Tuesday, February 22, 2011

HBO, Where Art Thou?

I have a well documented love affair with the works of Cormac McCarthy, and just found out today that HBO has produced, and is currently playing, an adaptation of The Sunset Limited (link contains spoilers), a two-person play written by McCarthy. I posted about it here. The adaptation stars Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. If any kind and loving soul out there in my community has HBO, please invite me over. I'll bring the popcorn.


JaeReg said...

I am learning something about attention from the little I know about how you experience music.
The latest - this Andrew W.K. featured on Tiny Desk Concerts a la “Truth Comes in Blows.”
Matt and I have both wondered at how you make music a priority such that you can give it the time and attention that renders real feelings about all aspects of the music; lyrical, musical, artistic, place within the current.
So, I listened to all twenty minutes of Andrew - whom I’ve never heard of before - trying to give it attention. I didn’t realize until the second number that his playing was improvisational. He used the piano until there was no more piano to use. He ran out, exhausted the keys of it and the moods of it, and at one point just made the motion of using it, but the sounds weren’t necessary anymore, only the motion.

Caroline and Cecily sat and listened with me - Caroline mimicking his playing on the edge of the desk. She picked up my pocket size hymnbook and said “I’m going to find that song in here.” She stopped at Hymn #164 Great God, To Thee My Evening Song.

Great God, to thee my evening song
With humble gratitude I raise;
Oh, let thy mercy tune my tongue
And fill my heart with lively praise.

Had I not spent the time in my exercise of attention I may never have come to this phrase “Oh, let thy mercy tune my tongue.” This might not have been Andrew’s message, but I liked his music being the melody of this new petition.

Thank you.

Les said...


I don't even know where to begin with this amazing, deeply considered comment. Sometimes attention-giving is natural and easy and second nature (as is with me and music - there is no work involved, it just is and shall continue to be lest I should deny myself).

But giving our attention isn't always so easy. After a long difficult day I've often blown off my boys and rush through bedtime motions in order to get to "the golden hour". But on some occasions I act against that urge, and curl up in the dark with my 4 year old in my arms and talk about the day, on his terms, and at his leisure, and that has rewarded me with conversations that are so fulfilling and insightful that I can hardly write them here. So, yes, your comment has struck a chord with me.

And perhaps Andrew W.K. does speak to this in some abstract way. He states about midway through the performance, that the headspace he likes dwell in is one where he feels uncomfortable, unsure, unfamiliar, and perhaps even a little humiliated. Presumably because that is where the magic happens. And I would extend that same sentiment to our attention. I love Stephen Robinson's statement that true growth happens when we are functioning at our limits. At any given time there is a highway of moment/observation/information/inspiration that is passing us by simply because we haven't taken the time to open our eyes.

But not you. Your eyes are open.