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Thread: The Sound Word

  1. #1

    The Sound Word

    Sound mind, sound doctrine, Long Island Sound, sounding the depths, all share the same word, “sound.” Sound right?

    "Conversation is an art," they say. Reading may be an art or a science depending upon whether you simply read or read into. When I was a child, I read as a child; thought as a child; understood as a child. When I matured, I did not put away childish things, but began to play ruthlessly with words and ideas. Words are instruments of thought and make a music more than tinkling symbols and brash prose. Siddhartha upon the banks learned from a stringed instrument of the middle way that we must not be too loose or we shall not sound nor yet too tight lest we break.

    When we play an instrument just right then we say that it “sounds.” The sound lurks within, a secret, hidden. When we publish and publicize, it becomes more secret; more hidden. We supply breath or spirit; inspiration. A music of the spheres is a circle of fifths on a scale of one to eight. We play instruments and we play with words. Play is the industry of childhood and adults are a byproduct of concern to environmentalists.

    To speak or read or write we must have an “about.” “Speak of the Devil,” Goethe did. We speak about this. We write about that. We read about something else. “About” suggests a circle. Now, to talk in circles is reckoned not a virtue but a flaw, though not a tragic flaw.

    Speaking of circles, Milan Kundera ends his novel, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” with a circle:

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Kundera”
    Up out of the lampshade, startled by the overhead light, flew a large nocturnal butterfly that began circling the room.

    Plato is circles. Aristotle is lines.

    Aristotle asks Kundera, “Why the circle?”

    Kundera replies:

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Kundera”
    Therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.

    Plato asks Kundera, “Why the butterfly?”

    Kundera replies:

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Kundera”
    No one can give anyone else the gift of the idyll; only an animal can do so, because only animals were not expelled from Paradise. The love between dog and man is idyllic. It knows no conflicts, no hair-raising scenes; it knows no development. Their dog, Karenin, surrounded Tereza and Tomas with a life based on repetition, and he expected the same from them.

    Sitaram asks Kundera, “Why Karenin?”

    Tolstoy replies:

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Tolstoy”
    Happy families are all alike.
    Last edited by Sitaram; 02-12-2005 at 06:57 AM.

  2. #2
    dancing before the storms baddad's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Sitaram]....When I was a child, I read as a child; thought as a child; understood as a child. When I matured, I did not put away childish things...

    ....bit of a take off of Paul of Tarsus, Corinth: Chapter 13, Verse 11...

  3. #3

    Call Me Picasso

    But of course! That was precisely my intention, and it was my hope that the reader would recognize this.

    Just like Vonnegut, opening "Cats Cradle" with "Call me Jonah" which is an obvious take on Melville. There are reasons for doing such things.

    Or, for that matter, Kundera's obvious take on Tolstoy, calling the dog "Karenin" (Anna KareNINA is the female form of Karenin, her husband's surname)

    Fiction and poetry is like painting; its all art.

    Art is Picasso painting a woman with three breasts. Perhaps they are on her forehead; perhaps not.

    We can say, "Ah, Mr. Picasso, most ladies do not have three breasts but only two, and CERTAINLY not on her forehead."

    Or, let us suppose that he has painted a woman with only two breasts in the traditional location. We might object and say, "Ah, Mr. Picasso, you have painted something I have already seen. But I only want painting of things I have NEVER seen." So what does Picasso say, "Go back to the three breasts on the forehead."

    Your mind, your imagination as a reader, is my canvas. Words are my colors and brush strokes, but so are a host of other things. If I make an allusion to something which exists elsewhere, in literature or history or art, then I invoke a constellation of images in your mind. But then, I must try to be clever enough to DO something with them.

    Now, ever everyone who writes another novel starts off by saying "Call me Adam", "Call me Jesus", "Call me Nietzsche", ... well, then our device has become hackneyed and trite.

    But then, our word "Novel" means "something new." But the way of all flesh and all words and all devices is to become old and worn and trite and hackneyed and boring.

    But, you see, rather than focus on my allusion to Paul, you should have concentrated on the beautiful thing which I have shown to you in Kundera's novel. You miss the point. But you missed the point precisely because you are more anxious to find fault than you are to find hidden treasures. But our impetuosity to only find fault is the fault of our culture, our society, our educational systems. We are conditioned to find some fault, and then feel victorious, just as our teachers find a j with no dot or a T that is not crossed and deduct points, and feel victorious. Which reminds me of the wonderful short story that someone wrote about "Justice," about a school child accused of lying on her spelling quiz.

    I uncover a pearl for you hidden in Kundera's field, and you dont even trample upon the pearl. You trample upon a verse from Paul.

    Oy vey!
    Last edited by Sitaram; 02-12-2005 at 08:56 PM.

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