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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Giving Thanks, 5..6..7..8

Since I've been behind, I'm doing a musically themed thanks for four days.... 5 6 7 8 (cue music from Chicago!).  One of the things that we are able to do in today's world is appreciate music and art and literature and theater. Since we don't have to spend all our day gathering food or trying to survive (well, most of us, God willing anyway), we have time to appreciate the arts, time to engage in stimulating conversation about the topics of the day, time to engage in the community and interact with each other.  The arts help us understand ourselves and make possible our understanding of each other.

Having completed a masters program in literature, I've seen the timeless stories - much of what Shakespeare wrote was adapted from other stories of the time, and we're still adapting them now.  Whether it's The Taming of the Shrew or 10 Things I Hate About You, the story is the same, just updated to a different time and place.  And it provides us a means of understanding Shakespeare's time isn't so very different in some ways from our own.

Theater is sometimes a companion to literature.  If you've ever tried to read a play it is dry and difficult - without the descriptions and nuances of a novel.  But once staged, the actors bring it to life.  Even a one man play can be very moving - I once saw John Astin performing as Edgar Allan Poe and it was mesmerizing.  A part of theater is also opera, combining story and acting and music - if you've never seen an opera (and it's difficult to get into sometimes), give it a try.  You can sometimes find a local community group performing, or even just a group that does a concert version of the opera, without the full dress and staging.

Music is something that is always around me - I have a habit of seeing life with a soundtrack.  And they say music is important, that it stimulates and challenges the brain.  Art can also be stimulating and challenging - just what is that modern painting supposed to be!   There was a lot of discussion about Picasso's statue in front of the Daley center here in Chicago - I'm not sure anyone knows for sure what it is but it sure is interesting!

The arts are not easy - we have to sometimes get out of our comfort zone to experience them, and they can be costly when we'd rather spend money on entertainment we really 'get.' But the arts are part of what makes us uniquely human, and I am thankful that they are available and in my life.

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