Mit wechselnden Händen

I’ve started reading Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann because my favorite music critic seems to write about it frequently, which piqued my curiosity. The first 27 pages have not quite grabbed me…  which may partially be because I tend to only read it when i am less than half awake, on the train to and from work, in between yawns and while reading one trashy article after the next on the tragedies of various celebrities on my iPhone.

But then I arrived at this sentence on page 28 that I have spent hours trying to unravel: 

His was an artist’s life; and because it was granted to me, an ordinary man, to view it from so close-up, all the feelings of my soul for human life and fate have coalesced around this exceptional form of human existence.  For me, thanks to my friendship with Adrian, the artist’s life functions as the paradigm for how fate shapes all our lives, as the classic example of how we are deeply moved by what we call becoming, development, destiny–and it probably is so in reality, too.  For although his whole life long the artist {i like to assume Mann is not gender specific} may remain nearer, if not to say, more faithful to his childhood than the man who specializes in practical reality, although one can say that, unlike the latter, he abides in the dreamlike, purely human, and playful state of the child, nevertheless the artist’s journey from those pristine early years to the late, unforeseen stages of his development is endlessly longer, wilder, stranger–and more disturbing for those who watch–than that of the everyday person, for whom the thought that he, too, was once a child is cause for not half so many tears…

That passage takes so many twists and turns. I’ve read it forward and backward and I still can’t wrap my head around it. And I will continue to try to unravel it until I surrender and move on to the next paragraph…. and then perhaps by the time I finish reading it, if I finish, it will make sense as a cohesive whole. But it’s maze-ness tangental-ness really intrigues me.

Earlier, I had my piano lesson with my current teacher, Fred. Fred is great but he can’t quite fathom why I can’t fathom what he is trying to teach me. I’m working from Bartok’s Mikrokosmos 1 (Nos. 1-36) and I have managed to get as far as Mikrokosmos 10, With Alternate Hands or Mains alterneés or Mit wechselnden Händen or Két kézzel felváltva. First I tried it without alternating hands… and I don’t think I even made it through. And then we tried it with alternating hands, which was a disaster. And I turned to Fred, and I said, “I’m sorry, Fred, but I’ve hit my wall.” And Fred said, “No you haven’t. Let’s just try the right hand part again.” I really really wanted to end the lesson, right then and there because I knew that after another attempt with the right hand, he would ask me to try it with the left hand, and then once again with alternating hands. And I knew that I wouldn’t be able to improve upon the previous attempt. And every fiber of my being wanted to get up from the piano bench and walk out the door into the icy night. But Fred would not allow it, and it was too cold out, and i was too tired. and submissive.

As y0u can see, I can get frustrated so easily. so fragile am i. But on the plus side, I am not very good at accepting or admitting something as a defeat.

About The Lost Pedestrian

In my wanderings throughout the moments/days/years, I try in earnest to find the mystical within the mundane and the mundane within the mystical, oftentimes confusing one from the other. I have wandered and roamed through many a city, many a town, in a state of wonder and bewilderment, without necessarily going anywhere. I am easily lost, but eventually found. (I am guessing you have just found me). My sincere hope is that you will find Something in this warehouse of thought, memory and false memory, words, numbers, tangents, murmurs, echoes (lots and lots of echoes), voices, dreams, and other paraphernalia.
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