Today we have a minimalist menu for you to choose from (or pig out on) three short pieces of layer-work.
Minimalist Week: A series in which I prove how clever, right or the genuine article I am in short and topical writings.
*Minimalist Week Day 3. Piece 1: a musical comparison in “Let’s Get Curious”
*Minimalist Week Day 3. Piece 2: a musical musing on ”Music Theory”
*Minimalist Week Day 3. Piece 3: an analysis on how we have lost the melody; “Inspired by “The Milkman” by Anna Burns”; another stab at defining Autism.
Minimalist Week Day 3. Piece 1.
Let’s Get Curious
There is all kinds of curious. Bi-curious, curious creatures, curiosity that killed the cat or filled a shop, and the 14th century kind which was “subtle, sophisticated”. In autism there is no room for curious. Nosey yes, paranoia, most certainly. But being curious is an art of the heart rather than the head. In Piece 3. I use a description of a very generic mood in Anna Burns in her “Milkman” to examine the curtain falling on this curiosity and the heart is made to sit in the numbing dark.
Curious is to take an interest, which is the farthest thing from taking, really. It is to be present and to pay (give!) attention. One does not listen to learn. One does not approach to advise. You put your self in the inbetween, the difference of I and you (I-2 [two]). Just step into the word to feel it: Inter+essere= to be (essere) inbetween. You dare to leave yourself, like stepping out of doors. It doesn’t have to lead to a complete seeing eye to eye but it creates an I and I-too; me and you, or actually, I and I-am-also-you.
From Thomas Merton on Contemplation
This is when counting backwards comes in handy, with the I that comes after me is the one to know me. Taking an interest, being curious (sharing a moment of I-ness) is a quintessential (amino-acid like) building block for the human race. Have more of them as your daily intake!
And so it goes.
Let us compare some other meetings in the art of layering.
If Jazz is a word for improvisation through dialogue (each member of a band talking to each other member, sometimes simultaneously) then on this record the interchanges penetrate the walls of multiple dimensions.
More on the line-up on Hendrix in Jazz – worth sending you there for the Francis Lockwood Trio alone (we old people ain’t dead, yet, and we know where to find the best young guns), but the covers are very varied, with neo-bop to funk and fusion and even latin musicians replaying them.
I don’t know Jimmy Hendrix’s whole repertoire very well. A song (often a remake) will come on and I will recognise it but now I’ve been paying attention to the above album (or CD in my case), I disover “Red House” is not a John Lee Hooker original (who already had caused me to believe it wasn’t the volcanic Johnny Winter’s either); neither is “Up From The Skies” by Rickie Lee Jones originally! It was a sizzling find to hear this remake and discover at the same time it, too, is a Jimmy Hendrix song. Was this man a genius or something!? To hear this song yesterday added another layer by taking me back to the days in Barcelona, where I found a tape by this Rickie Lee in a shop selling mainly heavy metal. And so it goes, adding to the many, many strings this puppeteer is already untangling. [The theory for this in Piece 2.]
I propose this song (in any version) as the Steemit themesong. Take your pick (two here, loads more elsewhere).
Or the original by Hendrix you are all sure to have ready access to if you’ve got this far in the post.
End Reminder: I am so curious, thát inquisitive, that it is always too much for everone. It makes me a curious creature. Possibly “odd or strange” as the etymological dictionary forewarns you. However, never forget the word stems from care.
Photo credit unrequired, taken from Pixabay, but the cat’s paw is by KirsiV
Minimalist Week Day 3. Piece 2
and Cuban doublebassist, Damian Nueva.
Every life revolves around a central theme. All of life is an symphony, played by many orcestras, like a daisy composed of many tiny flowers to form one inflorescence. How many themes are there? How many orchestras are their in the hall of life to make up one cosmic composition?
Does joining a choir, like say Steemit, necessarily change your timbre? Will you then define or be defined by the choral arrangement? Every experience modifies. Voices change over time. People cross over into different genres. But the key in which your life is best played is the one you gravitate to time after time. It might not always be a C major, full of life and upwards mobility. It could be a D minor. Just play it well.
Convening with this sense of line, are the notes that stick out as prompts. The 11:11 o’clock when you check the time. And the 11:21 when you know that then it was time. Seldom do we hear, do we stand in the music, entirely surrounded, entirely submerged. There is often a delay, which lays down a pattern (which music ought not sound like, it just helps you learn to play it better). These are the deja vûs, the coincidences, the je ne sais quoi, Fingerspitzen Gefühl moments that help you find your pitch.
There are phases in one’s life when everything about one’s person seems to hone in on a purpose that must be accomplished; a target that must be met. Take pregnancy, for example. Once you are with child you’ll see preganant women everywhere you go. These women instantly vanish after you have given birth. By fifty you seldom see a pregnant woman, at all. Are any babies being born anymore?!
The recurring theme can become a bore. A broken record playing nothing new. But you have to stay in tune and modulate accordingly. The longer the thematic line the farther the extent of reform. Enjoy the variations; each individal gives another opportunity to harmonise. Or be dissonant to. And so Jazz was born (out of much precursory exploration, ever since contrapuntal was unlocked).
Since life is practically speaking a set of exercises by which one progresses in degree, we must play till we drop. Chet Baker at least got that right. Practice your set of preludes and fugues. May we go about our exercises well-tempered always.
Minimalist Week Day 3. Piece 3
Inspired by “The Milkman” by Anna Burns
The audiobook narrator lilts out “The Milkman” for me in a heavy Northern Irish accent which fits the first-person narrator of the novel perfectly, it seems to me. I trundle along the dreary streets where the young protagonist is direly misundersood, not least of all for being a woman.
I am not very far into the book, yet, (I need to alternate it with something more surreal like “The Master and Margarita” or something more plain sailing like Auster’s “4321”) but roughly three and three-quarter hours into it, I have to pause and take down careful notes. Here is language I can use.
The Inner Voice of the narrator (known as Middle Sister) gives us her interpretation of the killing of the dog in Hitchcock’s Rear Window (which contains a great plaintive against the lack of neighbourliness in the neighbours). What is so wonderful to me personally about her interpretation, which she pushes to one side immediately as having any bearing on the film actually, is that she not only describes her “Da”, but the core (collective and personal) quality of giving up on mankind, which is the origin of Autism as a modern Disorder of the Collective State of Soul. To individuals directly affected by it on a mentally impairing level, this causes a pathological emphasis on staying safe – which means sitting in the dark. The shining is turned off. The colours fade. The heart goes blind.
They killed it, she analyses, because “they couldn’t cope with being liked, . . . with innocence, frankness, openness, with defencelessness, and an affection, and a purity so pure, so affectionate… they couldn’t bear it.” In my own layering upon her words (which mean to say nothing at all on the topic of Autism!), I see her identification of the “Killer of the shining one" (the optimistic, caring and uplifting one) as a hopeless soul, intrinsically damaged by historical hurts and an absence of social trust that is so all-pervasive and universal, that it is setting a “key” for an inner mode of collective despair; and what is worse, an irreversible renunciation to it (which we identify as a psychiatric state and call Autism). Of course we can by-pass this state to a degree with medical/therapeutic interventions. That's what a sojourn on Earth is for. But don't hold your breath. The results are minimal or deceptive, so far. We need to be on a bigger page together before it is too late (soon).
To my mind, for autism, an overreaching apathetic mind-modus is always at work even in the highest functioning instances. The knock-on effect of a heart-paralysis caused by fear IS the autism. It is starting to set in a our DNA (which will soon show up, in genomic markers, mark my words). This could be very good news, as long as we don't okay it. Man needs physical disorders so that he can reflect upon his state of soul in the act of doing, being, seeing and experiencing the neurological patternings (symptoms, behaviours) that might make a music he can hear and modulate to make us more human-sounding (less robotic/machine-world).
We find in Autism an entrenched fear of suffering and the inability to cope with it (instilled by a feedback loop of deficient neurotransmission). It makes one permanently self-defensive, constantly feeling under attack. The risk of enjoying yourself and the next minute having the plug pulled on that solar lamp (lava lamp, whatever you prefer), that light that supports your inner sun through the days of winter, is not something this soul is going to take, this life time. She perished for king and country in Pommerania, Bohemia, on the Somme; endured Devil’s Island and the gulags; underwent all sorts of solitary confinement; now the Age of Individualisation allows for it, she comes in her osmium coccoon. (Osmium(photo), metaphorically, has many properties imperative to the well-being of those afflicted by Autism.)
If we replace the extreme word, “killing” for ostracising or excluding and move these terms into the heart-space, you may begin to see how it is hard for autistic parents to love their children and autistic children to appreciate their parents.
In this context, may my work as a guardian of Autistic souls become clearer: to never allow them to walk the easier path of remaining unchallenged. Even if, lamentably, it makes for a difficult daughter and an extreme mother and tarnishes daily the shine of a light-filled woman.