Lessons and Challenges

December 13th, 2013

It just dawned on me that I’m doing a weekly update on Friday the 13th in the year 2013 for Chapter 13. Good Lord, I hope that’s not a dark omen.

It’s a bit unusual for me to have a great deal of confidence that I’m on the right track when I start work on a given Chapter. As an example, the only installment so far that I knew from the outset exactly what was going to happen was Chapter 7. That one came from a place inside me I still can’t pinpoint. It was the one time the muses took pity and spoke to me unequivocally. I’m cautiously optimistic that I know how Chapter 13 is going to play out.

I’ve been doing a lot of the necessary research this week that I’ll need to tackle Chapter 13. This is going to be a very challenging chapter for me. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and into, for me, uncharted territory. It’s likely to be a very abstract chapter. I don’t want to get into too much detail, because I’ve been tricked before by the puckish Calliope and Erato, and I would not be shocked to discover, early confidence not withstanding, that they’ve led me down a dead-end once again.

This research is quite different from the work I did making sense of the legal system as it pertained to custody issues. It’s a mix of the concrete and the artistic. I basically have to give myself a lesson in Art 101 when I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, and along those lines, a lesson in Music Appreciation 101 when I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Thank God for the old Leonard Bernstein informal lessons available on YouTube

Abstracts, abstracts (My apologies to William Faulkner’s ghost)! Most art is inherently abstract in that, while it may take a concrete form – a novel, a symphony, or a painting – it’s expressing something that does not exist in an inherently physical way. This story, for example: it exists only in my mind, which I translate into words for you to read, where it then exists in your mind. The abstracts I’m facing in writing Chapter 13 are even more transcendental than the ordinary abstractness of art. How do you describe a color in words? A series of musical notes? Challenges indeed.

So, I have to go back to school to learn about things I’ve only experienced indirectly. I love a Winslow Homer watercolor, but I have no idea how he painted it. I love a piano concerto, but I don’t know a B flat from an F sharp. I have to at least grasp those things on a basic level or I’ll fall flat on my face trying to convey the images I see in my head to you in a coherent way. I watch with a sense of awe when my wife studies pharmacodynamics for her Master’s Degree, and all those invisible molecules and the way they move and mate makes sense to her. Like Laci, I still can’t wrap my head around the abstract concept that you can divide zero by a number, but you can’t divide a number by zero. Thank God the only math in the story is Laci’s loathing of it.

I don’t want to go too far out on a limb here, but it might be a good idea, while you wait for me to navigate the various goat trails in my head to produce a completed Chapter 13, to familiarize yourself with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the Ode To Joy. I have a suspicion it’ll be time well spent.

Sorry to go all metaphysical on you, but the Mind of Letoria can be a very odd and cluttered thing at times.

I hope everyone’s Holiday/Christmas plans are progressing nicely. As I grow older, what matters most is having those I love and cherish by my side, swapping simple gifts and ample love.