Friday, August 6, 2010

the power of truth is the fuel for the flame...

While on vacation in Minnesota earlier this summer, I read Marcelo in the Real World.  The story is about a 17-year-old autistic boy who spends the summer working in his dad's law firm, although that's really secondary to what's relevant for this post.  Here's a conversation between Marcelo and one of his coworkers:
"I have a CD of the Goldberg Variations at home.  It is by a pianist named Glenn Gould, and I think Glenn Gould plays the Goldberg Variations more correctly than Keith Jarrett."
"More correctly?  More correctly?  Is there such a thing as more correctly?"

"Yes," I say.  But in fact, I'm not sure "more correctly" is grammatically correct.

"Okay, fine.  I'm going to skip the 'more correctly' discussion for the time being.  I can't believe you said that.  You are so, so wrong.  But let's leave that aside for now.  I want you to answer me this: Who is the better artist, who has the most talent?  Your Glenn Gould interpreting Bach's Goldberg Variations 'more correctly,' as you put it, or my Keith Jarrett improvising, creating on the spot?  Answer that for me."
Ever since I read that, this question has been rolling around in my head, and it came to mind again while sitting in the van in Beltway traffic today.  I'm not entirely sure what brought it about, but I think it was a combination of gardening, Crime and Punishment, and thinking about my tendency to look at institutions and systems and processes and very quickly start thinking about ways in which they could be improved or done more efficiently or done in a way that makes more sense to me.  This is both a curse and a blessing.

But like Marcelo, "I can't.  I am unable to answer her question.  I am at a total loss.  I see the skills and talents required for both types of playing, and I am stuck."  I am unsure whether this aspect of myself is more of a curse or more of a blessing.  I imagine that my time at EIRENE, where a large amount of my time will be spent doing "routine office work," will make that clear rather quickly... and I sure hope that it'll turn out to be... well, not a hindrance at least.  Perhaps my perception of office work is slightly skewed, but I feel like as long as everything gets done on time and ends up in the right place, it shouldn't really matter what my method is.  I'm probably wrong.

As with my last post, the title comes from an Indigo Girls song that's been on heavy rotation lately -- Let It Be Me, which is from Rites of Passage.  (I think.  I can't be bothered to actually look it up.)

Lots of Indigo Girls love going on 'round these parts.  Not that that's particularly uncommon, I guess.  (Also, this live version seems way faster than the album version.  Who knows.)

Anyways, I should get to bed.  I'm in Delaware right now staying at a fellow BVSer's house as part of an extended journey home -- I get to sleep in(!) and then we're probably going to the beach tomorrow afternoon.  Good times.

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