Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Overlapping Worlds

Most of us live in several worlds at once; fortunately, most of us can partition them off and keep in touch with the one we recognize as "reality". I was thinking about that at breakfast as I contemplated yesterday's alternate worlds. Most people, I think, have televisions and often live in the world of their favorite shows, but only for a brief while and frequently interrupted by both advertisements and "reality" of phone calls or family. I do not have a TV so I live in the somewhat more intense world of books, music and occasional movies all of which I think are more involving than the taken-for-granted TV. [That is a conjecture and may not be true for some people.]

Yesterday I discovered an opera by Franz Schubert, Alfonso and Estrella. I hadn't known Schubert whose music I love. The opera was never performed in Schubert's brief lifetime. [He died a 31] and for good reason. It has a stiff and silly fairy tale and, unlike most serious operas, ends with rivals acting nobly and everyone happy whereas most such operas would have one being killed and a long death scene. The production done at the time of Schubert's 300th anniversary celebrations in Vienna has perhaps the most awkward stage direction I've seen outside of high school auditoriums. However the music was mostly Schubertian lieder with Thomas Hampson in magnificent voice. For 2 hours in the afternoon I was in a strange world of enjoyment and intellectual befuddlement.

In a totally different place and time, I spent the evening reading the last 100 pages of a novel called The Raven by Peter Landesmann set on the Maine coast in the world of lobstermen. The time was mainly 1941 -- an insular and difficult world of watery death. The Raven was a pleasure ship that went down with 41 people aboard [based on fact] and no explanation for what happened. The book gives us many of the people and solves, eventually, most of the riddle [fictionally only]. Intensely written and engrossing.

I marvel how easy it is to move between a silly story of warring kings and young lovers to the dour, fog shrouded Atlantic and all the while go about the odds and ends of daily life. It's certainly an interesting life. Later today I will contemplate my to-read shelf and begin another adventure into some other world, meanwhile, in a couple of hours I will sit in a room with 25 or so contemporaries and talk about Mark Doty who has created a world in poetry I partly know but look forward to knowing through his eyes. At a later point today, I will go into a world of my own making as I work on what I am writing. As Kurt Vonnegut said, "and so it goes."

No comments :