Sunday, January 23, 2011

My dearests, just checking in this evening, no poetry in me tonight. I started off the weekend with a bang in my book, actually remembering a dream from overnight, writing it down right away, and finding that it quite naturally worked itself into a poem. I have to say I'm quite pleased with it. I did work on it some, but not all that much really - just yesterday morning, and no post-publishing edits either. Anyway. That was an unusual experience for me, but I'm getting so much practice, blogging daily, that perhaps I'm just starting to get better at it, maybe I'm crossing into another zone. God knows that never happened with my piano playing, but maybe I didn't practice enough.

Up in the aerie, aroma of peach crostata fresh from the oven wafting upstairs. Dinner will be steak, salad, and baked potato. Women of Note is on, but uncharacteristically I'm not listening to it, I can't seem to write with the radio on anymore. Had a very enjoyable weekend. Yesterday afternoon I attended a one-off workshop in a cappella polyphonic choral singing, led by a very spirited trio and attended by about 15 others, including myself. None of the music was all that simple - a swinging round, a 19th century American vernacular "shape note" hymn, followed by a Georgian (as in Republic of Georgia) antiphonal wedding chant that we all sang - in Georgian! The two-hour session was capped off with a multivoiced South African song. Darlings - it was amazing. I've heard music like that, such as on Graceland, this exuberant, sonorous, rhythmic, joyous sound. But it's quite another thing to be in the midst of performing such a piece. The trio taught us the song (the words written on large pinned-up sheets of paper) in the South African language (Afrikaans I guess), taught us pronunciations of sounds such as tongue-clicks that I found very hard to do (as I did the Georgian throaty, guttural chs), not to mention the different parts - soprano/tenor, alto, bass. On top of all that? Dance moves!!! I kid you not. We weren't quite ready for Broadway after the half-hour crash course - but man, we looked pretty good, the group of us in (semi)unison doing a choreographed routine including some very hip, cool steps that I wouldn't mind sneaking into my personal dance move repertoire.

I thought of you, dearest 3.0, from when we were all together at the train station on that snowy night and you all spontaneously broke into that Polish rap-chant. Encountering the Georgian wedding song reminded me of it, the sound was similar - same idea - polyphonic vernacular a cappella song.

Amazing though, the difference between listening to music - no matter how engaged one might feel in the listening - as opposed to actively participating in making the sound. It's a completely different experience. Really, I can hardly get over it - we credibly sang a very complex South African song, split in many voices, with whoops and drones and rich harmonies, in the native language, and with authentic moves along with it!

For today I was a bit torn - attend a book-signing of a celebrated chef who's written a cookbook that simplifies Indian cooking - and I love Indian food. But this was a number of miles away, on the eastern side of the county. (And it is just so so cold out - single digits or low teens, dropping well below zero at night.) Or attend a presentation of short artistic films on the subject of vanishing animal species, along with a talk by an expert on honeybees and beekeeping. I chose the latter - close to home, and something that in the end I thought maybe I "should" see. I can't say that I got all that much out of the films - beautifully done, technically proficient I'm sure, but I wasn't particularly moved by them (not yet anyway, sometimes images have to sink in or connect with something else - later).

But I was very glad to hear the bee expert. He loves bees, he knows bees, he knows everything about bees, he is a spokesman for bees. He spoke with great natural enthusiasm, and I learned more from hearing him field questions for half an hour, than I have in reading any account of bees (often dry on paper however fascinating the subject and dire the scenario, an impetus thus, perhaps, for the films - empathic shiftings of points of view, to jumpstart awareness).

I don't plan to keep bees but feel that I will, come spring, look at my garden in a new way, from the perspective of providing a delightful diversity of nutritious flowers of which amazing bees - upon which our very existence depends - may sustain themselves...

I am loving you very much and hope that you are happy and having a nice time and that things are going well. Very, very many kisses. XOXO

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