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What Music Says

·996 words·5 mins·
2024 Quote
Jerry S
Jerry S
Table of Contents


What music says is that there is a right way for things to be ordered so that life might not always be tangle and drift but have a shape, an aim.

It was a powerful argument against the notion that things just happen.

– Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain


A group of friends and I had rented out a wonderful cabin next to a lake because we were going away on a ski trip. I’m not a skier but the cabin itself was worth it due to all the artwork that decorated its walls.

One of the plaques found in the cabin with the quote that inspired this post.

Somewhere on the internet I stumbled onto this quote:

“Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

-― Jean Michel Basquiat

I sat with these two quotes for a time and reflected. At a certain point they caused some sparks. If you want to read more about that sparks read on, or go here to check out more cabin artwork.

Decorating Space

I’ve never been good at decorating space and, by extension, at fashion. I have family members that are and they have shown me the way but with time I have come to understand it in my skin, in my movements, and in my words.

I’m much better at decorating space now. I have artwork where I live; in the past there would have been none. I dress better than when I was much younger. The spaces I inhabit are more pleasing.

How am I at decorating time? I’m getting there; I play exquisitely beautiful music from my Amazon account.

Art is like music. There is artwork that many will appreciate; there is artwork that few know how to appreciate. I focus on music that I appreciate. I decorate my time with that.

The first spark: Decorating time

Speech is like music. Words, conversation, and laughter also decorate time. How am I at that? Hahaha, not the best, but not the worst.

That is something that I’d like to improve in a certain way. I’d like to have my speech decorate time more beautifully. Writing down words is one thing, but weaving speech well is another. It isn’t just wit. It’s something more than that.

When I think about it this way speech feels like an opportunity to decorate. I had not thought of speech quite exactly this way. Not the way these quotes made have me think about it.

I want to create “speechwork” that plays, pushes, excites, and soothes my seconds and minutes. At times it needs to cut.

The second spark: A good order

When you paint you must paint by layering the colors in the right order to get a certain outcome. Some colors are left out, some are not.

When music is created the notes must be played in the right order to get a certain outcome. Some notes are left out, some are not.

When speech is spoken it must be spoken in the right order to get to a certain outcome. Some words are left out, some are not.

When life is lived it must be lived in the right order to get a certain outcome. Some experiences are left unlived, some are not.

Obvious, yes? No. Not so much, not to me. Even if it is obvious there are still many questions.

If the colors are painted out of order is it still a painting I want to see? Maybe not.

If the notes are played out of order is it still a song I want to hear? Maybe not.

If I say the wrong words can I still get to where I wanted to go in the conversation? Will it still have been a good conversation? Maybe, if I say the next ones in the right order.

If I lived the wrong things in my life can I still begin to live a different life? Maybe, if I choose the right things to live from then on.

So many differing answers are possible. Here are some more questions.

Is my life one song or is it many? Optimists will say many, and that the style can change whenever. Is my life just one book or many? We normally talk about turning the page and starting a new chapter in our lives. So just one book, but multiple songs?

It’s up to me to choose what to believe and the quotes above both help me choose my belief.

There is a certain order to this thing and that order doesn’t just happen.

It was a powerful argument against the notion that things just happen.

An Improv Artist

I went to a concert in New York many years ago to see a great Turkish artist named Ayden Esen. I got to see him improv music on a piano and I was astounded.

In a post concert interview he mentioned that as he is playing there is a space between when the idea comes to his mind and when he plays it. In that space he keeps asking himself “am I gonna get this right?”

A small Aydin Esen clip.

I never thought I’d get to understand exactly what he meant because I’d never play piano as well as him. I was wrong though and understand what he was saying and referring to.

In that space between thought and action comes the question now “am I gonna get this right?”

Things Don’t Just Happen

Things DON’T just happen. Not all happenings end up being music. I knew this already but not like this.

Am I playing my life right? Will it end up being music or not?!

God damn I hope so.

Extra Cabin Artwork

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Don Quijote and Sancho Panza
Dragon Fly Stencils
Quilted Aquarium
Fish in the Deep
Carnival Fish
Great Bush
Jumping Into A Tree


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