Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My friend the incomparable Carla Zilbersmith will be giving a talk about living in gratitude even under totally crap circumstances on Tuesday night the 23rd from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Novato Seventh-day Adventist Church, 495 San Marin Drive, Novato, CA. You can email to reserve tickets. If you live in the Bay Area and can go, you should; Carla is not to be missed!

Last night Christopher and I talked about Beethoven while we ate dinner and listened to a CD of his Pathetique and some other works. When Christopher was sixteen he taught himself the Pathetique using sheet music and a recording, practicing over and over. It's a fiendishly difficult piece. There are portions where the pianist's fingers go by in a hummingbird blur. Where did Beethoven get the courage to strike out in such a moody, personal, naked, wild direction that was so different from what had come before? And where did Christopher get the chutzpah to think he could teach it to himself?

"It's the kind of thing only a sixteen-year-old would be insane enough to attempt!" he laughed. "Not at fifty. At fifty you think, 'I'll just do something a bit easier. This thing is going to make my head explode.'"

I am so madly in love with that sixteen-year-old who would go out on a limb for Beethoven. Who had so much passion inside him that no lesser piece of music would do. It reminds me of what I have been re-living as I edit the transcription of the Kim Rosen interview: how, memorizing the work of a genius, learning it by heart, unites your mind with that genius mind. Kim does it by learning great poems by heart. Christopher did it by learning Beethoven.

When I was in my early twenties I lived for six months with dozens of Shakespeare sonnets inside of me because I was in a production called Crooked Eclipses, a theatrical meditation of Shakespeare sonnets. Walking two miles to work over the freezing Mass Ave. bridge in the dead of winter, or shopping at the grocery store, or hauling my wash to the laundromat, lines from the sonnets would arise spontaneously into my consciousness. I miss those days. Most of the sonnets I knew then have frayed away in the past three (!) decades, but the one that is in the fourth chamber of my heart, as Kim puts it, is "Let us not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediment." I have that one till death do us part. The others I greet as old friends when I encounter them here and there.


Maggie May said...

i really could use listening to that speech.

Alison said...

Thank you Maggie May, what a beautiful blog you have (I checked out Flux Capacitator.) You should check out Carla's amazing blog at .


Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.