Sunday, October 11, 2015

Playing Chopin with No Sheet Music and Other Inspirations

Last night, we went to hear the Symphony play Chopin--the pianist, who was also my spouse's Music Theory teacher, played from memory.  When she wasn't playing, she moved a bit with the music.  At first, I worried that she might be ill.  Then I realized that she had practiced so much that the music had become part of her.

As I watched her play with no sheet music, I wondered how we can all internalize our art this way.  How can we physicalize our art, if it's not a physical art?  Or is memorization the key?

I thought about one of my writer friends in South Carolina, who can still recite poems that she learned throughout her school years.  She memorized them years ago, and thus, they can never be taken away from her.

I've also been thinking about the Russian woman who won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday--the first journalist to win this most prestigious award.  I've been thinking about displaced people, since one of her most famous works deals with Chernobyl.  As I drove around the city on Thursday listening to commentators, I thought about how wonderful it is that literary prizes are still deemed newsworthy.  I loved that it was her writing that was discussed.

And although I have to hunt hard some days to find it, I'm glad that the Internet provides this kind of ongoing conversation about writing and artistic works.  I find it in a variety of places:  newspapers that are available online, NPR stories, and the various posts from Facebook friends who are writers and other artists.

If Svetlana Alexievich hadn't won the Nobel Prize, would we be revisiting Chernobyl?   I listened to this NPR story about how wildlife is thriving in the 30 kilometer wide containment zone around Chernobyl.

I thought of containment zones and other catastrophes.  Would it be easier to leave one's homeplace if it just stopped existing?  Would it be harder if one's homeland existed, but one was not allowed back in?  I have the glimmerings of a short story.

I also continue to be fascinated by the pre-dawn sky.  This morning, I saw Mercury, just to the left of the moon:

I wrote another poem this morning.  It was inspired by my act of writing a grocery list over a map of the sky.  It may be unfinished, or it may not.  I thought of the woman yesterday who walked her dog as I stood in the street, gaping at the sky.  I said to her, "Look at that moon."  I wanted to signal that I was not some crazy person.  She hurried along, not looking at the sky.  Metaphor?  Unsure.

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