Our eldest son, Roger, Professor at U.C.L.A., visited us for a few days this past week.
He made some interesting comments in his own blog.
Here’s a copy of what he has to say.
January 7th, 2008
Throwin’ it all away
I find it alternately terrifying and comforting that the whole physical planet, along with the complete works of Shakespeare and Mozart, will someday be burned up by the sun and gone forever. It served its purpose for this planet over this period of time, and now, BLAM! gone in a flash. There is no guarantee that the atmosphere, brains, and hearing apparatus for beings on other planets could ever figure out how to hear our music.
I bring this up, because while visiting my parents in Phoenix the other day, who are busily packing and downsizing to move to a smaller home, my mom told me that my father, a former minister, had thrown away hundreds of tapes of his sermons. Gone, forever. “Honey, don’t you think the kids might want to listen to them someday?” “No.” End of conversation.
Sermons, like meals, and like musical compositions, serve their functions and then fade away, subtly incorporated into the person who heard or consumed them. We don’t get to be like the plastic arts where we can reside on someone’s wall for their entire lives to be looked at and admired. Music is becoming less and less material. LPs became cassettes became CDs became non-material downloads. I always say that I devoted my life to something that evaporates in the air. Voila!
In my garage, I am assembling all of my manuscripts. Do I REALLY want to keep them all? Our librarian insists “you bet we want them.” And then I remember Varese and Brahms who burned all of their early work. And my dad, who tossed recordings of his sermons. Hmm, guess I’ll have to think about it.
It’s always fun to see how your own kids view you. Especially when they seem to understand.