Category Archives: Monday Meditations

Tuesday Meditations: Beautiful Darkside

Hello! Back from my week’s hiatus, which became a week-and-a-day because my life has not yet coalesced into some semblance of order. My laptop is temporarily down for the count, so I’m gonna make this short and get back to work. We’re gonna talk later. For now, enjoy this song and some thoughts from a guy named Shaw.

SONG OF THE WEEK

“Beautiful Darkside” by The Classic Crime

The introspection of this band’s songwriting is terrifying.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“And yet, what is there to say except that war puts a strain on human nature that breaks down the better half of it, and makes the worse half a diabolical virtue? Better, for us if it broke it down altogether, for then the warlike way out of our difficulties would be barred to us, and we should take greater care not to get into them. In truth, it is, as Byron said, “not difficult to die,” and enormously difficult to live: that explains why, at bottom, peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous. Did any hero of the war face the glorious risk of death more bravely than the traitor Bolo faced the ignominious certainty of it? Bolo taught us all how to die: can we say that he taught us all how to live?… Does it not seem as if, after all, the glory of death were cheaper than the glory of life? If it is not easier to attain, why do so many more men attain it?”

George Bernard Shaw

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Monday Meditations: The Godfather

I stayed up until about 2 this morning watching The Godfather. Now I know why everybody loved it. In fact, I’m so enthusiastic that I’m probably going to watch it again, and listen to this theme song for the rest of the week.

SONG OF THE WEEK

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom but I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a “boy friend,” not an Italian. She went to the movies with him. She stayed out late. I didn’t protest. Two months ago he took her for a drive, with another boy friend. They made her drink whiskey and then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her. Like an animal. When I went to the hospital her nose was broken. Her jaw was shattered, held together by wire. She couldn’t even weep because of the pain. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life. A beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again.

I went to the police, like a good American. These two boys were brought to trial. The judge sentenced them to three years in prison, and suspended the sentence. Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool, and those two bastards, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, ‘For justice, we must go to Don Corleone.'”

from The Godfather

 

Monday Meditations: Faust’s Darkness

Christopher Marlowe wrote a terrifying tale of a scholar who sold his soul to the devil. There’s a piece of classical music which goes pretty well with it. What do you think?

SONG OF THE WEEK

“Adagio in G Minor” composed by Tomaso Albinoni

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“My heart’s so harden’d, I cannot repent:
Scarce can I name salvation, faith, or heaven,
But fearful echoes thunder in mine ears,
“Faustus, thou art damn’d!” then swords, and knives,
Poison, guns, halters, and envenom’d steel
Are laid before me to despatch myself;
And long ere this I should have slain myself,
Had not sweet pleasure conquer’d deep despair.
Have not I made blind Homer sing to me
Of Alexander’s love and Oenon’s death?
And hath not he, that built the walls of Thebes
With ravishing sound of his melodious harp,
Made music with my Mephistophilis?
Why should I die, then, or basely despair?
I am resolv’d; Faustus shall ne’er repent.”

Christopher Marlowe

Monday Meditations: Intimations of Immortality and Mahler

It’s been a while since we’ve heard some classical music on this blog. Come to think of it, it’s been a while since we’ve had some poetry on this blog. We shall have to remedy that.

SONG OF THE WEEK

“Adagietto from Symphony No. 5” by Gustav Mahler

Oh, yes, it’s been too long since I’ve listening to something like this. The mood matches the poem below very well.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight

To me did seem

Apparelled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

It is not now as it hath been of yore;–

Turn wheresoe’er I may,

By night or day,

The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

 

The rainbow comes and goes,

And lovely is the rose;

The moon doth with delight

Look round her when the heavens are bare;

Waters on a starry night

Are beautiful and fair;

The sunshine is a glorious birth;

But yet I know, where’er I go,

That there hath past away a glory from the earth.”

William Wordsworth, from “Intimations of Immortality”

Monday Meditations: Night’s Sorrow

Before we get to today’s programming, some clarifications are in order. My last update promised an issue of Notes Of A Storyteller. Events conspired against me. Starting today, I am preparing a doubleheader edition for this Friday for your entertainment. In case you’re wondering about progress for The Stand, things were rough the last few days, but it’s a new week and I’m writing some critical chapters for Arman’s character.

Now to the real fun. Enjoy some melancholy guitar pluckingand the longings of Ivan from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

SONG OF THE WEEK

“Night’s Sorrow” by Becoming the Archetype

Despite what the album cover in the video may lead to think, this is actually an instrumental for acoustic guitar. It is dark and beautiful. If Peter Jackson ever puts The Silmarillion to screen, I want this song in the soundtrack.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“With my pitiful, earthly, Euclidean understanding, all I know is that there is suffering and that there are none guilty; the cause follows effect, simply and directly; that everything flows and finds its level- but that’s only Euclidean nonsense, I know that, and I can’t consent to live by it…

I must have justice, or I will destroy myself. And not justice in some remote infinite time and space, but here on earth, and that I could see myself. I have believed in it. I want to see it, and if I am dead by then, then let me rise again, for if it all happens without me, it will be too unfair… I want to see with my own eyes the hind lie down with the lion and the victim rise up and embrace his murderer. I want to be there when everyone suddenly understands what it has all been for.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Monday Meditations: Sydney Carton

Have I ever told you how much I love A Tale of Two Cities? If there weren’t so many other books I must read, I’d be back inside that one. Dickens captivated me with his genuinely epic scope, and endearing characters. My personal favorite is Sydey Carton. You could see his sacrifice coming a mile away, but somehow that never ruined his dramatic and tear-inducing rise from miserable drunkard to sacrificial hero.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine showed me a song that reminds me of him. Hear the song, and then read the final passages of A Tale of Two Cities. Is it melodramatic? Yes, and beautifully so.

SONG OF THE WEEK

“Lay Me Down” by the Oh, Hello’s

This might be the most cheerful song I’ve ever heard that starts out with lines about fire and brimstone (lyrics right here). Every time I hear it my day lights up. I want to stomp along and clap and sing at the top of my lungs. I can see Sydney Carton, rumbling along in the tumbrils to his death, knowing it’s the finest death a man could ask for.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“‘I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.

‘I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years’ time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward…

‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Dickens, Charles (2010-12-01). A Tale of Two Cities (p. 335). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Monday Meditations: Two Step

I don’t know why, but I found a quote from Elie Wiesel’s Dawn that I wanted to share today. It is a portrait of a haunted man’s encounter with love. Wiesel’s trilogy (Night, Dawn, Day) always fascinated me. Allow me to share that fascinating with you, along with a fabulous number from the Dave Matthews Band called “Two Step”.

SONG OF THE WEEK

“Two Step” by Dave Matthews Band

What is it about those opening moments that make this song so memorable? The moment I hear the guitar and violin take off, I feel like I’m in a different world, a darker and more beautiful world filled with beauty and longing. (Note: this live version is from the “Listener Supported” DVD).

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“There are times when I curse myself. I shouldn’t have listened. I should have fled. To listen to a story under such circumstances is to play a part in it, to take sides, to say yes or no, to move one way or the other. From then one there is a before and an after. And even to forget becomes cowardly acceptance.

I should have run away. Or put my hands over my ears. Or thought about something else. I should have screamed, or sung, or kissed her, kissed her on the mouth so she would have stopped talking. Made love to her. Told her that I loved her. Anything, just so she would have stopped talking.”

Elie Wiesel