Tuesday, June 30, 2015

rummaging and voof: something worth 100 points

even fb photos yellow with time
Too precious of a Prezi to stack 
on virtual Google Drive shelf. 
Proof that plumpest coconuts come 
from collaboration of two cuckoo-nuts, 
my dear Julianne and my unclear thelf...  

Permit the glorby of May 2013 to present our final project of yore, "The Stoddard Temple" (such a jurby title):

The English writer Aldous Huxley once said: “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” When people haven’t been able to find fitting words, they communicate their visceral struggles and triumphs in a less-thinkingly way. After all, the slide of a pitch conveys as much as a sigh; and the rise and fall of a melodic line is as opportune for insight as the texts that we read. The authors of these books spoke effectively, but Julianne and I set out authoring a new translation of these well-loved words. Song persists when words falter; to this idea we linked the human spirit, which carries on even when the containers cannot.

Each work from second semester was ripe for musical interpretation, so we constructed an essay of songs, with three bulky “body paragraphs”. In some way, each book supports our simple assumption that the human spirit will “keep on truckin’” when it encounters friction. From The Great Gatsby, we found that sacrifices kept dreams alive. The Grapes of Wrath introduced the idea of an oversoul, which is the masses melding into a great machine of their own when heated. The Things They Carried confirms that the lost live on when stories are shared. The commonality is continuation: humanity as a whole does not break or regress. Just as Ma Joad encouraged Tom, “You done good once. You can do it again” (383), mankind will never lose its capacity for goodness, perfection, honor.... making things right. American voices told these stories, because even the land of the free gave many reason to weep. How Americans have responded to sorrow and setbacks throughout history is a show of our tenacity.

It was easy to bridge glorious music and glorious stories; the lyrics of our favorite songs aligned themselves with the themes without any tweaking. Whatever emotion we drew from the text, we poured into each recording. It would have been amusing to watch us at this sort of no-connection-left-behind work. We would settle into a quiet corner with the book and punctuate the silence with “Eureka!” when struck by a similarity between the words on the page and a certain song. “Eureka!”, I declared five times to my family, as we watched Les Miserables together. We would then go about the oft-grueling process of recording (“Sorry for sneezing!”), and eventually implemented each song clip into a coherent “essay” using the online tool Prezi. Because of this project, our minds were constantly attuned to the sound waves around us, and our brains were busy close-reading the lyrics as they would a passage. English class - a quest for understanding! - gave us a set of chisels to be used on every form of expression.

Sheep we are not, you see, because we were led by our own wants. We wanted to make music, so we scoured our books for song-able substance. Normally for us, English and music existed in separate spheres: English-thinking stayed at school, and music was for the afternoons. This project became their happy union. These two “mediums” have the same intentions, so they harmonized quite well in their answering of the essential question.

What was once ineffable will hopefully be made clear as it passes through the ear.

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