It is important in life to have the right tools. That is why, after spending the afternoon at the Honeas, with four or five or six blue plastic cups with champagne (with orange vodka from Mary Frances’ freezer), I am glad to have bought this last week a tilling fork and a “claw,” so that I might break free the soil in my herb garden, bound by weeds and grass not yet killed by sprayed herbicide. My neighbors, who were watching (I know because they interrupted me, this Eastre afternnoon), are lucky that it’s chilly enough that a) I kept my jeans on instead of donning my kilt, and b) as Jeff has mentioned elsewhere, that I kept my kilt on.
It is also important, when you’re fretting about theme and variation and orchestration, to have Beethoven and his sixth symphony on your iPod Shuffle as you till your garden, so that you can listen to that first movement over and over to find out his secrets, his manipulation of those very simple motifs, over and over, broken up into serviceable bits, layered upon layered, saecula saeculorum, amen, until you are lost in the purity of it all: idea multiplied until it’s whole. Listen to it: it’s all there, nothing wasted, nothing extraneous. It’s all there, guys. Listen to it.
This is why George Lichtenberg eventually abandons his work. Anything else is surface.