Just so there’s no question whether I’m a complete nerd or not, one of my very favorite television programs is American Masters on PBS. Mainly, I like it because it has to do with how it is hard (not like soldier hard or being born with a terrible disease hard, but hard nonetheless) to be an artist and all that self-indulgent hooey AKA the kind of hooey in which I very much like to indulge. Last night, there was a very good & inspirational one on Leonard Bernstein who would have been ninety years old this week. Among other things, the program talked about how it was hard for him to want to be alone & write when there were so many other interesting things to pursue like conducting & teaching & traveling & peacemaking & hosting fundraisers for the Black Panthers & having a most exhausting social life, etc., etc. This is something I relate to aside from the conducting, teaching, peacemaking, Black Panthers fundraising, & exhausting social life parts. So, Maestro, wherever you are, these last lines go out to you:
“It is enough, it is to be blessed enough, to live from day to day and to hear such music – not too much, or the soul could not sustain it – from time to time.”
from An Equal Music by Vikram Seth*
*An Equal Music is probably one of my favorite books published in the last ten years or so.
**The photograph is of young Leonard Bernstein, who was definitely hot. It’s one I took of my television as you can tell by the subtly embossed Thirteen logo…