Sunday, March 14, 2010

Claudio's Song

Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.

Nehru
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Yesterday afternoon I had a conversation with a woman I've known for many years. We're former colleagues. She's a stage manager. I was reminded about another conversation we had one day. During a break in rehearsal we were sitting together and I was talking about the role, the play and about acting in general. She listened to me with attention. Finally she said "Why do you talk about it? Why don't you just do it?" The question took me back a step. Of course I was doing it. Most of the day was spent doing it. I didn't realize I was spending my free time and her free time talking about it. I had to come up with an answer. If not right then, eventually.

I finally concluded that I talk about it because I enjoy talking about it. I enjoy analyzing things, particularly the art of acting. That's why it tends to show up so often in this journal. If I just talked about it and didn't do it I would be all mouth and no meaning, as we so often see these days on TV.

There's a rule in public speaking which goes: Tell them what you're going to say. Say it. Then tell them what you said. The same rule could be appplied in any of life's activities, although it's probably advisable to forget the first. Do it. Then tell them what you did. If you do it then you have the right to talk about it.

On the other hand you can do what my friend suggested, do it, and not talk about it. I think most of the doers in the world are not the talkers. The doers are those who identify the problem, gather the proper tools together and fix it.

Unfortunately, as Nehru points out, the world is full of the other kind. Go to any civic board meeting, any town meeting, any tenants association meeting and hear the talk. The Latest Up To The Minute News? A few tid bits of information then talk. A fact finding committee? Talk. A board meeting? Talk. The court is in session? Talk. Congress? You guessed it.

Someone, I don't remember who, perhaps you do, once described a committee as that which keeps minutes and wastes hours. I like the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee.

One of my favorite stories in the history of music is about the origins of opera. There are musicologists who will disagree with me about this, but it is open to opinion, and here's mine. During the Renaissance artists were trying to recreate ancient Greek drama which had recently been discovered. They didn't know much about it so they formed a committee, called the Camerata, whose task it was to come up with a consensus, design formal elements and put down some rules of writing and composition. They met for a long time, took expert testimony, learned a little bit about how the ancients sounded and looked. They were carefully and conscientiously designing a camel.

While all that discussion was going on, another man, Claudio Monteverdi, who was basically a song writer, invented opera. Monteverdi was a doer not a talker and when his first opera appeared on the stage everyone knew this was a new art form and it was exciting. Sung drama.

Opera is such an important art form that people are still writing them today, joining story, words and music into a theatre piece on the grand scale of the ancient Greeks. And thanks to Claudio we hove operettas, musical comedy and probably a few MTV videos,

I'm a talker as well as a doer. There's no one around here to talk to so I write. But at least I don't talk about writing. I do it.

DB - The Vagabond
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Weekend Contest Answer.

There were 3 winners (actually 4).
The Grand Prize, a set of aluminum doilies, goes to Barry of the Email Lions
Second prize to mrs. miss alaineus of the Blogspot Tigers
And a tie for third place between the Amazing Sister Act of Val and Krissy also of the Tigers.
Pacifica62 came in just under the wire for 4th place.

Which two items do not belong on this list?
-------------------------------------

Cuba
Guatemala
Iceland
Ireland
Madagascar
Manhattan
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
Sardinia
Sicily
Sri Lanka
Tasmania

The answer is Guatemala and Rhode Island. All the rest are islands.
Thank you folks.
Now here comes the Sunday Puzzle.
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Sunday Puzzle

The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.
A secret word opens the treasure chest.
Can you discover the secret word?

I'm found at MacDonald's.
I'm good for a view.
I don't take to camels.
But I might be on your shoe.

Good luck.
DB
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6 comments:

Gerry said...

My father's people were gifted analyzers, but I regarded it as taking the whole process apart of whatever it was and understanding it. I objected to the ones who were all action because they would make too many mistakes from not knowing what they were doing. When I started a job I would ask so many questions I annoyed some bosses, but when I got to the work I understood what I was doing better. Yes, the long winded sometimes need to be cut short by those with intuitive understanding and that happens, too. Cooks used to demand I learn short cuts in writing my orders. I always appreciated a job where I had to think and work fast. It speeded me up when I tended to overthink. I was amused by your discussion of how human beings go about doing something in a company. Yes, a lot of time can get wasted. I have learned to find tenants meetings a hilarious comedy. Most chairmen run because they get to talk non stop when they are chair. My dad used to sit in the back of the room when in cattle men meetings, etc. and say nothing, but when he spoke he analyzed it all so well he was thought to be a wise man.

Liz said...

The Chief Defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of String.
At last he swallowed some which tied
Itself in ugly Knots inside.

Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered, as they took their Fees,
“There is no Cure for this Disease.

“Henry will very soon be dead.”
His Parents stood about his Bed
Lamenting his Untimely Death,
When Henry, with his Latest Breath,

Cried, “Oh, my Friends, be warned by me,
That Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, and Tea
Are all the Human Frame requires…”
With that, the Wretched Child expires.
Henry King
Hilaire Belloc

I am not a talker or a writer I am a thinker...

Connie said...

well I'm going to take a stab and say 'sea biscuit'

Judith Ellis said...

Great post, DB. Thank you. Love the Nehru quote and also the one about committees. Both are generally so very true. I agree that the idea behind committees is to be a necessary catalyst for change, for action. Unfortunately, this is not what often happens.

krissy knox said...

Yes, you write. And very deeply, I might add.

krissy knox :)
Visit my main blog: Sometimes I Think
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Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I am a doer :o)