April 16, 2009
"I Still Crave the Extravagant Gesture"
The halls of Likewise Books are alive on a regular basis with the sound of Over the Rhine music. This husband-wife duo have been making soulful music for a couple of decades now, with just the right infusion of jazz and alt-rock and lyrics that are crafted, not written. Pianist Linford Detweiler sent out a missive through the band's Facebook(tm) group this week, one that rambles a bit, the way people ramble a bit during the wee hours, but that offers some nifty insights into the question of calling. He encouraged his raving fans to pass along pieces of the whole, so I thought I'd excerpt it here; you can read the whole thing here.
Someone sent me this little excerpt awhile back, in a beautiful letter of encouragement I should add, the sort of letter that makes everything slow down, hold still:
Create spaces where good things can happen.
I posted that question and was told by a friend that I need better role models, but I haven't given up the notion. Books may be artifacts, but writing is a service--a service to the self, most definitely, but the best writing is a service to others as well: not just an information dump but a tilling of the ground so that the seeds of epiphany can germinate and flourish. Books are far too long to demand that they make a moment, but I think it's entirely possible for a book to prepare its reader for that moment when it does come. Meanwhile, writers continue doggedly in their craft, and I suppose experience the occasional moment of their own, which is as it should be. As Detweiler puts it: "If you don't do the work, the work can't change you."