|Unfinished Sonata From Columnist To Reader|
|Opinion - Global Warning|
|Lisa Jain Thompson|
|Wednesday, 11 January 2012 09:00|
Washington, DC, USA. When in the course of human events … Sorry, that’s been used hasn’t it? What about We, The People nope, even I have used that crutch far too many times.
The first thing you need when writing a column is a writer. All present and accounted for and seated at my laptop listening to the quintessential American composer Charles Ives.
The second necessity, of course, is a topic to write about, a requirement I admit to be woefully lacking. Missing either, you will have a problem most difficult to overcome. So what you see here is an author in search of her battleground so to speak. A writer looking for a topic worthy of her skills and interesting enough that someone might want to read it other than her editor.
Video courtesy of Hilary Hahn and Valentina Lisitsa.
Hilary Hahn (violin) and Valentina Lisitsa (piano) play an exerpt from the First Sonata by Charles Ives.
For more from the performers and their preparation to play the Ives work, see their interview on YouTube, Hilary Hahn Ives Sonatas, with Valentina Lisitsa.I do like readers. I know you are out there. I just can’t think of you while I’m writing or I will crash and burn like some audience tested situation comedy or buzz worthy movie whose hot shot director can’t decide which of three different endings to conclude his movie. Decisions must be made. Words must be chosen. I have no DVD to provide you alternate paragraphs and meaning.
Charles Ives seems to be affecting this column specifically, his sonatas for piano and violin. [N2] Brilliant, irresistible, warm and spiky, daring and satisfying, infusing the words and phrases with bold allusions and rhythms. But Ives had to die to have words like that applied to his music.
During his lifetime he was just another Non-New York Composer without the proper, academic credentials and social upbringing. He just wasn’t one of us with the proper respect for all things New York City.
Ives described his First Sonata as a kind of reflection and remembrance of the peoples’ outdoor gatherings in which men got up and said what they thought, regardless of the consequences.
I like that regardless of the consequences part.
You may think that I hold the New York intelligentsia in somewhat low regard. That is not true. I simply feel that their time is over, the world has moved on, and most times they haven’t a clue. Given its druthers, New York can be the most provincial village in the world. An incestuous cesspool of culturally approved avant-garde and intellectual conformity that periodically needs to a kick in the butt before it will move forward again.
The world does not end at the edge of the Hudson River. Nor does the world hang breathlessly on ex cathedra pronouncements from New York society and their lap dog critics. We the people can make up our own minds quite nicely without any divine guidance emanating out of New York.
Nor do we need the approval of National Public Radio to decide what we may like or dislike. British drama seldom becomes more than the soap operas they simply are by their appearance on National Public Television. The white upper class approvers of public taste are no smarter than anyone else they simply have control of the microphone and use their position to refuse access to those who do not voluntarily bend low before them.
A touch of skill, a bit of mystical vision and unscience, a location set in an area of the world deemed exotic by the tastemakers and approvers, and you too could be an overnight literary sensation.
I sometimes wonder how much more I would be accoladed, if I had chosen to use my Sicilian family name Faraci rather than Thompson. [N3] It has a hint of non-white minority about it and blood is everything after all.
No one held the gun to my head. But what more can a poor girl do but write her poetry and columns and throw them out across the web.
I do not have the Harvard connections. I will not be appointed to the Supreme Court or selected to run for Senator. I do not have a father or grandfather who attended Yale. As a part of the first generation to graduate from college, I do not have top cover. Nor am I a graduate of the Seven Sisters. As such, my mind has not been properly formed. My thoughts are not pre-approved.
I come from the mean streets of American lower class. Italian laborers and English farmers, teachers and artisans. We worked with our hands for generations before struggling only lately into the middle class. We have been out of work as much as we have been in. If we had had a silver spoon, we probably would have sold it long ago to put food on the table for our families.
I do not follow leaders. I barely pay for parking meters. A certainly, from all hints and indications, I am not a joiner. A child of World War II veterans, I fly at the world head on, choosing who I am and where I shall breathe without expert advice from those who believe they should decide such things.
And now, I am 900 plus words into a column without a proper topic. I doubt there is even a punch line at the end of this. Think of it as a sonata not intended to be a symphony, but instinctively left unfinished. A conscious jazz of word and phrase and an instinctive wish to create. Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and a young lamb ready for shearing walk into a bar … Like I said, no punch line. You will have to work that out for yourself …
Notes[N1] Man of La Mancha, Knight of Woeful Countenance, lyrics by Joe Darion.
[N2] Charles Ives: Four Sonatas, Deutsche Grammophon, Hilary Hahn, violin, and Valentina Lisitsa, piano.
[N3] With one c please, we’re from Palermo.
[N4] The Godfather, Michael Corleone.
[N5] The Godfather, Clemenza.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2012 10:46|