Tuesday, January 25, 2011


"Three Nudes and One Violin" - Pablo Picasso
Painted during his Blue Period

"Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands."

 ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picasso was a classically trained painter who wasn't afraid to embrace new ideas. As is evident in his extensive body of work, he never abandoned his classical foundation. How could he? It was part of him. He simply coexisted with it as his work evolved.

After yesterday's question regarding the dilemma of real vs. virtual books, I realized that I'm not the only one who has experienced it. I'm just the one who made it difficult.

I have the most awesome, patient friends. As I learned from them, the considerations for the Kindle and its like are mostly practical. Using less precious paper. Using less precious shelf space. Traveling more lightly. I acknowledge the advantages, and will open my mind to them. Using one does not necessitate denying the other. Thank you for your wisdom, all!

Like everything else, the appearance of the e-reader in the world of books and libraries and end tables is nothing more than a continuation of the weaving of the tapestry of life. As Emerson says, there is no thread in this tapestry that is not a twist of old and new.

When looked at this way, I can let go of the notion that new will conquer old, or that either one will push the other out of existence. Each has its place in the tapestry. We can coexist.

I will not, ever, stop purchasing books, that I know.  But today, I find myself considering the possibility of including an e-reader to my library. As one friend put it, it's great for the "throw-aways."

Which only serves to bring up another touchy subject. Who, in their right mind, would EVER throw a book away?

George Gershwin was another artist who knew the value of twisting the old with the new. His genius may have been born, in part, from the serendipitous time of his birth. The composer and pianist was born at the dawn of the Jazz Age, but as a son of newly immigrated Russian parents, was trained in the European classical tradition. His work has appeared on the stages of every genre of music, on Broadway, in Hollywood, and in concert halls around the world.  

This piece, "Rhapsody in Blue," is certainly his signature composition. Many versions abound, but I selected this version, which brilliantly captures the idea of the melding of the disciplined passion of classical with the passionate abandon of jazz. Concert pianist Lang Lang joins jazz great Herbie Hancock for this delightful performance. It's hard to tell who's enjoying himself more, but one thing's for sure...it's contagious. Enjoy!

Today, let go of an old notion and find peace with the new.


  1. Gershwin is one of my favorites. Such passionate music. And that Picasso! Wow. How incredibly beautiful. I also really love his early work, before Cubism. Kind of an ass personally, but he was a great artist.

    Ummm ... throw away books? OK. I've never thrown one in the trash, but I've been known to recycle, by putting them in a box on the sidewalk, also by trading them in at second-hand bookstores. I literally do not have room for any more books. You'll see - and the idea of them simply gathering dust, in a stack somewhere, makes me kind of sad.

    One year I made it a practice to read only the books that other people had put out on their sidewalks. It was an interesting year of reading!

  2. I took the comment literally about throwing books away, but maybe it was meant figuratively, as you suggest.

    I routinely take bags of books (usually paperbacks) to the ballet school with the word, "FREE" on the bag. They disappear instantly, and I know they've found a good home.

    I'll bet you found some fabulous books during that year...especially if it were in DC!

    Thanks for the comments, Reya. I cherish their wisdom!

  3. You're correct about the old not quite giving way to the new. I still buy and play record albums. Nothing else in the world sounds like them. Nothing digital ever will.

    Rhapsody always will be one of my favorite pieces. This version is magnificent. Every hair on my body stands straight up, especially when that first crescendo foretells of the wonderful things to come.

  4. Hi Danny! I think there's something magical that happens when musical artists get together and perform live. I think that's what is so special about this video, and what's so very special about listening to LPs.

    The technical element of laying down tracks is amazing and impressive when it all comes together, but it sometimes sounds TOO perfect, eliminating the human qualities of phrasing and uneven tempos and even mistakes. Goodness, some of the most popular duets released today are by aritists who never even met each other during the process of making the CD.

    It's all part of the excitement for me to hear or see all those elements come together in real time. I'm so glad I'm not alone.

    So VERY glad there are artists like you to keep on creating and sharing them!

    Thank you for stopping to visit, Danny. I appreciate your comments.

  5. Hi Belle, er I mean Jo. Your book for instance is totally read on-line, even while you're still writing it. We think of something that may do some good for someone (Yin). We write it (Yin inside Yang). Someone reads it and it does them some good (Yin inside Yang inside Yin). The energy and resources saved in the process of the digital book? priceless. For everything else there's Picasso...or Gerswhin!

  6. I will always love paper books for many of the reasons already written. But I too have too many books (including a box of books stored in my brother's attic in Lexington, MA since I didn't want to ship to CA and plan to relocate back east someday!)and storage problems . Lately, I've been trying to get most of the books I want to read from a curious place - the library! If I see a review for a new book that looks good or know that one of my favorite authors has a new one coming out, I go to the library website and search for it and put my name on a request list if necessary. Delayed gratification. Of course if I just can't wait - I buy it!

    Haven't got an e-book device -yet- just doesn't seem the same to "curl up with a good Kindle"!

  7. Hi Dubby...I have no idea what resources go into making an e-reader so I can't make a comparison to the economy of one over the other, but I imagine you're right. My poor trees.

    Blogging is an exercise in writing that we haven't seen since the days of journaling. Having others read what we write (unlike the privacy of diaries) makes it an entirely different entity from anything else. Each person's mission in blogging is different, but if I can bring comfort or beauty into anyone's life by blogging, I'll be most happy.

    It's both challenging and exhilerating, isn't it?

    Thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts.

  8. Libraries are making a come back in this economy, aren't they, Kathy? That reminds me...I have an overdue book charge I need to take care of!

    I use the public library mostly for the children. We get their story books, videos, and even music CD's for them there. The library has wonderful programs to promote reading for kids, too. LOVE libraries!

    You get the Laugh of the Day Award, too, for "it just doesn't seem the same to 'curl up with a good Kindle'!" Thank you, Kathy.

  9. Before we moved down here to Mo'ville, I used to take my paperbacks to the used book store and my friend Cheryl gave them away to homeless people and those who couldn't afford to buy books. What a sweet treat!

    Love Herbie Hancock, David and I used to listen to him all of the time.

    Jo~ you write so eloquently with such passion! You are a joy to read every day...

    Much love!

  10. What a great idea, Vicki! My next bag of paperbacks will go to a homeless shelter.

    Herbie Hancock...aw, man. Is there anyone smoother? Nope. Not in my book. ♥

    Thanks so much for saying hi, Vicks. Much love back to you.


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