March Madness?

I just came across this quote in the February 2007 issue of The Writer magazine:

“I can’t write quickly. If I could write a book a year and maintain the same quality, I’d be happy. I’d love to write a book a year, but I don’t think I’d have any fans.” Donna Tartt, as quoted in the London Sunday Times

I’ve seen the work of many a hack who publishes pounds of fish-wrap in short order, but there are those writers — and bloggers — who can, and do, churn out what seems to me to be massive amounts of high-quality prose in short time-frames. (TT comes to mind.) I am not so consistent, though when I know what I want to say it does come more quickly and with greater ease. My delays are usually caused by a slow-down in thinking more so than hand-cramps. Either I haven’t worked “it” out yet or I haven’t even had time to think about it. When it comes to blogging, it is usually the latter.

Were I to dare call my writings “art,” I might invoke these words by Glenn Gould

“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” — from his 1962 essay Let’s Ban Applause!

implying that gradual construction might apply to the creation as well as the resultant experience.

In any case, I am sorry to be so often missing-in-action from the blogosphere, but it’s certainly not for laziness or lack of interest. I think about it daily and often dash off the beginning lines of a post or file away a note of interest for later…then later gets delayed. I also keep intending, and forgetting, to respond to blog comments. I’m not sure, though, whether I should respond with a comment myself, or in a new post. So here are a few aggregated thoughts:

1) In a post about Erroll Garner I excerpted John’s story about playing on Erroll’s very first recording. I distinctly remember someone commenting that the album John spoke of was not Erroll’s “first recording”, and not even the first with John playing bass with him. I can’t for the life of me find the posted comment (maybe it was removed by the sender) or perhaps it was email that I can’t find, but I did intend to answer it. The sender (I don’t remember who it was) made reference to an earlier recording in connection with Timme Rosenkrantz. According to John, who qualifies as a primary source, after hours lots of musicians would hang out at Timme and Inez’s home, jamming. Some may have been aware at the time, others not, that Timme was taping them, but they certainly weren’t “making a record” for release. So while someone mayhave captured Erroll on tape before then, it is John’s opinion that Erroll Garner’s first intended, or official, or professional recording was made for Savoy Records on September 25, 1945.

2) Under the Art & Music post about Ted Nash’s new suite, my mother commented that back in 1993 my dad recorded “Dedications and Inspirations,” a CD with three pieces inspired by Miro, Matisse, and Monet. True, but Dad does not claim to be the first. While interesting, published discogrphies are not always 100% accurate. I do not own, nor have I heard, any of the following, so I share these results of a quick discographic database search with the usual caveat lector warning.

— a 1968 recording by Astrud Gilberto with unknown accompaniment with the title “Lillies by Monet”
— German pianist Siegfried Kessler’s 1976 recording Les Mots Sont De La Musique that includes “La femme en blue d’Henri Matisse”
— a 1987 solo piano recording titled “Water Lilies: Richie Beirach Plays Musical Portraits Of Claude Monet”
— “Homage To Joan Miro” by the Emil Viklicky Quartet recorded in Prague, 1987
— Slalom, a 1988 recording by Jane Ira Bloom with Fred Hersch in piano that includes two tracks “Painting over Paris” and “Miro”  

Tangentially, I’d like to add that I have long been fascinated by the interplay of the arts, especially artists who themselves are multi-talented, people like Tony Bennett and Miles Davis And not just musician/painters, works by actor/painters such as Martin Mull, Richard Chamberlain, Gene Hackman, and Sylvester Stallone have also been sold at charity auctions and at galleries.

3) In Your Eye would have been the title of my response to TT’s first posting from Los Angeles. I had planned to tell him that the majority of us who live in what is loosely called L.A. do not live in any of the places he mentioned — many live “in town” which includes the Wilshire district and the increasingly popular downtown L.A., but even more of us live in other towns, from San Pedro to Pasadena, to Thousand Oaks and beyond. I also wanted him to know that in my nearly 30 years of living out here on the left Coast I have never, ever, dined at an In-N-Out Burger, and I set foot in Westwood as seldom as possible. So when he writes, “I’d say that was a real Los Angeles evening, wouldn’t you?” I would have to reply, “not hardly.”

I’d call my disappearing act March Madness but it’s been going on for months now and, as I steadfastly refuse to give up on trying to multi-task, it may be a persistent on-again off-again condition. If you’re reading this, it means that you have been hanging in there with me, for which I thank you very much.  (Of course, you could be a brand new reader of DevraDoWrite and I may have just scared you off….).  I’ll be back as soon, and as often, as I can.

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