Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ancestors, writing and singing

Last night I spent my 'blogging time' in uploading a bunch of photos of various relatives onto the Hannagan blog. These particular relatives all arrived on this planet before me - in fact, I wouldn't be here without some of them. The oldest is my great grandfather, who must have been born somewhere around the 1830s or 1840s. His daughter, my grandmother, was born in Germany in 1873, and my father arrived in 1902. Alongside these relatives are some great uncles, a great aunt, my grandfather and mother. Regrettably, I know very little about most of them.

Just came across an article by Joseph Epstein (called Blood, Sweat and Words) which finishes by saying:

I have never liked to suggest that writing is grinding, let alone brave work. H. L. Mencken used to say that any scribbler who found writing too arduous ought to take a week off to work on an assembly line, where he will discover what work is really like. The old boy, as they say, got that right. To be able to sit home and put words together in what one hopes are charming or otherwise striking sentences is, no matter how much tussle may be involved, lucky work, a privileged job. The only true grit connected with it ought to arrive when, thinking to complain about how hard it is to write, one is smart enough to shut up and silently grit one’s teeth.

That rather sums up the job I do now. I've looked at labourers working in the street sometimes, and thought: how do they do such a strenuous job each day? Well, I guess, we're each built for a different part of the global task....

Had a practice tonight with three of the singers who'll be in the concert that's being presented on the 12th of this month. One has had a similar sort of stinking cold to the one I've just got over; another had no voice at all last time we practiced, and is only just getting it back now; and the third was in fine fettle. But another singer, who was supposed to have been there, has a cold. Let's hope and pray the cold doesn't go the way mine did, otherwise she'll be struggling to sing next week.

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