This website has no other purpose than to display Chris Barclay's apparent lack of writing talent.

Moonlight Brood with Scriabin and Rachmaninoff

Moonlight Brood with Scriabin and Rachmaninoff

I have recently realized a couple of facts:

  • The time I spend writing could be spent researching and reading about topics I have not yet uncovered
  • I know quite little about this world
  • I have immense trouble articulating my own words, thoughts, and experiences

I had a dinner conversation recently where the parties arguing required me to have all the facts and statistics at the ready. If I could not pull out numbers and statistics, my argument was completely flawed. I could not make sweeping generalizations such as "most people know about the internet" or "society watches a lot of media" without bringing up numbers and facts. I needed to find the numbers, come back, and then report to them how [specific number] Americans used [specific number] phones and then and how all across the world [specific number] people knew about the internet in order for them to believe my words. After researching each statistic, I'd have repeat the process again in order to make another sweeping generalization.

Philosophy is about logic, so it sucks that you cannot speak with footnotes. See, if I could pre-plan my words out in a neat little essay—so that I knew all of my opponents' counterarguments and rhetorical strategies and ways of getting off-topic—I could easily set up my words in a way that could maximize my logic. My words would then transmit from my mouth into the parties' minds and they could then look up in their brain the facts and statistics inside of their brain footnotes so that I wouldn't have to look it up in real life. Then, the discussion could roll smoothly instead of taking 10000000 years. 

Useless. My words were useless. My argument was ripped to shreds before my eyes as the conversation switched from topic to topic. Interrupting me with jokes and interjections and topic-changes, my opponents broke down my rhetorical wall until my argument had no sustenance left. It was at this point—when I realized my words were useless—where I laughed maniacally, and in a loud and obnoxious manner stormed out of the room, defeated in intellectual verbal combat. How foolish was I to believe that I could express my ideas without having someone prick and prod each idea until it was not the idea that mattered, but the syntax and word choice. "In the real world, Christopher, your professor is going to pull apart your argument just like that."

13 Chapters. I wrote 13 chapters that day, sitting outside on a wooden bench under warm streetlamp light and watching families play their games of tennis. These families brought beer and sodas, and played 2 on 2 tennis husband and wife in a tournament style until finally after 2 hours there were victors. Not well written chapters, but still something.

I wasted today, nothing done but waste of time. Homework tomorrow. Homework the next day. Homework Tuesday if nothing changes.

I am useless. I know nothing of what I'm talking about, and yet my mind is so stuck-up that it cannot admit its own uselessness to itself without a medium of written words. I simply cannot be humble, and I don't ever think there was a point in my life where I could.

A 19 year old Rachmaninoff brooding over a piano, commanding 3 strong fortissimos. A "grim C Sharp minor tonality that dominates the piece"(1) In the middle, Rachmaninoff moves from the strong fortissimo to an Agitato (agitated). Climactic, this agitation rolls through the rest of the piece until it ends silently in seven bars. In my mind, it represents youthful men and women, strong and agitated, yet lazy enough where they fall asleep into adulthood. The teenager is belligerent, yet more honest and raw than the experienced. Athena against Arakhne, why Pop Music first began to lead the music industry.

Rachmaninoff also made a song named "Lilacs" 

 Jacaranda Trees lining an endless pathway with vibrant color. It reminds me of "Lilacs"

Jacaranda Trees lining an endless pathway with vibrant color. It reminds me of "Lilacs"

1:38

Lilacs are beautiful flowers, but the Jacaranda tree is gorgeous. The time when the Jacaranda tree blooms is in the spring time, close to when students are expecting to take their exams. The name Purple Panic has been given to this time, as the tree sheds its delicate gorgeous flowers during the time where the students are kept inside to study and fill out tests.

In A Comparative Study of the Twenty-Four Preludes of Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninoff (2), Yoon-Wha Roh expounds upon the differences of esthetic pertaining to the preludes of pieces by Scriabin and Rachmaninoff. Preludes, she defines, are short pieces that precede a larger work or collection of works. They are "implicative and evocative in nature." I'm going to steal part of a quote Roh used:

By its very nature the Prelude is absolute music, and it cannot be confined within the framework of programme music or impressionistic music . . . Absolute music (to which this Prelude belongs) can suggest or induce a mood in the listener; but its primal function is to give intellectual pleasure by the beauty and variety of its form . . . Their salient beauty will be missed if we try to discover in them the mood of the composer. If we must have a psychology of the Prelude, let it be understood that its function is not to express a mood, but to induce it.
— Victor Seroff, Rachmaninoff (New York: Simon and S6chuster, 1950), 51

Roh's entire study is this brilliant comparative piece between two revered pianists who try to convey very different worldviews and philosophies about music, the world, and themselves. Rachmaninoff and Scriabin grew up in very similar environments, attending school together and discovering passions of piano. They both respected Chopin, and had some similar tastes in music. However, their attitudes towards life vastly differed, and I'll quote an entire passage because I think that it's interesting:

The very natures of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin had become diametrically opposed. Rachmaninoff was an introvert, closed upon himself and modest, while Scriabin was of an expansive nature, spoke freely of all his artistic plans and could not hide his feelings of superiority to those around him. He was proud and arrogant even in his relation to his former comrades. Rachmaninoff spoke little; Scriabin loved to talk. Rachmaninoff had no desire to compose anything extraordinary; Scriabin thought of nothing else. Rachmaninoff was sentimental and very friendly, while Scriabin was sensual and rather cold. Rachmaninoff gained his popularity through his simplicity; Scriabin’s was a complicated nature, which did not evoke sympathy at first meeting: he was all a pose, like a man walking on stilts. Rachmaninoff was not interested in philosophy and knew very little, while Scriabin became a philosopher-musician right from the start. However, Rachmaninoff recognized Scriabin as an important composer in spite of their dissimilar tastes, while Scriabin was indifferent toward Rachmaninoff because he considered his music only an imitation of Tchaikovsky’s, which he hated. He listened to Rachmaninoff’s music with difficulty and only when it was necessary. While Scriabin was all Vers la Flamme, all Exstase, Rachmaninoff brooded in his gloom with only an ultimate version of Dies Irae.
— Seroff, Victor I. Rachmaninoff. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950.

I reach a dilemma of self, whether I am more Rachmaninoff than Scriabin. Because right now, I'm both, and I cannot imagine how the ideals and pictorial evocations of Scriabin could ever fit with the sincere evident nature of Rachmaninoff's modesty. I'm inflated and ostentatious, yet deeply affectionate towards the simplicity of nature. I want to be happy, yet I want to be famed and well-liked. I'm either in brood or in awe, and I really, really want to pick a side.

 

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prelude_in_C-sharp_minor_(Rachmaninoff)

2: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/19861/Roh,%20Yoon-Wha%20(DM%20Piano).pdf?sequence=1

Elvis Presley and my new Novel

Elvis Presley and my new Novel

My Conversation with Christopher

My Conversation with Christopher