Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Play it again, Sam
I've finished Jack Weatherford's The Mongol Queens, a revisionist history about Ghenghis Khan's wives, daughters and granddaughters. Fascinating book, though I still think his first book, Ghenghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, is better.
It seems to me that certain authors write a really great first book. After that, they write the same book over and over again. With each re-telling, the story becomes weaker. I could name a bunch of examples, but you probably know what I'm talking about.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm writing the same blog post over and over. I often ask myself, "Have I already done this post?" I have the same problem with my pictures. Sometimes, perhaps even after I've placed my finger on the button, I stop, while asking myself, "How many times do I need to take this picture?" - even though the images are digital and therefore easily disposed of.
The collage pic above includes the tower of a church at Sixth Street and Mass Avenue, just east of Stanton Park. I have taken dozens - perhaps even hundreds - of pics of that church tower. It always looks so nice with a backdrop of fluffy clouds.
Little church next to a big church.
Of course performers sing the same songs, dance the same dances or enact the same dramatic roles over and over again. Glenn Gould most likely played the Bach variations thousands of times, for instance. Sometimes I think about the actors who were part of A Chorus Line or Cats on Broadway. Can you imagine what it would be like to do the same show exactly, every night, year after year?
This train of thought, if followed, inevitably brings up the memory of one of my favorite films, Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray lives the same day over and over for 10,000 years, (or so says Harold Ramis, the director). Finally, he figures out that what makes the repetitive nature of life satisfying are acts of kindness, creative expression, and heart connections with others.
There is beauty and symmetry in repetition. I should remember that when I start to censor myself. I meditate every morning; it's the every morning part that makes the practice so great. There is no such thing as too many sweet kisses or loving hugs, right? And I never say no to a strong cup of black tea, no matter how many cups I've enjoyed in the past.
Maybe I shouldn't stop myself when I get in a mood to take yet another pic of that church tower. I like it; my eye is always drawn to it when I cross the park. So - why not? Well? Why not?