Thursday, February 18, 2016


I'm no better than anyone else, well, I suppose I am sometimes, who isn't? But when it comes to that hunger for extracting something more out of the art we love, there I am no better than anyone else. If there's some song I love, or a novel, a painting or a poem, then I am keen to hear the artist's insights and secret revelations on his or her work. Please Mr. Dylan, tell me of your secret messages. The fact that there are none doesn't stop me.

At the Riverview Open Mike Night one of my favorite regulars (see Feline Dementia) told the story of how Don McLean was once asked (again) what the song American Pie meant to him. He replied "It means never having to work again for the rest of my life."

Good one.

I believe some of the power of art comes from its holding in of opposing forces. Art is both whole and entire unto itself, and yet it is all open ended and incomplete. So it is inevitable that we become both hungry and sated in it. But the artist who has succeeded has already said everything important in the art itself. They are no more equipped to guide you into it than any other perceptive person.

Let's talk about me.

Every once in awhile someone will ask me about one of the pieces I write here. Setting aside that I am first delighted and surprised that the person asking has read my essay, and setting aside that I am honored that it has created interest, and setting aside that I am incredibly eager to discuss said piece, and setting aside that, really, I'd be happy to discuss my blog with you for hours, I, sadly, have nothing useful to add.

A favorite old time co-worker of mine, who still occasionally substitutes at my job, asked me about one of my posts the other day. I was delighted for all those reasons stated above. And it was an eminently reasonable and straight forward question. It had a simple answer that I in no way regret giving. But I am aware that all I really succeeded in doing with my answer was to let a tiny bit of air out of that essay I had written. All I had done was to make that piece a small measure more flat.

I knew if I had a chance, I could make those people dance, and maybe they'd be happy for awhile.

What does writing clerkmanifesto mean to me?

It means losing everything I make.

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If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

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