In 1934, a New York copywriter by the name of Robert Pirosh quit his well-paid job and headed for Hollywood, determined to begin the career of his dreams as a screenwriter. When he arrived, he gathered the names and addresses of as many directors, producers and studio executives as he could find and sent them what is surely one of the greatest, most effective cover letters ever to be written; a letter which secured him three interviews, one of which led to his job as a junior writer at MGM.
Fifteen years later, screenwriter Robert Pirosh won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the war film, Battleground. A few months after that, he also won a Global Globe.
via Brain Pickings
(letter from E.B. White to Mr Nadeau, who sought White’s opinion on what he saw as a bleak future for the human race)
Ahhh amazing. After reading (and thoroughly enjoying!) the book, what a great discovery that was.
Well, everything except mostly the last part which simplifies and rushes the plot and does not really keep up with the book’s mastery.
As of the book I’m sure I will find myself reading it again sometime in the future.
May this be your resolution for the new year: Grow and find a person that helps you grow even more.
via Brain Pickings
Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts.
It was a matter of luck or fate that I stumbled into this book at a second-hand book market in downtown Athens. It was left unnoticed at the stand as people’s attention was drawn to more popular or modern titles as is usually the case.
In a sense I was also left unnoticed at that period in my life, having a nice job in Munich, I met a girl, followed her to France, that didn’t really work out and here I was, unemployed and alone back in Greece trying to figure it all out.
We matched I thought, so I bought it.
Little did I know that it would change my life.
Little did I know about classical music too, having only a vague remembrance of musical terms from a few lessons we had back in highschool. Truth be told I could not understand much and was almost giving up on it until…
The book contained the audio transcripts from episodes of the Young People’s Concerts series (broadcasted in the US during the 60s), and that was the first clip that I came across while looking for them.
Suddenly it all made sense. What I had been reading on paper I could now understand and feel hearing the music. I was hooked, and alone in my room for days I binge-watched and binge-read anything Bernstein related that I could find. The discovery of classical music offered me the much needed consolation at that time and music being a lonely activity forced me into introspection.
How else, if not by introspecting, can one select among hundreds of interpretations the one that really connects with his emotions and mental state? What difference does it make in your soul the precision and sharpness of this or the intensity and power of this? Which interpretation do you like and why? What feelings or memories do you get?
The answers are inside us.
Music was the catalyst, and with its discovery I was discovering myself. That process of self-awareness resulted in greater confidence and inner strength, and the belief that no matter how difficult times can be I will always have someone to rely on. Me.
Now, in a strange sequence of events, here I am again in Munich facing the same dilemma. Different girl, different country.
In music there is a term when the beginning theme is repeated a second time; recapitulation. But then the theme is repeated in the tonic key, releasing the tension, concluding the piece in harmony and ultimately signifying that everything that preceded happened for a reason.
“Ancient of days! August Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul?
Gone – glimmering through the dream of things that were:
First in the race that led to Glory’s goal,
They won, and pass’d away – is this the whole?
A schoolboy’s tale, the wonder of an hour!
The warrior’s weapon and the sophist’s stole
Are sought in vain, and o’er each mouldering tower,
Dim with the mist of years, gray flits the shade of power.”
It grips you with beautiful descriptions of Japan, shocks you with harsh, almost racist remarks about its people and leaves you with disgust or pity for the protagonist who had sought after this cold and calculative illusion of a relationship.
In the end she is counting the money while he leaves her like this:
“Well, little mousmé, let us part good friends; one last kiss even, if you like. I took you to amuse me; you have not perhaps succeeded very well, but after all you have done what you could: given me your little face, your little curtseys, your little music; in short, you have been pleasant enough in your Japanese way. And who knows, perchance I may yet think of you sometimes when I recall this glorious summer, these pretty quaint gardens, and the ceaseless concert of the cicadas.”
Well, what a great affair that was.
P. Loti (right) with “Chrysanthème” and his friend Yves in Japan, 1885.
What is love?
The harp, those tingly feelings in the stomach when you first realise you miss someone…
The cello, yearning that doesn’t subside but only becomes stronger and stronger…
(0:13 “I can’t stop thinking about you…about you…“)
The clarinet, anticipation, and in the background your heart palpitating nervously.
When finally you meet, violins like your feelings, unfolding slowly at first, till deep from within everything surfaces, emotions coming to you in waves, and the harder you suppress them the harder they return, they overwhelm you, they erupt into passion and you surrender…
You often ask yourself:
03:49 “what will be the end?”
What is doomed love?
Do you hear the train coming?