Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I was really looking forward to writing-through the fifth Cello Suite by Bach tonight, but I just got back from a men's Parcheesi club night that a friend hosts at his house, and as it was the anniversary of the club, and as Parcheesi originally was an Indian game, we had Indian food, mostly cooked by an excellent cook who had lived in India, a junior high friend through whom I met the host. I cooked something from a vegetarian Asian cookbook by an Indian writer who later acted in a Louis Malle film. Everything was delicious.

The game was epic -- one for the annals. Aaron, who had never won in the three years of the club, got way out ahead but couldn't get the roll he needed to win. He rolled futilely for several turns until finally three of the four people were one spot away from winning, and the fourth wasn't far behind. I was relieved when Aaron won. It was only my third time at the club, and I had won my first night out. I was trying to win, but would have felt bad if I had.

Too tired to write through Bach tonight. Music remains immense, bigger than we know.

* * *

Update 12:15 AM, Friday. A little bedtime reading, Octavio Paz’s 1977 essay on his slightly elder forerunner in Mexican poetry Xavier Villaurrutia; was struck by this quote (translated by Esther Allen): “In modern times poetry is not, nor can it be, more than an underground cult, a ceremony in the catacombs.” Mass media changed the arts fundamentally. With mass media, people had much meatier access to dedicated aesthetic experience. Artists working in the traditional genres could not help but change their art.

Struck by Paz’s imagery around caves and burial places, placing poetry as the mediator between life and death, throwing poetry onto the religious.

Paz’s remarks on death in the essay resonated for me (I’m thinking of setting it to music): “Confronted with what says nothing, we can say nothing. Death is the universal non-significance, the great refutation of our languages and our reasonings.”

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