Thursday, February 24, 2005

Writing Is Like Trying To Talk Without Using Your Hands

I have spent three days trying to write a short essay on medieval liturgy and church architecture, which probably shouldn't have been such an ordeal because I've studied this sort of thing most of my life.

Maybe the problem was that it really needed to be something short. Maybe it was that it's hard for me to talk about the subject without sounding a bit "flakey". Maybe I'm just so passionate about the subject of "sacred space" that it's hard for me to put it into words.

After three pages of notes on light, mass, sound and a short physics rant, I gave up and did laundry, washed dishes and put my mind on cruise control. Things weren't getting any easier.

So, this morning, I started over from scratch.

I said a quick prayer: "Please, help me not sound like a flake". I took out my stash of cathedral photos, popped a medieval polyphony cd on the player and started to write. I didn't stop to think about what I was writing. I just wrote.

Sometimes, it's hard to put enough distance between yourself and your subject to let the writing flow. Or the art. Or the science...math...problem solving...physics...theology...what have you. It's easy to overthink the problem. And very difficult to stay out of your own way.

I'm not saying that my essay is likely to win any prizes But I'm satisfied that I managed to articulate my major points without wandering too far afield. And now I've got that little prayer written on the inside of my notebook cover:

"Please, help me not sound like a flake."


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Play "I Want To Know"

I see Dr. Gene Scott has passed away at age 75.

If you never caught Dr. Scott in action, then you certainly never found yourself awake at three in the morning, during the late seventies and early eighties.

I suppose that you could call him a televangelist. But he had a unique wackiness about him that was very entertaining - especially in the small hours of the morning. And he refused to take donations from viewers unless they had learned something from his teaching - teaching which included UFOs and the Great Pyramid, among other things.

Eccentric would be a nice way of describing him. Full of **** is probably another - and more accurate.

But late, late night programming has yet to offer up anything or anyone else quite like him!

So, bon voyage, Dr Gene!

Now, play "I Want To Know"!

Studio Notes

Over the years, I've run across quite a few articles that suggest that artists need look no further than their own back gardens for inspiration.

I've just spent the morning sketching the view from the bedroom window - a shallow, suburban strip of mulch and scrub with a woodpile and an overturned wheelbarrow.

Those people who advise artists to sketch their own backyards have obviously not seen mine.

Actually, two hours drawing a rotting woodpile in pencil is an interesting exercise. Since it's February, everything is pretty much monochromatic anyway. So, I've mostly been studying the various shades of grey.

But, as I've been working, I've noticed tendrils of new vines and - here and there - a few tentative leaves.

In a few short weeks, the view from this window will be drastically different - a study in greens instead of greys.