Writing The Next Note

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“For me Beethoven must be the Greatest composer ever Lived. Probably he was the only Composer who never failed to realize what the next note should be.”

Leonard Bernstein

That seems mainly true of all great or fine—or even just purposeful pursuits—yes? Sometimes I know the next note, sometimes not. When not there’s a flatness to it, a lack of energy. But we mere mortals must plod along.

Yesterday’s Connections

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John Locke

John Locke was a 17th-century English philosopher whose ideas formed the foundation of liberal democracy and greatly influenced both the American and French revolutions. His birthday was yesterday, August 29.

Locke was the Liberal Classicist who also appeared in Lost, the TV show of some fame—at least it seemed that way to me. I thought the characters on Lost were a metaphor for others, John Locke being the most obvious. This worked for a while until it became too much to make the match ups. The connections between actions and philosophies of the characters. After all, I did have a job to go to.

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Mary Shelley-Posted by Reading Addicts

When I was teaching I had the kids read Frankenstein. “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, at the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.”

The thing they struggled with most was that a woman had written the story. It was the idea of such horrific thoughts coming from that beautiful woman. They were very young.

Mary’s birthday is today, August 30.

Dead Poets’ Society

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Posted by Purple Cover

Robin Williams in one of his best roles. Even though the film was shlock, it was still enjoyable. Sometimes we don’t mind the con as long as we know what it is. As long as the message is the treasure. And this was a treasure, in so many ways and parts of the film. I also think that Robin Williams did a better job in the more serious roles, rather than the comedic ones. Think of Good Morning, Vietnam!

Dysania!

Oh my word there’s a word for that? I have this. I’m sure it’s a disease. I love being up early & being the only one awake and about. It is a magical time of the day. The problem is that once I get out of that habit it’s very difficult to regain. This is my actual natural state—that of dysania. And it’s not an inherited one. I come from a family of early risers. I’ve always crossed this off to one of the seven deadly sins: Sloth. Oh slothful am I! And the victim of a state of being. *Sigh* But, would not an affliction by any other name smell as sour? (To paraphrase the Bard.)

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Gonzo In 2005

huntersnoteWhen I was younger, pretty much any rebel was my hero. And I can’t honestly say that I’ve changed much. Unfortunately rebels don’t tend to live long, or well as they age. You might say their “use-by” date comes early. Or they go off the deep end like Che, and Trotsky, et.al. Thompson just basically blew himself up. Literally I’d say, with a gun. He wrote a suicide note. I don’t blame him for being bummed about the Super Bowl though; it went to the New England Pats. At least it was Philly they were playing, not Green Bay. And there is a definite vacuum once football season is over. The eternal and existential questions arise. What’s it all about? Is there a God? Is there life after death? Does anything matter?

And then there are all of the wonderful quotes. Hunter sure knew how to sling ’em. I like them to the point that I used more than one in The Fat Man, under chapter headings. (Just like old times—I don’t know why writers quit such a lovely gesture.) Here’s one as an example. “I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”  That’s the lead for Chapter 23—The Hero In Heroin.

So here we are, once again contemplating life, death, and what happens in between. Who better to guide than someone who observed life in all its normal, its glory, and its ugly. And by the way, Hunter, we’re still here waiting for the answers we sent you on ahead to gather. Let us know, huh?

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Words From Bobby

And my aunt Sooky

BobbyDMost people think that only driven artists who don’t work in the public area are truly doing what they want to do. Not so, my aunt Sooky would say. She was a biologist. Yet more (possibly) improbably, at moments in a spiraled upward life, research biology. Yes, in a lab. Dylan’s words reminded me of Sooks, and I’ve not thought of her in years.

When I was very quite young she used to come to our house and stay some weeks in the summer. I loved seeing her, though I never quite understood what it was all about. In retrospect, I do believe she came to recharge, unwind, balance herself. This she did primarily in our back yard on a beach blanket. Whilst holding a Carling Black Label beer in one hand and a cigarette in another. She was tan and wore a boob tube. Her hair was fairly short and curly. Dark, like she was. Of course I adored her. And brought her the beers from the kitchen when she needed one. Periodically she would jump up and run for her travel bag, retrieve a large leather notebook and write something in it. Sometimes that would put an end to the sunbathing and she would spend the rest of the morning or day in the kitchen at the table, writing and sketching. More than once Mother would set the table in the dining room and we would have our supper there, leaving Sooky undisturbed at the table. This, to me, though without the words for it at the time, was the consummate work passion. It invigorated her. It left her smiling.

I don’t know how much relaxing she did, or how restored she was when she left, but she always left smiling. And she said wonderful things that sounded wise, and made me want to be her, to live her life. Sooky said things like the Dylan quote. And, if you’re doing what you want to do, enjoy doing, it’s not work at all. Sometimes they pay you for having fun. Think of it! What joy.

Zen Suchness

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Ah, the zen of it. Wherein there seems to be a reflection on everything, if not an actual doing that works. If one applies it—the teaching, the spirit of it, the intention, and on into the practice. What we live, what we do with our intention—the meditating, the meta, and the works—all become our practice. And on with the flow of it. And, as is my own special way, the fall off the Path and the Practice. Distracted by life.

What needs be overcome? For me it is always Lazy. Lazy & lack of Discipline. Maybe they are the same? Finding this, the KAIZEN posted in Lion’s Roar struck a cord of harmony. This seems so easy to practice, how can I not? I like easy. So here we go:

Japanese Suchness—to overcome laziness & to cultivate discipline. Kaizen. One minute, same time everyday. Do same thing for one minute. Kai=change; zen=good.

That’s all, that’s it. One minute everyday. Pick the time and do something, even standing or sitting. Anything. It’s the discipline of same time, same thing. I for one am going to give it a try. I’ll stand for a minute every morning at the same time and watch my breath, in and out. Suchness.