Let There Be (More) Light!
My neighbor across the brief stretch of woods to the east has mounted two bright spotlights which flood into the woods and which are visible from my den window. With increased traffic on the street a block away and more and more light, I am living in city conditions, without the attendant opportunities, and so far, problems.
The Last Days of Winter.
What will these last two and a half weeks of winter bring? March came in like a lamb, for sure. March,in which spring arrives, the month of surprises, is probably not going to disappoint.
At Duke Performances. Piano Recital Series.
This year, when I have heard performances of pieces I have played, either in performance or as lessons in a studio–a Scriabin prelude, and sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven–I wish that could play again. Closely following the feeling of regret is a feeling of thankfulness that I, as an amateur pianist, could for decades incorporate into my life much sublime and great music.
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction. Ariel Levy, The Best American Essays, 2015. Mariner, 2015.
Levy chose twenty-two essays as best of the year. The best (my favorite) is Roger Angell’s “This Old Man,” a contemplation of growing old. Disturbing essays include Kelly Sundberg’s “It Will Look Like a Sunset,” title referring to bruises from domestic abuse, Ashraf H.A. Rushdy’s “Reflections on Indexing My Lynching Book,” and John Reed’s “My Grandmother the Poisoner.” Especially thought-provoking are Margo Jefferson’s “Scenes from a Life in Negroland,” about identity, and Tim Kreider’s “A Man and His Cat” about the effects of owning pets. There is David Sedaris’s “Stepping Out,” his latest inanity posing, I suppose, as some kind of social commentary. (He has written nothing better than the essay which propelled him to fame, “The Santaland Diaries,” which is unparalleled.)
Quotations from Readings:
“The dead have departed, but gestures and glances and tones of voices of theirs, even scraps of clothing. . . reappear unexpectedly, along with accompanying touches of sweetness or irritation.” (Roger Angell, “This Old Man,” in Levy, above)
“The freedom of the individual has been reduced to a right of belligerent ignorance coupled with devotion to a particular reading of the Second Amendment.” (Marilynne Robinson, “Saving Our Public Universities,” Harper’s, March, 2016.)