rainy west mich

I was thinking about Melanie Safka, the composer of “What have they done to my song, ma?” The lines:

If I could find a real good book
I wouldn’t have to come out and look

were ringing through my head. I remember being quite fond of Melanie in the sixties.

I notice that I have been doing a lot of reading of fiction, lately.

It definitely feels like escape reading.

I finished re-reading “The Right to An Answer” by Anthony Burgess last night.

My copy looks nothing like this. It is an old worn hardback.

This is a book about UK race relations in the 50s. The main character is a man named Mr Raj who is a Sri Lankan who  has come to the UK to study race relations.

His observations and actions are the heart of the book. The book is comic and tragic and ultimately sort of profound.

Even though this book is over fifty years old I find it interesting that the problems are still so fresh. Hard to believe that it was written a decade before the civil rights struggle in the U.S.

John Lewis & Jim Swerg in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday in Selma Malrch 7, 1965. John Lewis now a Congressman from Georgia was recently accosted by angry Tea Party members in DC. Same as it ever was.

I also spent quite a bit of time on the piano yesterday. As I played through many pages of early Debussy piano music, I realized how my technique has improved even in the last ten years.


I now insist on much more accurate rendering of the page. And there is a slight increase in facility of this rendering.

I have been struggling with a bit of a mood of melancholy. In the face of this mood I thrust my reading and music. I am reminded of John Hartford response to his diagnosis of imminent death. If I understand correctly he began practicing harder than ever. I am charmed by this.

John Hartford (1937-2001)

I also visited mature Beethoven and late Mozart on the keys yesterday.

Not sure what it all means but I do take solace in fiction and music.

Today is a cold rainy day in Western Michigan.

I will be taking my Mom to the shrink this afternoon. She is also suffering from depression which I take to be much deeper than mine.

My blood pressure readings were a bit better this morning (123/84). I consciously lay in bed relaxing my body before getting up to take it. I think my melancholy increases my stress and probably affects it. But who knows?

I bought some Hibiscus tea because I read recently it might be efficacious in helping blood pressure and cholesterol.  The label on the expensive little can of tea bags suggested three cups a day. I tried to use one tea bag for two cups yesterday, but the second cup barely tasted of the tea at all. Hmmm.

I also have been working on composition lately. This is especially difficult when one is dealing with a bad mood. The notes mock the creator. They seem suddenly cold and pathetic. Time to put it aside, I guess.

Tomorrow I have church meetings and I am dreading them a bit.

I keep pondering  Burgess’s little meditation on life. At one point he has a minor poet give this little speech.

“Now, said Everett, ‘I enter, I hope, on my last phase. A poetry more rarefied, perhaps, full of mature wisdom, an old man’s benediction for a sinful world, a poetry calm in resignation.’ He extended his arms in blessing. ‘A poetry which says that none us really has a right to an answer.’

‘An answer to what?’ I said.

‘An answer to all the questions that ultimately become one question, and that question it is not easy to define, although we all know what it is.'”

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0 thoughts on “rainy west mich

  1. One never understands the impact they have on others. They do not know the lives that they touch nor the reasons/perceptions that people have of them. Really, I’m am not sure that it matters, but you must know that the only true legacy that you leave is your children. My daughter has taught Yoga for many years and tells me that the key to inner peace is a discipline of relaxation. I know that is simplistic idea, and it is a very difficult thing to turn off the mental process and focus on the body. Stretching the body and focusing on it mentally, does create the sense of relaxation. This technique comes by disciplined contemplation. You might look into it for yourself.

  2. So you do Yoga? I have used a kind of meditation and Yoga on and off since around 1975. Also specific relaxation exercises my piano teacher taught me around then. Very difficult to do music without some conscious relaxation. I also prayed daily for many years. Have ceased the latter, but still think quite a bit about relaxation and the necessity of solitude for my life.

    I’m not sure I think a lot about legacy.

    I do know that the impact we have on others is pretty unknowable. Recently I had a high school friend (David Lyle Strong) contact me again for the first time since the sixties. His memories and enthusiastic feelings toward me and the time we spent together surprised me.

    This is an aspect of working with people. It happens over and over (church, teaching, whatever)….. it’s kind of cool.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting!

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