4 September 2006
The scale of economy
But what I'd really like to be able to do is to pick up on that old adage (adages are always old, aren't they?) about a picture being worth a thousand (or, in this computerized age, 1024) words and then creating that picture with a mere ten words.
Something like this:
We sit a while, sipping lemonade, rocking in harmonic silence.
That phrase "harmonic silence" is utterly gorgeous, and not just because it's the answer to that tedious business of whether the tree makes a sound if no one's there to hear it when it falls. Sound is, after all, movement of air, and as any meteorologist worth his Doppler can tell you, the air has patterns, rhythms, beats of its own, and if you're at all attuned to the world around you, you can rock to those beats, and you don't even have to have a chair to do it: all you have to do is listen to what's between the sounds. People mocked John Cage for writing a piano piece with no notes, but he knew what he was doing:
"There's no such thing as silence. What they thought was silence because they didn't know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds. The wind was stirring outside during the first movement. During the second, raindrops began pattering the roof, and during the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out."
Second and third harmonics, occasional dissonances, even a chord or two, in a score of nothing but rests.
The ability to convey concepts like this without three or four paragraphs of exposition now that's writing. One of these days I hope to learn how to do that on something resembling a consistent basis.