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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Good Bait

I was driving home from the airport and the song "Good Bait" (Tad Dameron) in Coltrane's version came on, bluetoothed from my phone onto my car's audio system. Hearing this made me think that I could do something imaginatively bold with my life, even if arguably I haven't done anything like that yet. Coltrane just has a larger than life presence; it's not just seeing something well done, but imagining that all self-imposed limits are artificial creations.  It would follow, then, that part of the transformative power of art is this: empowering the listener or viewer to glimpse something transcendent. This can happen through a transcendent genius like Coltrane (or put in the name of your inspiration in place of my hame.)

Or it could happen differently through an artist that you might see as a "permission granter," someone who in some way gives you permission to do your own thing.  For me that would be Ron Padgett, a poet who writes in a way that (seemingly) anyone should be able to manage, without being a transcendent figure in this way. The poems by the bus driver protagonist of the Jarmusch film "Paterson" are written by Padgett. The way a song written by a small child might open up your possibilities.

Of course, literature shapes subjectivity in other ways. The reader identifies with fictional characters and thus has access to other subjectivities not one's own. Or the reader identifies with the lyric speaker of a poem or series of poems. This is reading as "self-fashioning" (Greenblatt).  

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