shadow of a life

Still fighting my down mood. I know a grumpy jupe does not an interesting blog make (What does an interesting blog make? he wondered, usually he just writes and links in what interests him….)

I have been hosting my family and that is good stuff. But the church work and my mood is keeping me in a distant sort of emotional place.

It reminds me of my first link this morning: Voices in Time: Life Devoid of Words – Nizhny Novgorod by Maxim Gorky  [link]

Found on the very interesting web site, Laphams Quarterly (more on that in a bit), it describes what it was like to watch some of the first moving pictures.

There are no sounds, no colors. There, everything—the earth, the trees, the people, the water, the air—is tinted in a gray monotone: in a gray sky there are gray rays of sunlight; in gray faces, gray eyes, and the leaves of the trees are gray like ashes. This is not life but the shadow of life, and this is not movement but the soundless shadow of movement.

For years I subscribed to Harpers Magazine. Lapham was the editor and I do admire him. He now is publishing a quarterly and several links in today’s post are for the fascinating stuff he puts up there.

Stuff like this lecture by Kurt Vonnegut on the the basic plots found in stories: Kurt Vonnegut at the Blackboard [link]. I love his plotting out of the plots of Cinderella, Hamlet and Metamorphosis by Kafka. I sure do miss Vonnegut


Harpers always was looking for creative ways to present information. Lapham continues with stuff like this chart of various Musal inspiring type situations. Click on the chart to go to this excellent website.


I like the idea of “Voices in Time” that Lapham uses.  For me this is an important part of learning about life. For example whose voice do you think spoke these strident observations on music?

Music is not art and is not called art; and if you say an artist, an Englishman understands that as meaning a painter, architect, or sculptor. Music is a profession, not an art, and no one speaks or writes of any musician as an artist, for in their language and customs it is something else than art—it is a <profession>.

This quote is a bit out of context. It’s Chopin talking about English prejudices.  I seem to remember that Chopin did not have a good experience visiting England. Here’s a [link ]to the quote on Lapham’s site.

Chopin mourns the English as “Eccentric folk, God help him” and observes that everyone there “seems to have a screw loose.” Heh. I see what he means but I find that sort of human behavior is pretty universal and not limited to the English.

I can remember one of my more outrageous undergrad music profs saying to the class: “You do know the most civilized country in the world? Don’t you?” Stunned undergraduate silence followed and then he proclaim with hands clasped, “Why England, of course!” I love that man. [His name was in fact Tilden Wells. I mention this because I have lurkers who also took classes from him. Hi Lurkers!]

Anyway, this about all the emotional energy I have for a post today. The sun is bleakly shining in Western Michigan and my coffee is weak this morning. The day can only improve. I still know I am lucky. Lucky to be alive and lucky to be loved and be able to make music. Now if I can just shake this damn mood.

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0 thoughts on “shadow of a life

  1. Maybe Chopin was in a darn bad mood! Aren’t all musicians just trained mechanics. Didn’t he have that place “Chopin’s drive through music shop”? It was just around the corner from St. Peter’s instant prayer, and get saved Shop. Not sure of the location though, I may have it confused with the McDonald’s.

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