“one day in the life of ivan denisovich” (1962) is the first published work of alexander solzhenitsyn / he was imprisoned in a labor camp for eight years for allegedly making a derogatory remark about stalin & was released in 1953 after stalin’s death \ the novel which first appeared in a soviet literary magazine, describes one typical day of a typical zek <prisoner> in a typical stalinist camp / this means brutal, dehumanizing conditions which ivan denisovich shukov manages one day at a time with both cooperative & personal survival techniques \ the publication of the book was the first time that an account of stalinist repression was openly disseminated
i have always wanted to read the russian authors particularly dostoyevsky but their tomes sound daunting & are nearly always at least two inches thick \ so “one day” is a perfect “starter russian” / though short, the subject matter is not the most cheerful & engaging thus it took awhile to plod through \ limited time too since i only read this at work during lunch / which often made the reading situation heavily ironic \ like today <50s in pittsburgh, i.e., freezing cold to me> i was feasting on hot & hearty short rib noodle soup / meanwhile, ivan denisovich, after working outside in the freezing cold <40s in threadbare clothes>, was having his evening stew which “was much thinner than at breakfast; if they’re to work, prisoners must be fed in the morning; in the evening they’ll go to sleep anyway” / the stew had fish but “there wasn’t much fish, just a few stray bits of bare backbone. but you must chew every bone, every fin, to suck the juice out of them, for the juice is healthy. it takes time, of course, but he was in no hurry to go anywhere.” \ it makes me appreciate even more the time & place that i was born in
found this book at a library sale in the mall / i never expected to find a library branch at pittsburgh mills but there it was
the installation: visual – “guernica” | audio – readings of “for whom the bell tolls” & the music of miles davis “concierto de aranjuez” / this assemblage comes top of mind & is rather cliche but so what
guernica (1937), pablo picasso
best with headphones
for whom the bell tolls (1940), ernest hemingway
concierto de aranjuez, joaquin rodrigo (1939)| performed by miles davis (1960)
the original is the best!
chick corea | electric piano | Gmaj7 F#7 Em7 A7 Dmaj7 (Gmaj7) C#7 F#7 Bm B7
al jarreau | vocalese
miles davis | “That melody is so strong that the softer you play it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger you play it, the weaker it gets.”
jim hall | sextet
pepe romero | guitar & orchestra
“in the land of invented languages” (2010) by arika okrent is an entertaining & erudite exploration of the linguistic world / the language inventors are an eccentric bunch but you have to admire their passion, energy & creativity \ john wilkins’ philosphical language, esperanto, loglan & blissymbols never became the universal auxiliary language that their inventors hoped for them to be / but out of these came unintended benefits such as the thesaurus <wilkins>, a community & culture <esperanto>, a demonstration that language is not all about logic <loglan> & a method for teaching young disabled non-speaking children to eventually use language <blissymbols> \ then there are the languages of imagined worlds such as klingon & quenya / j.r.r. tolkien wrote the lord of the rings trilogy so that quenya, the elf language would have a home
if there is one creative endeavor that i would not venture into, it would be to invent a language / i would not lobby for a universal auxiliary language either \ what’s wrong with any of the natural languages? / common among them are that there are many rules, many exceptions, idioms, cultural nuances \ as well as ambiguity, fuzziness of meaning, and ever-changing usage <explored in “bad english: a history of linguistic aggravation”> / but guess what? in the end, natural languages enable us to express ourselves not only about the mundane but the transcendent as well
the history of invented languages, the author points out, is a history of failure / but i think the invented languages were failures only in the sense that none achieved their goal of being the universal language that will bring peace & harmony to the world \ on the other hand, their failure illuminated the wonderfulness of natural languages / still, in my opinion, just having 10 other persons able to speak the invented language, or at least study it, makes it a success / it is a quite admirable to be multilingual in the natural languages, much more so the ability to speak an “unnatural” language!
i found out about this book from stan carey’s language blog “sentence first”
trouble <shark! wave! whatever…> | colored pencil & pen
miles davis completes my “arts triune” / the other two are pablo picasso for the visual arts & ernest hemingway for literature \ miles davis is the consummate innovateur / his influence spans major developments in jazz music from bepop in the mid-40s to jazz fusion in the late 60s \ it is simply amazing to listen to the evolution of his sound / “kind of blue” (1959) is his most admired & celebrated work but i like “bitches brew” (1969) the best, followed by “sketches of spain” (1960)
in my mind <i.e., fantasy>, i put together the works of picasso, hemingway & miles at the guggenheim <bilbao or nyc> / the best of modern art, that would be exhilarating!