Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Beautiful Things: 11/19-21/08: Jeff, Rumi, Stacey: Three Keys to the Noble Life

1. Jeff and I have been friends for twenty-two years, ever since our days together as graduate students at the University of Oregon. We have traveled a lot of miles together to go hear a lot of music: Grateful Dead, Zero, Richard Thompson, Renegade Saints, Nine Days Wonder, Crosby,Stills, and Nash, Floydian Slips, and a lot of music and music talk passes between us, especially at LCC where we are both English instructors. This whole week has been one of our most robust in music talk: conversations about David Gilmour, the rest of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Zero, but the best talk has been about the great pleasure we get from the Grateful Dead. If there were doctoral degrees in Grateful Deadness, Jeff would have earned one long ago and he's generous with his knowledge (it's all about the music, not the Scene), happily shares his recordings, and puts up with me dropping by his office almost every day to talk about the ways the Grateful Dead made music and the many musicians who are part of the Grateful Dead family tree and jam band tradition. The Grateful Dead kicks the hell out of Paxil as an anti-depressant!

2. Rumi.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.

Like this. Like this.

I haven't been writing as much here on my blog lately because I've been devoting as much time and energy as I can to reading student writing and trying to help my students in their work. This is the best part of the term: in my World Literature class, my students are able to write with more feeling and depth about what we are reading and this week has been a particularly happy one for me as I read my students' diving into the mysteries of Rumi.

3. Stacey said in class Tuesday night that her way to live a noble life is to act upon the kindness and compassion that rises inside her when she remembers that we are all dying. She didn't mean this in a morbid way and last night in WR 121, we spent over an hour discussing Stacey's insight and I left class buoyed, with the highest regard for my students' intelligence and their longing to learn more about living a noble life and putting what they learn into practice. My gratitude has to go out to Dan O'Brien for the way he explores this idea in Buffalo for the Broken Heart. I'm sorry to see our study of this book come to an end.

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