Saturday, December 25, 2021

Some Notges on Inevitability

 Not too many writers or composers of whom you can admire for their ability to use the right word at the right time, the appropriate note in the immediate moment.  Mark Twain and Willa Cather stand as your standards for that type of composition.  Surely the late, lamented Joan Didion, the yet productive Deborah Eisenberg and Francine Prose define that category for you.


Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, and, more recently, Maurice Ravel, fill those musical needs.  You can read the mentioned writers or listen to the musicians for the immaculate power of choking the next, inevitable moment in a composition, a fact that denders them beyond inventive or melodic.  You read and listen for inevitability.


When you have written something, you scurry back over it, looking for what Flaubert called "the right word," le mot juste.  


You owe your morning routine now to Francine Prose, who, via an interview, revealed to you her pleasure at the daily "Spelling Bee" feature in The New York Times.  You are given seven letters, two of which are vowels, inclusive of a letter in the center, which may be either vowel of consonant.  Your job is to pick as many words out of that seven-letter panoply as you can.  Words must be at least tour letters long.  No proper nouns. You earn points, one for a four-letter word, as many as fourteen for longer words.


The "Spelling Bee" has for the moment eclipsed your interest in the crossword puzzle.  There are hundreds, thousands of words sifting about in the unused spaces of your brain folds.  When you attempt this fresh puzzle each day, you're reminded of the words you know and do not use unless they appeal to your non-rational sense of fit.  Yes, of course you use some logic,some memory when you select a specific word,  You rely on your individual sense rather than the dictionary's assigned priority of the meaning and use of a word.


You're fondness for the music of Maurice Ravel comes from the beyond rational understanding of tonality, into the inevitability of how his phrases take you toward a celebration of emotions. You read and reread Twain and Cather, Eisenberg, Prose, Mansfield, beyond the story.  You already know how the story ends.  You reread for the feeling.  Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, when you listen to the first four segments of Noble and Sentimental Waltzes or At the Tomb of Couperin you have been taken on a journey that leaves you at the desired destination, charged, enthusedtransformed from your everyday self to your composing self, eager to chose words that will provide a pathway to inevitability.

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