A thought

14 Sep

I can’t find the passage right now, but somewhere in Thomas Bernhard’s Old Masters, the character Reger talks for awhile about experiencing his favorite art fall apart under examination. If you really look at it, I remember him saying, the painting ceases to have meaning. All those sublime feelings you remember having upon viewing the work aren’t there anymore, and actually you wonder if they were ever there. Even his most cherished paintings by his favorite painters, I remember Bernhard having the narrator recall Reger saying, don’t really hold up to scrutiny. The same goes for writing. Some Austrian favorite, who Reger had loved as a young man, he had reread recently and recognized that nothing was there. Bernhard, or rather Reger as, i believe, Bernhard’s mouthpiece fitered through the consciousness of the narrator, spends pages circling around this idea and filling it out with obsessive detail. It becomes rather convincing and it was, for me, depressing for a few days. Then it became liberating, as I listened to some music I really like but had never listened to super-closely the entire way through and I saw holes, or rather I heard them, and I thought, I can do this too. If that person has holes in his music and they make some of the best music, then I can also make music and there will be holes and that’s ok.

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