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When I get discouraged about writing, I think on Philip Glass

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Philip Glass is known for repetitive structures in his music, among other things. Mr. Glass is famous (ish) today and you hear his music most commonly on film soundtracks. But not everyone likes those minimalist, repetitive structures (some members of the politburo of Kirkistan will sit for only limited doses of Mr. Glass’ music).

The 2008 documentary about Philip Glass contained quite a few unguarded responses to his music. Watch the film for the exact quotes, but the general sense people communicated to Mr. Glass as he developed his unique style was something on the order of “Please go away” or “Please stop playing that” or  “I think we’ve heard enough of that. Can you do something different?”

In a 2009 Esquire interview, Mr. Glass, said this about his resolve:

When I struck out in my own music language, I took a step out of the world of serious music, according to most of my teachers. But I didn’t care. I could row the boat by myself, you know? I didn’t need to be on the big liner with everybody else.

I often think of Philip Glass when I get discouraged about writing.

Writing is difficult, so says anyone who writes. Just like with anything worth doing, there are all sorts of missteps and problems and wrong directions and mistakes involved with getting a thought on paper. And then there is the problem with the audience. I might call it the Glass Problem: prolific production of something no one wants.

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But one continues forward. Despite responses. One must be just thick-headed enough to continue sorting out what it is one is trying to say. That’s what I understand when I think on Philip Glass: an infusion of courage to move forward despite all outward evidences that I really should stop.

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Image credit: IMDB

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Written by kirkistan

June 3, 2013 at 9:39 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] Philip Glass. Maybe you like his music. Maybe you despise his “repetitive structures.” I find his music […]

  2. […] I listen to. Certainly Mr. Bach and Mr. Mozart and Mr. Telemann and Mr. John Adams and even Philip Glass provide more soaring and more depth and more […]

  3. […] those Philip Glass moments occur, whether real or imagined, the writer without permission pauses and then continues the […]

  4. […] because she is quite accomplished. And of course we all know this is true. One need only think on Philip Glass or Hemingway to gain a bit of […]


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