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Monday, January 28, 2013

Yet Another Reason to Thank the Canadians

(This is a post, a day late, for dear Mozart's Birthday.)

My local Public Radio station has stopped offering the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoons in favor of cheaper and doubtless more popular talk show programs.  I’m sure to be in the minority here—what else is new?—but this, to me, feels like yet more evidence of the decline and fall of western civilization in these United States. I’m probably over-reacting, but I’ve been listening to the Met on Saturday afternoons ever since I can remember. At first, of course, not intentionally listening, but my mother loved the opera, and if she could find a radio station which carried it, winter afternoons, that was the music which soared through our house. I would sit on the floor beside her bed, where she was ensconced with a half-read murder mystery, the ever present cigarettes and a blonde cocker-spaniel , listening to the radio. Here I’d invent my own games and stories, moving toys across the woolen rugs. Opera seeped through my skin, I guess, and I learned composers and famous singers and opera lore simply by being present.  Long winter afternoons, gray and snowy—we lived in upstate New York—it was a perfect way to hide out from the endless inclement weather. The Met came to us in all its high culture glory across Lake Eire from civilized Toronto, the path of least resistance for radio waves.

So now, in a way, I’ve returned full circle to that childhood. I spend hours daily in front of my computer, and, blessedly, at this point, internet radio stations are plentiful. I’ve settled on the CBC for my Saturday afternoon fix of Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Puccini et al, and it just occurred to me that in a way, I’m right back where I started from, listening to this beloved, hallowed, and increasingly hoary art form, courtesy of the kindly Canadian Broadcasting system.   


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Possum Tracks Revisited

Why Possum Tracks? Because in the authorial world, that's the creature with which I identify, a small despised creature that scuttles quietly through the night, seeking a few crumbs with which to sustain my ability to create. I mind my business and gather what the others who are more fortunate have discarded, or what they will not consume, the grubs, worms, bugs, of this writing life. I'm not ashamed of what I am. It is necessary for some of us to clean up after the riotous dinners of the much-lauded others.

With sharp claws, I dig after the grubs of truth buried in the dirt of history. I persist; my lineage is ancient. My family lived in Gondowanaland ever so long ago, and my descendants--rare, strange and endangered--still remain in far off Australia, which drifted away from neighboring continents and became lost.

I will speak of the past, of the meaning of writing about history and occasionally about writing, but the last is mostly immaterial since we've all become scribblers in this electronic (and probably short-lived) all-consuming age. I will talk about men and women and about their tangled relations, about love, power, character,good and evil, night and day, and about the small creatures of the earth and the flight of birds, moonrise and set, and about the signs of nature which exist to illuminate and delight even the most dreary life.


~~Juliet Waldron