Sunday, December 7, 2014

One song to sum it all up. We authors may be doomed.

Good afternoon!

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And often that's the case, a picture can say, with one picture, what poets and authors try to capture in pages and pages of writings.  It's not a hard and fast rule, however, because if you're an English teacher trying to get kids to read books, you know that all the movies in the world do not capture the completeness, the poetry, or the essence of a book. I have two exceptions to that rule, but that's a different blog.  

4 hours,...fantastic costumes in
every scene...Scarlett has 1 kid.

1000 pages, tons of description and additional
characters...Scarlett has 3 kids.
Looking at one of my favorite books and movies, Gone With the Wind, I can tell you the experience is vastly different from book to movie.  Both great, (I'm currently rereading the book, and it's like a whole knew experience because it's been awhile.) Both quite different from each other.



Music, musicians, tend to be less like their poetic and literary cousins and more like painters and movie makers. Try listening to any masterful piece of music, from the "Hallelujah Chorus" to "Stairway to Heaven"  WITHOUT bringing images and colors and scenes to mind.  Could be why so many musicians in the last 40 years have written such completely indecipherable lyrics.  It's the image brought to mind, the snapshot memory, that makes a song so enduring.  Oh sure, "867-5309 Jenny" is a song most people of a certain age turn up (and not because they're getting hard of hearing.  I can hear just fine...I can....I CAN!  Wait, did you say something?)  But most of the time they turn that song up, sing along and picture themselves as teens, going to the nearest payphone...yes, there were these things called payphones where you put a quarter in and dialed a number and people talked on the other end of the line...and dialed that number.  Ah, memories.  For me it was some unsuspecting woman who may, or may not have been in Wisconsin.  We had fewer phone numbers back then,  Area codes were sort of cute things you used if someone lived on the other side of the country, not in your own state.

Anyway, I was reminded in church this morning, thanks to our hand bell choir, that there's one piece of music that so completely and totally sums up the Holiday/Christmas season, we storytellers need not put one more word on paper  (see, kids, back in my day, we wrote things on paper...with pens or pencils...or maybe we typed them....on a typewriter.  It was like texting, only with a machine that weighed 50 pounds and if you made a mistake you pretty much had to start all over again because everyone knows those ink removing pen erasers never worked.) which means, fellow authors, as far as Christmas is concerned, we might be doomed.

What is this piece of music?

Carol of the Bells


With or without the lyrics, it matters not.  The Carol starts out calmly enough...and then builds and builds and builds with layers of instruments or voices until it's a fever pitch threatening to spin right out of control.  Then, at the end, it returns to calm.

It's a much redone carol.  

The traditional vocal version.





The acapella version.


Solo piano?  Same music, Same frantic pace.

The amazing John Williams...from "Home Alone."
  You can almost feel the frantic season in the voices of the singers.



And then there's this one...probably the one we
all turn up in our cars.

I could go on there are hundreds of these on youtube.  But it's one song that IS the holiday season.  No need, really, for lyrics, although there are lyrics. All you need is an instrument, or maybe a bell choir, and you're set to tell the whole holiday season story again in under five minutes.

Can't put any of that on paper.

We storytellers, we writers, we authors....we may be doomed.

Nah...there will always be that group of people who say, "The book was better."

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