Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Overcoming Writer´s Block and John Cage

It´s a familiar feeling. Staring at the blank page, trying to come up with words that would make sense. Sing for me -and hopefully for others, as well. Here is an actual published paper by Dennis Upper: "The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ´Writer´s Block`". The paper´s contents, from 1974, sum up the condition quite nice and neat.

Yes, that´s all folks. Nothing else to see. I assume "the block" got a strong hold on Dennis Upper, who succumbed to the beast. Just in case you missed a critical part of the paper, please read it again, in detail, over here. Reviewer A has very poignant marks on this writing. "Clearly it is the most concise manuscript I have ever seen -yet it contains sufficient detail to allow other investigators to replicate Dr. Upper´s failure."

This piece of scientific work (in all seriousness) reminds me of  "4´33"  by John Cage. If you have not experienced it in person, I highly recommend. Beats  Richard Wagner´s Siegfried, for sure. (Anyone been able to listen to it from beginning to end?)

As an experimental composer, John Cage (1912-1992) was interested in creating a soundworld out of various noises and "coincidences" around us in a modern urban society. In his time, he was either marked as a   talentless fool or a genius. This controversy marks his most famous work, "4´33". Cage used silence in his other works, as well, but never to this extent. Silence, however, is never just plain silence. Watch how the audience slowly becomes aware of being part of the performance themselves. They try to stay still and quiet -but of course there is no such thing. Even the conductor cannot hide behind his baton.Who is the object to be looked at?


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