A False Choice for a Writer

I remember taking a course in the history of Western music when I was in college.  I think it was called “Music and Civilization” or the “History of Music of the West” or “You Need an Elective and You’re a Musician So This Will Do” or something like that.  Great class, actually.  I learned a lot, got an A, and became friends with the professor who, as it turns out, was a collaborator of Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz.  It was during this course, while studying the underlying essential questions pertaining to “good music” versus “popular music” that we were asked “would you rather compose a piece of music that is beautiful and will stand the test of time or would you rather write something that is popular in the here-and-now?”  I always felt that this question was a flawed proposition.  Who says your music can’t be both?  And that brings us to tonight’s question.

A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose?

A Timeless Classic.  Sure it helps that the author was... God!

A Timeless Classic. Sure it helps that the author was… God!

Wow.  Really?  A literary-minded witch?  That sounds like the afternoon librarian in the children’s room at my local branch.  The reason these kinds of questions are flawed is because of a logical fallacy both questions employ.  That is, the statements both drop just about every qualification necessary to make the proper judgement.  For instance, I can become ONLY one or the other?  Why not both?  How about this one…  Where is this witch getting her powers?  Is she a good witch or a bad witch?  Is she a freaky witch who likes to get down with her bad self?  If she is I might decide to have a few drinks with her and then try to take advantage of her intoxication to get even more of a deal.  What’s she wearing?  I’m just curious.  And how did this witch get my name and address?  Because if WordPress has been selling my information I won’t be too pleased.

Clearly, I would choose to write something magnificent, like, say, a blog containing 1500 posts detailing the events of my children’s lives in a humorous way.  Said blog would be an instant classic, loved in the moment and adored for years to come.  I would tag it just so that everyone will read it — old friends who don’t comment too much anymore like Debbi and Wade, faithful readers who’s comments I look forward to like Annie, good friends like Dan, a plethora of Daily Post readers, and at least one reality TV producer who says “Hey!  This is good!  I need to option this NOW!”  And then I would rake in the royalties while retaining creative control and NOT casting Neil Patrick Harris as myself.

Not my actual daughter, though the expression is spot-on. George Goodwin Kilburne's "Piano Lesson" (courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Not my actual daughter, though the expression is spot-on.
George Goodwin Kilburne’s “Piano Lesson” (courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Now, let’s get back to the music for a bit.  You want to know who’s going to be a great musician one day?  My baby girl who, at the age of 4, having studied the piano (her daddy’s instrument) for just a year, got her first “hands together” sticker tonight!  You cannot imagine the pride in my heart as I watched this precious little girl.  I sit in on all of her lessons.  Across the room from me, she sat at the bench with her hands perfectly curled over the keys and played the most marvelous rendition of Mary Had A Little Lamb you could imagine.  It’s fun to see traits of yours shining through in your children. God is good.

And when we came home and announced the good news to her mommy and big brother, said big brother decided that he too knows how to play the piano “hands together”.  I don’t know what he was attempting to play but it sounded like Mary’s little lamb was taken to slaughter.  And even there, my his sense of humor and physical comedy made me laugh very hard.  Did I mention that God is good?

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3 responses to “A False Choice for a Writer

  1. “Hands together” for the fledgling piano student is not easy. Kudos
    to your baby girl! And I vote for Pierce Brosnan to play you in the
    movie. Lastly, I vote along with you for “both.”

  2. Awww, you are very kind! I love your writing. Always gives me a smile!

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