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April 28, 2008


Great post, Anna. I think over the years there have been a few things that have caught my eye in that I considered blogging about them, but hesitated for the reasons you bring up early on - isn't *** a literary blog? The Wire comes to mind as brillant storytelling that I've avoided blogging about. And a couple of attended openings at art galleries as well. The only time I've succumbed is a post about Johnny Cash after American Recordings V came out, but in retrospect, they all could easily have been blogged about and fit in pretty well under the guise you've created here. And enjoyable so, to date.

It's funny; I started this website on the very premise of wanting to not segregate my interests (that is, literary and social justice interests), but rather wanting to look into the common ground they share. And I've come to find new ways of dividing myself up!

By the way, if your moved to write about the Wire, I'll be curious what you have to say. Haven't seen the show myself (lack of access), but I've read about it and it seems fascinating.

Have your youtube searchings turned up Ronald Jenkees? To me, there's another, very mysterious type of storytelling going on there, a live performance in one's own bedroom broadcast to thousands, and I for one, am left wondering, where did this guy come from? I'll try to paste in a link to my favorite video of his. He also has his own channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEcckX1kHWI

I haven't yet, but you can bet I'll go looking. Thanks for the tip...

I'm glad you included one musical example without lyrics (the guitar solo). But geez, couldn't you at least google check the Leonard Cohen quote (it's "minor fall, major lift") or spellcheck the one (one!) musical term you used (counterpoint) as you mocked its usage?

I fully support and encourage the spirit of what you're saying here - that how much we know about an art form doesn't change how much it can move us, or whether or not we have something relevant to say about it.

Language is an inherently flawed medium for discussing sound, and that's a problem with which all writers struggle. But just because we don't have all the vocabulary to describe something doesn't mean we shouldn't ask ourselves why we like it and what makes it good. Hopefully, these are not an academic questions. Hopefully, they lead us to an even greater appreciation and understanding of the things we love.

I had hoped it was apparent that I was making a joke, with myself as the subject, by intentionally messing up the Cohen quote. As far as spellcheck, I'm sure you'll allow for room for a gal to make a mistype and to happily correct it when it's pointed out to her.

My sentiments here aren't about not examining why I do or do not like any art form. We seem to agree that spending time with something and questioning why it makes you feel what you feel leads to a deeper appreciation that can be gotten no other way. And I understand that a particular vocabulary helps articulate that--it's the reason that vocabulary exists. I experience this with literary matters all the time.

The thrust of what I was trying to say here is that that kind of deeper appreciation and questioning can be cut off if a person feels that she or he can't participate in a conversation about, say, a piece of music in validated way *unless* this vocabulary is already had (or "expert" status is earned in another way)

I wanted to make an argument against specialties, to speak in favor of validating our experiences and our capacity for deeper appreciation in a range of forms, regardless of our formal experience with it. As you say, we agree on this too.

Forgive me if I'm misinterpreting your tone but it sounds like you are appalled that I would use "one (one!) musical term," which, frankly, is just the kind of attitude that limits the possibilities of our conversation by making people feel unwelcome in it. In my post, I wasn't mocking the term itself, but the use of it to silence others with different levels of formal knowledge. And I feel like that's just what's been done here in your comment.

You say that you hope questioning our reactions to a piece of art isn't inherently academic; I do too. But in this post, as I tried to make a move into just that, you seem to be telling me that I wrote about music "wrong" because I misspelled a musical term, didn't write more about music that didn't have lyrics, and (it was presumed erroneously) mixed up a quote. That implies to me that I'm being told that I'm not qualified to talk about music, and, as I articulate in this post, I revolt against the notion.

Ouch - that hurts.
I think I'll respond via live voice not text.

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  • Isak is a space to celebrate tales and truth in the curious, joyful way embodied by the writer for which it is named. The name "Isak," after all, means "laughter," as she was fond of pointing out.

    By tales, I mean fiction (especially short fiction), as well as other literary and artistic narratives. By truth, I mean the world in which we live. I especially have my eye on creative social justice.

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