Praise

Quarter of five. I feel pretty good right now. It’s cloudy and yet still bright outside. The thought occasionally rises to me that I love music, for music is the experience of feeling. I can hear a scene from Spartacus in my mind, a piece by Khachaturian, so sensuous and lush, quite voluptuous. And the origin of this word is Voluptas, meaning Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche as related in The Golden Ass, and again in Marius the Epicurean by Walter Pater. I doubt if my mother was familiar with Pater, but she might’ve gotten a similar notion from reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone when she was in her thirties. I probably don’t even need to read it to know its philosophy. My mother absorbed it and lived it— embodied the book… I could be wrong about that. I only remember how I felt when my siblings and I unearthed the book in a trunk of Mom’s things after she passed away. The fact is that she was not very philosophical, even in an aesthetic way. She had trouble with abstractions and understood everything literally. So, it doesn’t make much sense to discuss her “belief system,” or to puzzle it out behind her back. Most likely there was no ideology to my mother at all. In this regard, she and music had something in common. Her life was a bit like reading “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe: all sound without sense. To say that she was “aesthetic” would miss the point. She was the sound of music itself… 

Early Morning Mid March

Six thirty.

I got a very nice email from my pen pal who lives in Texas. And it occurred to me what I really like about her: it’s her endless curiosity and desire to learn new things, without having a bias that would exclude any new discoveries. That is, her mind is totally open and unprejudiced. So it’s always a treat to hear from her every morning. The world could use more people as wonderful as she is… The sun won’t come up for another half hour, and until then it’s black as ink outside. I hear an airline jet crossing the heavens overhead. It hasn’t been announced yet how people on disability income are getting their stimulus checks, but I’m sure it will be very fair and right. The weather yesterday afternoon was beautiful— almost too much stimulation for me, tipping me into alcoholic cravings. I saw the headline about the shooting of Asian people in Atlanta and frowned in sympathy for the victims and all the people of color who would be concerned. Someday in a perfect world… but we’re still very far from that. The best we can do is keep educating ourselves and never stop learning. I’ve been awake since three thirty this morning; my daily rhythms are rather mixed up, so that I’m sleeping for part of the daytime and up a lot of the night. I guess I could read a book to pass the time. I really appreciate it when other bloggers take the time to actually read my posts. It means that my followers are sincere and genuine. Now I see the first gray light of dawn, and very soon the sun will clear the roofline across the street from my house: a dawn of potential, as is the promise of every new day. 

Aesop

Wee hours.

Aesop and I get along much better when I communicate with him. I can tell him verbally what is going on and he is reassured. I swear he knows how to count the minutes. During a bass practice, I will give Aesop the countdown in the minutes remaining, and he understands. Then, after it’s over, I give him a treat. He is easily the smartest canine I’ve ever owned. The way we’ve figured out a life together is a bit unconventional, yet it’s very rational and works for us. I hardly think of Aesop as just a dog, for his intelligence makes him a personality in his own right. He responds to situations and judges them on their own merits. His breed is Australian cattle dog, but to me, he is simply Aesop… Probably this noon hour I will make a special trip to Bi Mart for his treats. And I will let him know where I am going in advance, and how long I’ll be gone— and he will comprehend. Then he will wait patiently for me to return, never disturbing my stuff around the house. In my life, Aesop has gone from a curse to a veritable blessing the longer I am in recovery.

Treasures

Quarter of midnight. The lesson I cannot overemphasize is to believe in your own judgment. The only faith you’ll ever need is faith in your reason and your senses. And if, in the case of madness, your mind betrays you, then don’t forsake your heart. Courage resides there when everything else has deserted you…

Poking around in a stack of CDs, I uncovered another unexpected treasure: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater. Now I should have two of their albums. The one in question I remember being a lot like Kansas in lyric concept: the quest for truth, both particular and general. John Myung is a good bass player, though his lines tend to coincide with the guitar riffs. I like Geddy Lee better because his bass phrases often stand apart from what the guitar is doing. It is a strong, independent voice in the mix. I can remember how, twenty years ago, the Myung Yamaha six string bass was on sale for under seven hundred dollars from Musician’s Friend. I avoided it because my hands are too small to manipulate a six string neck, plus that neck would be super heavy. Still, I can imagine worse ways to spend such a sum on a beautiful Japanese made instrument. It was turquoise, as I recall. The flagship bass of the RBX series. I do regret that I didn’t get one. Anyhow, I can listen to it on Dream Theater albums— and be thankful for the things I have.