April 18, 2008

Assorted "holy f---" moments

Joyce would call them epiphanies, maybe, or maybe that's not quite what I'm talking about. I don't know. But right now I'm listening to Peter Case on an archived radio show (it's show number 473), and I remember the first time I heard his song "Spell of Wheels," and it was one of those moments. Why not listen to that show while you read the rest of this. Or just listen and read whatever you want, for that matter! I'll never know.

For me a lot of those big moments have been about music. My tastes are more visceral than refined I guess. I remember pulling over the first time I heard "Mary Jane's Last Dance," for instance, as if I wasn't ever going to hear it again. Ha! I still love it though. Some of my gut reactions are even triter. I wouldn't trade them for more refined taste either... I'm a philistine at heart, I guess.

I've never seen a painting that took my breath away, almost never, or a ballet that did. But I've read novels that burned me badly enough I never want to read them again. I've read poems that make me choke every time I read them aloud, even though I've read them aloud dozens of times in front of hundreds of people.

When I was back there in seminary school--uh, graduate school, sorry for the gratuitous Jim Morrison quotation--it seemed like we were supposed to learn not to think about literature that way. Am I wrong about that? Did I misunderstand? Maybe I got it wrong, because I wasn't all that bright, but I felt like we spent a lot of time eviscerating golden geese. Good thing those geese are tougher than we thought.

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