A dream

(This is a dream)

I have been travelling on a highway far above a countryside lit by a beautiful day. My car is not really visible; it’s being used but one cannot see it. It’s really just me, travelling. I get to one portion of the highway, and it’s just a very large black cable, like part of a suspension bridge. I see all the cars slowly getting off the highway and carefully going down this enormous cable, which can accomodate only one car at a time, single file. I don’t think I can do it. Too high—miles above the ground—and too dangerous. I am on a wooden platform, hanging onto the railing, or the floor, scared and trying to figure out what to do. It’s foggy now, or cloudy. The wind is heavy and loud. I can see mountains in the distance, their surfaces thick with deciduous trees, and small lakes far below. A car pulls up behind me. There is a woman inside, and she watches my dilemma. She thinks I can do it. The wind picks up. I climb around some metal cables, inches in diameter, connecting the bridge and its components together. Sometimes I have to throw my body from cable to cable, using my weight against the wind, which blows so strong. It’s hard to imagine how the cars are driving down this much larger black cable, but they do, and continue driving away, down the cable and into the clouds. They drive very slowly. The woman says it’s a terrible part of the highway. We have to shout into the wind.

Then I am swinging on a soft, thick blue wire, connected to the bridge. I swing in large arcs, under and over the bridge, soaring way up further into the sky and then coming back down, then going up again. I hold on tight, because if I don’t, I will fall.

John Cage performance at Stanford University

This early October, while passing through California, I stopped at Stanford University to attend two concerts as part of the world-wide celebration of John Cage’s centennial. This was the only “deadline” I had on my trip; besides this concert, I didn’t particularly have to be anywhere, at any time. This was something I definitely wanted to attend. Being in Vermont a bit and mostly New Orleans for most of 2012, as well as being on the road, I wasn’t able to partake in any Cage Centennial events.

I was happily surprised to see some of my favourite Cage pieces in the program: Six Melodies, Cheap Imitation and Ryoanji. There was also a panel discussion, comprising Christian Wolff, Laura Kuhn, Walter Zimmermann and Kathan Brown.

I asked a question that kind of threw them off a bit, and they never gave me a direct answer. I asked if, because the majority of Cage’s work was determined  by chance operations (almost all of it post- (approximately) 1950), Cage had any other avenues for self expression, as he made a conscious decision to separate his musical and visual work from his own personal intentions. Cage’s personal life, aside from his relationship with Merce Cunningham, isn’t discussed much, and I’ve always wondered what sort of relationship he had with himself.

Anyway, here are some drawings I made in reaction to some of the pieces played, which included pieces by John Cage, Walter Zimmerman, Christian Wolff  and Frederic Rzewski (the amazing Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, previously unheard by me).