You have the knack of posting what I need to read. Something that suggests an answer or perspective without being conclusive. Others have commented on this too. That is an art in itself, to write something that is meaningful and yet open to interpretation, much like a painting (Reader, January 16, 2018).
Gracious words. I replied: ‘You find in the text what you need to hear’. The aim is not to provide the reader with readymade solutions but, rather, to furnish them with principles by which they may arrive at their own. Meaning and significance arise at the intersection between the writer and the reader, between intention and reception. Often people testify to having benefited from the Diary in ways that were entirely unexpected and undesigned. Thus, we speak more than we know. And, moreover, we know more than we can speak; and we know more than we know we know.
Prevarication is one of the most insistent weaknesses to overcome. It intervenes, usually, when a demanding, tiresome, or an otherwise unpleasant undertaking presents itself. Its positive benefit lies in a capacity, when acknowledged, to expose our cowardice and lack of fortitude, resolve, and foresight. Double-mindedness or vacillation is a fault that follows close on its heels. We fail (or refuse, sometimes) to choose between options because either neither one is clearly to be preferred, or both are equally unpalatable, or one is self-evidently right and the other, wrong; but it’s the latter that we prefer. And so we defer until we can persuade ourselves that the reverse situation might one day be true. (Good luck with that one!, as they say.)
8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: Postgraduate admin in preparation of a coming PhD Fine Art viva voce. 9.00 am: Back to the paper with Arvo Pärt in the background. Pärt and other composers, such as Górecki and Tavener, are sometimes referred to as Sacred Minimalists or Holy Minimalists. The latter term has that pejorative ring associated with ‘holy rollers’ – those Spirit-inspired movers and shakers of the Pentecostal movement. My own visual work, in The Pictorial Bible series, has received a similar appellation:
Sanctuary I (Psalm 134), oil on board, 81 × 81, Authorised Version
It’s not that I’d any particular ideological allegiance to Minimalism at the time. The style was incidental; it arose from the imposition of a system of codification upon, and as the outcome of a set of strictures implicit within, the biblical texts. In other words, I recognised that the source material had the capacity to contribute significantly to the realisation of its own form. This conviction has undergirded pretty much everything that I’ve been committed to: creative work, teaching, pieties, and friendships included. The ideal is to assist the subject to discover and yield its/their inherent potential and character. In this vein, this morning, I wrote in my paper, in relation to The Aural Bible series:
The aims is to interrogate and interpret the source material with a view to eliciting meanings and generating significances that are not evident therein, but which are, nevertheless, congruent with events and ideas associated with the material’s history. Beyond this, the ambition is to create sound works that have integrity, ambition, and a measure of merit.
I’ve often wondered whether there were other artists who’d allied religion and Minimalism.
Lunchtime. On the bench today: my belovéd ‘Strat’, which has an ailing jack socket. A replacement unit had been procured. I proceeded in a ‘manly’ way – soldering on, as it were:
2.00 pm: Back to the paper. [He bit into his daily square of dangerously dark chocolate, having failed to remove the tinfoil adequately: ‘Aaaaah!’ He also wondered why his mug of tea was growing progressively stronger, until he espied the teabag at the bottom.] The introductory paragraphs are among the most important in a conference paper. They need to contextual the topic under discussion sufficiently, succinctly, and swiftly. (Don’t front-end the background!) In order to change gear and break with the routine, I began originating PowerPoint slides to illustrate the ideas that I’d generated:
Evening. Bits to begin. Personal, medical admin beckoned. These days you have to do so much more to keep your health on track. I never knew I had a NHS number. I’ve vowed not to upload another photograph to Instagram until I’m up-to-date with tagging, and to review my Junk Mail box more carefully and regularly. The system is misdirecting legitimate mail.
8.00 pm: I proceeded with the conference paper and its PowerPoint until the end of the evening. Strong winds buffeted the Velux and roared through the trees beyond my study window.
Reflections and recognitions:
- In principle, one should not walk away from someone without their knowledge and consent. To do otherwise represents an act of cruel abandonment.
- On balance, a situation may be deemed inappropriate because it doesn’t present a sufficient number or range of benefits.
- A right decision should have a good outcome for all concerned.
- The rationalisation of a wrong is an evil act.
- One’s happiness and fulfilment should never be at expense of another’s misery and disappointment.
- The best of friends seek to out-do each other in expressions of kindness, care, and attention, without thought for reciprocation.
- The strongest bonds of friendship are forged in the fires of trial.
- Follow your heart, but only if it knows where it’s going.
- Whoever shows me my folly, vanity, hypocrisy, and excess will be welcomed with open arms. (‘The wounds of a friend are faithful’ (Proverbs 27.6).)
- Fools seek the counsel of fools.