Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why do we like things?

There are things we like.


The larger collective. Things that last. Classics.  Things that Last. Books you want people to notice you are reading. But why?

Why do we like things?

Why this one and not that one?

I used to sit in halls of the music building talking with my friends. We would learn something on Monday and Tuesday it would be our most ardent passion. Bach's Goldberg Variations? the complexity! Bartok's work in ethnomusicology? seminal! I dream of doing similar work with the folk songs in our area! We would sit in those halls, eating bag lunches and trying out the language we were learning. We knew we wanted to play the big pieces for the same reasons that four year olds want to wear high heels. We were playing musical dress up. 

We were learning what to say. If we ran up against something we were pretty sure we should have known, but didn't (Brahms was in love with Clara Schumann...yeah, scandalous!!), we would try very hard to make sure no one ever found out. 

But even through all the bluster, there are things that stick because you feel them in your bones. The ones that you know will haunt you deliciously for the rest of your life. Like a meal so good you will go through the pointless and frustrating act of telling someone about it. It won't bring it back and now they want it too. 

I was a freshman, sitting in a room meant for singing, scribbling down notes on 20th century music. Our professor was telling us we would be watching a performance of Sunday in the Park with George, a musical by Stephen Sondheim on Thursday night at 9:00. Or maybe Friday. Or Sunday. Let's say Sunday; it's more poetic. I had no idea who Sondheim was and I was pretty ambivalent about musical theater but I was absolutely fanatical about extra credit. 

I have never forgotten sitting in that room meant for singing, watching a movie of a play. It is embarrassing how much I loved it. But the hat! Look! He made a hat.

I just started reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. The people. She makes people! They speak and struggle and wonder and think. She made a man. Where there never was a man! And I know. This one will stay.

Why do these things stay? I don't know. I don't care, but they are part of a more beautiful life.

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