Hold It All


Category: Notes

The Gradual, Lifelong Construction of a State of Wonder and Serenity

On Tim Page, Glenn Gould: A Life in Pictures

This is a book in celebration of what would have been GG’s 70th birthday; it’s a short book, consisting overwhelmingly of photos of the eccentric, the genius all the time, the night-owl who worked till dawn, the despiser of concerts and touring, the glutton of weak tea, the telephoner sans pareil especially at odd early morning hours, the relationship control freak, the one whose Bach keyboard work on 10 CDs brought me out of the dark space of Mahler mourning that I had immersed myself in after the death of Mev.

Here is an example of a perfect sentence by Gould fan Tim Page: “No matter how one chose to define that extra, ur-Gouldian dimension—as expressive urgency, brainy intensity, spiritual seeking, nervous energy or some combination of all these and more—it was ever present in his best performances, which could have been by no other artist.” [14]   And this one: “He was witty, kindly, energetic and intensely interested, and extended an instant camaraderie to anybody whose company, telephonic or otherwise, he enjoyed.” [37] Read the rest of this entry »

Austere, Moral, Mythic, Ceremonial

Thursday 31 October 2013


A while back I read this collection, Sartre on Theater, and I noted especially the following passages from his lectures, interviews, and articles. I want to share them with you, since you are thinking about theater much of your waking hours–on the trains and buses, the Harlem streets, before you fall asleep, as you daydream about the projects you could do in Saint Louis (perhaps put on a production of The Condemned of Altona?), as you organize other people’s chaos (a miracle before their amazed eyes), and as you remember that handful of NY performances that matter most to you–as actor, audience member, citizen, human being. Read the rest of this entry »

Appreciating Arthur Waley

for my multilingual friends and lovers of literature

Notes on Ivan Morris, ed., Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation and Anthology of Arthur Waley

Related Books
Ezra Pound, The ABC of Reading; Anne-Marie Schimmel, A Life of Learning; Susan Sontag, At the Same Time; Eliot Weinberger, Written Reaction;

See Also
Annping Chin, The Authentic Confucius; Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China;

I read this book at the same time I was reading Winchester’s take on Jojo Needham and Chin’s Schweitzer-esque quest for the historical Confucius.  Waley sounds like a  mensch (I found out he was Jewish): polyglot, intellectually ablaze, taciturn, practitioner of the Sufi-three-gate rule (my imagination anyway), and an indefatigable, assiduous, and laser-like scholar.

What I wish to note below are three areas: (1) About Waley himself; (2) some brief cullings and fave poems from his works; and (3) books of his I want to (re)read at some point in the next few years. Read the rest of this entry »

January 1997 Notes on Thây’s “Cultivating the Mind of Love”

Thich Nhat Hanh. Cultivating the Mind of Love: The Practice of Looking Deeply in the Mayahana Buddhist Tradition.

“The best way to touch the Buddha — not to look for a person, a non-person, a name, a characteristic, prestige, or a tradition, but to observe our own mind and see how it functions.”

In “Dharma Rain,” he distinguishes between store consciousness and mind consciousness and encourages us to water the seeds of goodness and love in our store consciousness, for there the Buddha is already to be found.  The Dharma rain can nourish these seeds, if I am awake to them all around (cat is Buddha!).

In “First Love,” he  shares some of his early, formative experiences about wanting to be a monk and  his Joycean vision of the young nun when he was 24. Read the rest of this entry »

Walk Out Walk On

One friend is increasingly bored and dissatisfied with her Christian Sunday church services.

Another left her job of teaching 175 high school students a year in the public school system to volunteer for three months teaching in the Palestinian West Bank. She’s now happily using her foreign language skills to work with the parents of youth in the school system.

A third is a medical student about to graduate who is worried that the grind of an upcoming residency may obstruct his vision of the kind of humanistic medicine he really wants to pursue. Read the rest of this entry »