prepared the critque was. There was a paragraph about Vooks (video books). No one in the room but me seemed to know what Vooks were.
Her father had been reading through it. He tossed it aside and began talking to me sternly. I was no Bill Clinton, he said. The report was poorly prepared. Misspellings. (I was sure he meant Vook).
As I stammered an apology and explanation, his wife teared up.
Then suddenly I was in line with James Earl Jones at Wendys. He had lost patience with my studying of the menu and was proceeding to order. The place you order was situated so that one couldn’t see the menu as one ordered. I thought to myself, no problem I can just order.
I said to the middle aged order taker that I would have a single patty. She said without a plug? meaning a bun I guess. I said no. With a plug and onions. She said I have josephines. I said that would be fine. With mustard.
I have several interps of this dream, but they are a bit personal so I will omit them from this public forum, heh.
Church pretty much depleted me physically and emotionally yesterday. I find it takes enormous energies to teach and perform an anthem and then to do the service then teach another several anthems to my choir.
I would like to do a choral recital in February. God knows why. Saturday I spent a couple hours transcribing a Sanctus by Antonio Lotti for yesterday’s rehearsal. The choir seem to take to my choices for upcoming music. Interestingly enough they read quite competently through the Mendelssohn I had ready. (“O Come Everyone that Thirsteth” no. 42 in Elijah) Mendelssohn seems to be an aesthetic that makes sense to them. Likewise the Lotti. At the end of rehearsal I through in a little Gospel arrangement of “This Little Light of Mine” for a week from Sunday (Hey, it’s epiphanic, n’est pas?)
The pop rhythms were harder for my little group. I guess that’s the flip side of classical music literacy.
Anyway I came home exhausted and a bit depressed. As usual. I watched my wife walk out the door to go snow shoeing with her friend Barb just as I was arriving. They were excited to try out Eileen’s new poles.
I had some lunch and then read the Knight’s tale in Ackroyd’s retelling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I also interlibrary loaned some books from a recent best of 2009 list.
Of course I do this out of curiosity so I don’t know really what these books contain.
But here are a few. All quotes taken from this link.
“Menand’s point was that the actual experience of the American Civil War – impeccably “moral” though it may have been as a cause – was so nightmarish that it left an entire generation of intellectuals with a hatred of moral certitude of all kinds. The blessing, though, was that instead of turning merely inward or to nostalgic authoritarianism, as the post-World War One intellectuals did after a similar disillusion, it turned them to a new and more anti-authoritarian idea of what morality might be and what the truth might be that supported it.” Adam Gopnik
“Every creature in the small New England town lifts up its voice, from the beavers to the lichen to the living and the dead. But it’s not twee. Nor precious, affected, or a Marquez rip-off, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s an epic, that just happens to be about the lives of three 12-year-old girls. Even if one of them can resurrect the dead, it’s hardly the traditional territory for an epic.” Jessica Crispin
“LeBlanc is a journalist and spent 10 years documenting the family’s struggles with poverty, drugs, parenthood, love and jail. It’s an important social document and an incredibly compelling read. It’s been my mission to get everybody I know to read this book.” Miriam Toews
“John Ehle, from North Carolina, is now 84, and is still shockingly unknown. It has taken a small press, Down Home Books, to begin republishing his work in the last two or three years. The Landbreakers is a great American novel, way beyond anything most New York literary icons have produced. And that is only one of several remarkable novels, though the one a reader new to Ehle should begin with.” Michael Ondaatje
“We must all come to terms with our parents, and this can be the task of a lifetime. Watching someone as talented as Gray undertake this challenge would be compelling enough, but with the background panorama of the Russian Revolution, Nazism and the intimate family life of the ultimate power couple – it’s like a voyage to another social planet in business class. Gray pulls this off with a generosity that is surprising given all she suffered from her parents’ narcissism.” Michael A. Marrus
I end with a poem that caught my attention yesterday. It captured my dismal mood:
The Erotic Civilization
The infinite erotic civilization we created
is declining now. Breast and penis wag in public
as in primitive times, when nothing was erotic but the gods,
and they wave placards and besiege the legislature,
demanding their right to go naked, unmolested,
unnoticed like anyone else through the pubic airwaves.
There are still heroes of eroticism,
those we call `The Antediluvians’, who appear in g-strings
behind aquarium glass, as if anyone were watching,
and there are still those who watch them
in the tired chrome and neon of the Erotomania Club
or on a last streetcorner of transvestite whores.
We still sometimes enjoy the very significant old bromide
whereby the decolletee is made to seem momentarily
the sacred cleft of the buttocks. Yet now
it all has the shuttered umbrella-folding sad
end-of-the-season feel that any religion will exude
as it survives stubbornly into the new age.
And the new age: how few steps are left to take
for the ever-developing machine of the body
before we get there. The distances are very big
but crossable, given merely a life that could be counted out
in simplest arithmetic, though it would have to last
longer, they say, than the universe is going to.
And it would be–will be–a boring journey,
like a bus trip across the Australian desert, sixty hours,
with the two drivers taking ten-hour shifts, each sleeping
while the other jounces and rots and the passengers look out
on the unvarying succession of pebbles, no two alike
and no two distinguishable: as if a mite should crawl
across one of those paintings of North African stone and sand
in which Jean Dubuffet submerges into the pure `thingness’
and dignity of earth’s basic material. Yes,
though we bury our penises in the sand, we have to see
the erotic age is now dead and in the world coming to be
will be infinitely pitied by our sexless shadows.
For the time being, however, we remain: brittle
elders, almost insensible, almost impotent, yet alive
by the sufferance of our young, who could easily grab us
and wring our necks, if they ever should desire to.
But they don’t desire. Who can understand them? They care
nothing at all for the mating song and dance
except that its necessary management provides some jobs.
They say right out loud that pleasure is a patina,
something to ease the bitter with the sweet,
and that the abyssal wealth of nature, custom,
and personality was all illusion, a mistake.
Nor can anything we do seduce or divert their resentment,
now that our most alluring female is only an old
half-bursting vacuum cleaner bag, whose penis envy
is about to vanish forever into white oblivion.
Still, we possess the last great strength of the erotic
age: intoxicated terror. Let them do as they please,
their advances can’t help moving us to the passion
of agony and sorrow while we die… The final
penetration, the thrust home, is coming, and they will be
the deliverer, whatever they do or don’t desire.
Around the last salons and saloons the human wave
mounts and howls willy-nilly with an electronic chuckling,
we can hear a click-click-click of commercial stilleto
heels: an undreamt body is stalking to be sold naked,
to be chained by the wrists to a white pillar
in the flap-snap-flop of the laundry of the future
strung out the windows of tropical highrise slums.
by A. F. Moritz (link to source)