27 May 2006

Musicality

For a very long time now I have toyed with the notion of writing a musical. I hadn't any theme or storyline, really, I simply thought it would be enjoyable to compose some pretty songs for people to sing. It probably grew first from my aspiration to try my hand at composing some sweet orchestral music--I have always enjoyed classical music, listening to records of the "1812 Overture" since I was a little boy, and my grandfather composed a number of pieces for the organ (which he played), so I supposed the composing gene must run in the family. I think fuel was added to this fire a few years back when I attended my first opera: Madame Butterfly. So beautiful. I was stunned that humans could create such a thing.

Well, yesternight while driving home from something I began singing to myself the words of a questioning love-song, and it was then my mind fastened upon a potential story for my musical attempt. I thought of Psyche and Cupid, and especially the retelling in Lewis' Faces. Tell me, would that not open all kinds of beautiful, wondrous doors for exploration in song? I began playing with some of the questions and the dramatics involved, and jotted down a few lines toward a song (though by no means complete or certain):

(the woman lies next to her lover, a god who is shrouded in darkness...she has never been allowed to look on him, yet she longs to see him...she is holding a shaded lamp, debating whether she ought to break his command in order that she might see him...)

And how shall I adore a beauty I shall never see?
O, though my lover be a god, yet not enough for me...
I long to love him and in pledge to give my body free
But shall a heart be given where no loving gaze can be?
O light! Possess my love
O eyes, now make him mine
And may his beauty cast away all doubt within my mind!

(she breaks the lamp and light bursts across her sleeping husband and lover)

O god! My heart! My love! I cry--
I cannot look the more!
Such beauty here would dim the light which flows from heaven's door!
What wondrous locks curl at thy crown,
What fair and noble brow--
My mortal heart collapses, my breathing quickens now--
O god! Possess thy love
O master, make me thine
I am yours...


This part, of course, where Psyche breaks open her lamp to reveal the god sleeping beside her--the god she is about to lose. The story is marvelous and deeply dramatic, and I think would make a beautiful tragedy in song, not to mention some powerful spiritual meaning in it. Any thoughts from you all?

24 May 2006

A Friendly Warning

To the driver of the car I observed on the highway last night:

Let me guess--you have a wife, maybe a couple of children, but when you went shopping for a new family vehicle and you contemplated purchasing a minivan, something within you screamed, "No! That's way too domestic!" You're a rebel, right? You were born to be wild, or something like that. You felt the primal voice within rage against something so bulky and common and uncool as a minivan. And so, to silence that voice, you looked elsewhere.

I know, you still wanted to be hip, to be young, to drive something gruff and manly which recalled wilderness days of the hunter-gatherer lives of men. I understand completely. You're a stallion, man, and not even a family can tame you down. If you can't ride a motorcycle, you want everyone to know you would ride one.

But, my friend--and I hate to break this to you, truly I do--I have to say that no amount of Vols, Harley-Davidson, or "Fear This!" stickers, and no, not even the flames painted along her panels, will ever bestow upon your PT Cruiser the title of "cool."

19 May 2006

A Quick Story

I have to leave for singles' group in about an hour, but before I go, I feel an urge to tell a story. Here goes, from the top of my head...


The Mathematician and the Artist

In a room full of people he stands silent without mirth or grief in his eyes. He looks this way and that, calculating the faces of those around him, as if they were mathematical figures and not forms of flesh, he's adding up this flirtacious blonde with that brawny fellow in the corner, dividing by the curly-haired girl who sits nearby with a soured jealous expression on her face. He watches others move in circles around the room until striking upon some conversational common denominator, into which they add their two cents, and then comes the art behind the math: will the semi-circle already present expand to allow the newcomer? and should they do so, will they now form a pleasant, healthy circle of talk, or will they create an oblong oval, complete with pregnant distance to express the mere politeness of their welcoming? He waits and calculates. The oval forms. He smiles.

Ah! Here's a new one, just come into the room, a young man, around 20, smiling at several other young ones and occasionally coughing into his sleeve. The Mathematician watches and counts his steps--the young man of 20 sees an acquaintance and gives the manly nod in that direction, his friend is standing amid four or five pretty young ladies, shortest distance between two points, but the young man instead takes a rounded arc before joining the group--a subtle deception to hide his immediate and apparent interest in Girl #3. They're talking now. You could keep time by the mild, amused laughter of Girl #3...one two three four--laughter--one two three four--giggle. Ridiculous.

The Mathematician cringes and turns toward his drink instead. He gazes into the plastic cup as bubbles form along the roof of his soda. He begins counting bubbles to avoid counting the moments of his loneliness. Thirteen, fourteen, twelve, seven, ten...

On and on he counts. That is, until she enters the room.

She pauses at the threshold, the room is full of wondrous strangers to her. She has never seen anything like them, so beautiful as they laugh and shine, console and mourn, smile and flirt. They move with ease and freedom (how free!), power and grace, and for all her stone and oils and watercolours, she knows she never shall make such a thing so soft, so strong, so fluid as these strangers are! She sees burning brilliant in their eyes what her paintings and sculptures would dare to name with simple sounds like "love" or "peace" or "friendship" or simply "life," words too small to possess the divine light which blazes here! She is humbled as in the presence of Masterpieces. She longs to touch them as a child.

And so into the room she passes. Her movements are an art of their own, she carries her body with grace and breathy softness, simply adorned, swinging gently into the room of perfect unknowns. The lights of the room fall along her as if their glory were made for her, to bring her light. She walks in beauty, like the very first night, the only pure night of which all current nights are but an echo, the night in which stars became and released their glory, the moon grown as a newly birthed blossom in the sky. Oh yes, she walks in beauty.

The Mathematician sees her and Life escapes him a moment as she comes, he feels his heart skip a beat, one-TWO, one-TWO, everything's fine, on--... time...space...a collision between zero and infinity, between Nothing and Everything, meet in a person who defies figures or laws--she is pure Imagination expanding his heart! ...and then he remembers himself, and the beats resume.

But something is different. The silence in his heart has left--somehow this young woman has changed the regular clockwork beats from mere numbers into a song! He cannot conceive how it was done, he only knows it is. He moves and lives, he moves out of the lonely corner and to this piece of art, this Artist who has made music of his soul. He smiles again, now a sincere smile. The Mathematician meets the Artist.


Off to singles I go! (smile)

18 May 2006

At Long Last...

Today, at long last, I presented my new curriculum to the educators and staff at WhyKnow. Well, I presented most of it, anyway--I discovered while browsing through the printed pages that there were plenty of gaps and missing references mixed in, which I distinctly or fuzzily remember promising myself I would "eventually get to." Probably those all-nighters spent on it recently. Still, the work as a whole is looking pretty sharp, and now I get to turn my attention from composing text and activities, toward some of the practicals: fonts, graphics, etc. This should be fun. As to the intended font, I'm thinking Perpetua 13.

It suddenly strikes me as odd, this expression I have just used: "at long last." Such a strange collection of terms is this--"at" gives the sense of arriving, which I certainly have (almost) done with this project, "long" describes duration (or so I'd assume...physical length doesn't make much sense here)...but "last"? How does this apply? Did I manage to "last" or survive this long experience? Or does it imply finality?

Gosh, I sound boring (grin). It has been awhile since I let my imagination loose with creative writing, since this project has gobbled up most of my creativity in recent months, so I apologise for being so dry. In time, in time. It's a pity, though, that I can't scratch something fun out just now, for I have been reading Chesterton's Orthodoxy lately and thinking much about faerie tales and the grace of imagination...

Again, give me a few weeks and perhaps I'll be my clever self again (smile).

15 May 2006

The Weblog Transfer

Where to begin...

I'm wondering what I should do with this blog. I began a blog about eighteen months ago on a rival site (xanga.com), encouraged others to join, and by now have quite a happy little colony of friends floating together there. But I have become less enamoured with the xanga tendency toward provocative pics in their banner ads, and rather prefer the simplistic forms here at blogspot. But this leaves me with a number of dilemmas:

1. Do I try to juggle two blogs at once? This seems audacious and overkill, to say the least.

2. Suppose I remove to this blog permanently. Should I then try to lure friends away from xanga to join me here? I know, I know--if I really love them, I'll let them go, set them free...and if the love is real, they'll fly to my Blogger side, right? Not that there is much benefit to bringing them here. Thus far, I haven't discovered a way to create blogrings on this site, which would be rather helpful and communal in (one would hope) a positive way. Also, this site requires more ingenuity to manage, as one must dig into the lines of code oneself to make changes (xanga is far easier), and I fear most of my friends are almost as computer-inept as I. So.

3. If I try to maintain both, will I simply copy entries from one site to the other? Again, I cannot believe my words are so important to the world...and that sounds tedious for a guy like me. Even now, I can think back to some lovely entries on the other site and a happy sigh escapes me. I do so love to write...

Okay, it's settled, then. I'm going to add slowly and quietly to this blog and still keep the old one for the sake of my constant companions there. We'll see what ending comes of this...