Miscellany 18: Great Music, Making Changes, and a Bit of Fun
This last week I’ve been greatly cheered by a marvelous CD: Malcolm Guite’s new album Dancing Through the Fire. I knew it would be a great folk-rock album from the outset, having heard a few tunes from previews on Malcolm’s blog, but I was unprepared for how flat-out great it is. The various songs (all written & sung & with guitar played by Malcolm Guite) show how marvelous it is when top-notch poetry and music meet and dance with each other. Perhaps what I appreciate most about it is that over the course of the album we get songs that touch on love in all its depths and textures: heart’s longing; love lost; fidelity in married love; passion; joyful love shared; and even the poet’s love for his muse!
Here is an excellent piece by Kelly Belmonte at All Nine Muses, worth reading carefully and thoughtfully, on change. I think she’s on to something important here: that change has different components; that the weight of those different components varies in different situations; and that change does not have to be linear in order to be positive and sustainable. Change is inevitable, but as Kelly wisely points out, “We choose to be active or passive in the context of change in our lives.”
Now just a little bit of fun: the origin of everyday punctuation marks. People had to invent these, after all – the exclamation point didn’t fall from the sky one day (good thing; it might have speared someone). My favorite: learning that the # symbol is really called the octothorp. (I am baffled as to why it’s called the ‘pound sign.’ If it were the symbol my British friends used for currency, I’d understand, but as it is…) Now, for a campaign to get all automated phone systems to say “When you are finished entering your account number, please press octothorp.”
Update: it seems I am not the only one who has an appreciation of punctuation (hooray!). Malcolm Guite has even written a delightful little poem about the ampersand, which happens to be one of my favorite punctuation marks (what, doesn’t everyone have favorite punctuation marks?) . Here it is, shared with permission:
“Ode to an Ampersand” by Malcolm Guite
Lovely little &
easier to type than “and”
your squiggle curls around and round
cute and curvy like the £
you belong just where you are
between the ^ & the *.