02022-12-11 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Favorite Books of 2022 – The Marginalian:

The bittersweet is… an authentic and elevating response to the problem of being alive in a deeply flawed yet stubbornly beautiful world. Most of all, bittersweetness shows us how to respond to pain: by acknowledging it, and attempting to turn it into art, the way the musicians do, or healing, or innovation, or anything else that nourishes the soul. If we don’t transform our sorrows and longings, we can end up inflicting them on others via abuse, domination, neglect. But if we realize that all humans know — or will know — loss and suffering, we can turn toward each other.

Perhaps this is why music means so much to us, because music does bittersweet so well. Expressed in music it becomes such a beautiful pain. It makes us deliciously vulnerable. It opens up the heart. Can any other medium make us this sad and yet feel uplifting at the same time? I might feel this way because I am a musician and bittersweet sounds are dear to me. I am sure others get the same feeling from poetry or images. I have never wept at seeing a painting or reading a poem, although I might have come close… but music can do that to me. How about you?


  1. Steve

    >but music can do that to me. How about you?

    Absolutely. All the time.

    • JaneParham

      Me? I weep desperately with music. No sensation matches being so lifted and swept outside myself, burning, chilling, vibrating, floating effortlessly into a different world beyond. I often weep with poetry of Walt Whitman, songs of Schubert sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, anything sung by Franco Corelli, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Beethoven’s Fifth, myself trying to sing songs of Gabriel Fauré. I can hardly bear to go to a performance of Madame Butterfly as I begin to weep at the opening chords and never recover my composure. One thing of Hemingway crushed me:. A fictional want ad, “Baby shoes for sale. Never used.”. I can lose it upon seeing a magnificent horse galloping at top speed. “How can you live?” you may ask. It is not easy, but it is heaven.

      Wow! Please forgive me, but you did ask.

      • JaneParham

        I must add composers Hans Zimmer and John Williams, plus Aram Khatchaturian, especially the Spartacus ballet.

  2. JaneParham

    P.S. I am extremely moved by Ottmar’s divine music, but I felt a bit embarrassed.

  3. anne

    Music lights up parts of the brain – lots of research to back this up.

    People may have emotional and/or memory flash backs with certain music. Music therapy can be very helpful with some people.

    Music may even encourage neurogenesis….which is just fascinating to me.

    re -“If we don’t transform our sorrows and longings, we can end up inflicting them on others via abuse, domination, neglect.” …and manipulation. Good quote.


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