The Salamander’s Memories

I’ll walk the road to beyond the horizon

I’ll live in the forest where nobody’s been

give me your necklace, I’ll carry it with me

as you bore the baby, I’ll carry the sin

Please don’t cry yet, love, I’ve not finished packing

our child has woken inside of her room

settle her down while I ready my horses

her hands are so tiny, I’m leaving so soon

I’m cold and alone and I’m missing your presence

I look in the fire and think of the night

they burned what was left of my hosue with their torches

for I loved you, and they said I hadn’t the right

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Bold

It was a bold experiment.
An accurate description for this site, for what such descriptions are worth. Unfortunately, I no longer have the time to continue such experimentation, as evidenced by the lack of recent content here. Thus, the site shall be maintained until mid-October, when my subscription with the hosting agency will run its course and I cease to have reserved the web domain http://www.gnomepoiesis.com. I may make a few more posts by then, but, as of now, I no longer have the will to continue the maintenance of this site.
Thank you for everything
Trip Venturella

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Questions I’ve been consideirng.

There are currently so many topics in my head that I’m having trouble typing them all.
Does technological progress encourage intellectual hegemony or diversity? Is an internet subculture, with no real life equivalent, as legitimate as a real life subculture with no presence on the internet? What technology will come to replace the internet? Is the internet really, truly free any more? Is it past its heyday, in other words, has the encroachment of entities interested primarily in controlling online space for monetary gain compromised the freewheeling, DIY geek culture responsible for the massive economic, informational, and social changes the digital world has brought us? Where is the digital world bringing us?

Is China regressing to its pre-republic state?

Why do I hate being classified as “Generation Y?” Shouldn’t there be a better term for those my age than an extrapolation on the generation that came before us? What the heck are we doing to change the world? Will we?

Why can’t I find a decent pair of computer speakers, and why don’t computers seem to come with decent speakers any mroe? Has the iPod market cheapened the way we listened to music? Will the concert of the future be streamed live through the internet to your personal music player?

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From the World of Words

The word “Tragedy” is from the greek “tragodia,” from “Tragos”- goat, “Oide”- Song. So the tragedy is literally the song of the Goat. If you have ever heard the call of a pained ram, it is indeed baleful enough to warrant its designation as the wellspring of artistic sorrow.

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Fiction, II

Right now, I’m working running crew for the show “The Music Man” at Sharon Tri-Arts Playhouse. The show opened in 1957, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1958. Astoundingly, The Music Man beat out West Side Story for the Tony.

West Side Story is probably the most influential piece in American Musical Theatre. At its heart, West Side Story is, of course, Romeo and Juliet, but the story is told through the lens of racially-motivated urban street gangs of the mid 50’s. The extra music Bernstein wrote for West Side Story became Chichester Psalms. West Side Story was a game-changer, without it there would be no Rent, no Angels in America, no Sondheim (perhaps there would still be a Sondheim, but would he have broken the Rogers and Hammerstien mold without realism and melodic complexities of West Side Story?).

Why, then, did The Music Man win Best Musical? I believe that it is because it made the old men who were judging the Tony awards comfortable. The story is about a fast talking con man who makes a living selling boy’s bands. He comes to River City, Iowa, convinces the people of River City that the moral integrity of their community is threatened by the town’s new pool table, sells them the band equipment to “keep the young boys pure”, and eventually falls in love with the one citizen of River City that was suspicious of him, the librarian and local piano teacher. The messages of the musical: it was of no harm to the community to purchase instruments the children aren’t taught to play, there should be at least two six-minute songs about love by the leading woman in any musical, lisps are funny.

The Music Man, again, was released in 1957. Also in ’57: Dr. Seuss invented the Cat in the Hat, Betty Friedan released The Feminine Mystique, the Soviets launched Sputnik, the National Guard had to escort the Little Rock Nine to School. 1957 was obviously an influential year, but the Tony Award winner for best musical was a fiction about Iowa in 1912. More than anything else, The Music Man is an agreeable and contented fiction.
Fiction no longer has to be so complacent to be a commercial or critical success. Modern fictions (and by fiction, I mean almost every form of artistic expression) are partially valued for its ability to challenge us and incite very base, fundamental responses. Those who take their fiction seriously expect to be challenged by art and are disappointed when it seems cliche. But cliche today was heady stuff 50 years ago, and few take their fiction seriously.

Most fiction consumed today is a commodity, derived from a set of cliches that grew out of original work in the music and movie industries in the 1970’s and standardized primarily by large corporate entities based in Los Angeles, California. In other words, we’ve traded the standardized stability that came to its climax in 1950’s America for standardized chaos born when very bright people realized that the counterculture was a potential market. Today, scantily-clad ladies, explosions, wailing guitars, teenage rebellion and the like are tropes of the old media and the basis for our most widely-indulged-in fictions. We are no longer being challenged because what were once challenging topics are now institutionalized and sold to us shrink-wrapped.

We are today in a conflicted state where more art is consumed than ever but the making of art is considered the specialized persuite of the wealthy, the special, the “creative.” Making a living off of fiction in America is challenging today, though nearly everybody has access to innumerable methods to lose oneself in fiction. The most atavistic forms of art, theater, live music, sculpture, are now expensive luxuries…

When I have another three free hours, I’ll continue this.

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Fiction, I

Though I don’t update it often, I enjoy writing on Gnomepoiesis. I enjoy writing because I enjoy the responses, and I enjoy the fulfillment of expressing and exchanging ideas. And those diverse people who come and leave comments here, or simply come to read, apparently enjoy what bits of my life I share as well (at least, I hope it is in some way informative and enjoyable).

Something unique and unquantifiable is felt when creating something new. I’ve always wondered why we have that feeling, and whether that feeling is universal across people and culture or singular to the culture I was raised in. There has been a great deal of creative effort put into raising the quality of life, eliminating diseases, improving communication, producing more food, work done in the past hundred years by the specialized caste of scientists and engineers. But there is a great deal of economic value put into work that has no physical product, or that has physical products that seems simply to be decoration. Why does a human resource officer earn a living? Why a counselor? Why an artist? Why a movie actor? Why does a company need a logo designed by a professional graphic designer? Does it give the company more value? Why is a company valued in the first place? Why does a corporation have the same rights as a person?

In other words, what is the value of fiction?

I write fiction and poetry, but I don’t know why. It does make me feel good, but if I sell my rights to publish it to a magazine, why do they pay me? What am I contributing to society as an artist?

I would love to make a living simply on the products of my imagination. That situation, however, is unlikely. To illustrate, I’m going to drop some rap lyrics. This is the chorus of Aesop Rock’s song “9 to 5ers Anthem” off of his 2001 album “Labor” (you can listen to the song here)-
We the American working population
Hate the fact that eight hours a day
Is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn’t us
And we may not hate our jobs,
But we hate jobs in general
That don’t have to do with fighting our own causes.
We the American working population
Hate the nine-to-five day-in/day-out
When we’d rather be supporting ourselves
By being paid to perfect the pastimes
That we have harbored based solely on the fact
That it makes us smile if it sounds dope…

I pray you can see where I am coming from. I’ll get back in a few days, and see if I’m still on the same page.

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Whats on Trip’s Mind/Talk to me

Where do mystic philosophies originate from? Was Daoism China’s first philosophical system? Are mystical philosophies based off of noietic qualities (qualities that can be known, that can be conceived and quantified externally, if only we use the correct senses? Why is there a “World Egg” motif in so many mythologies?

Lets talk about rap. It wasn’t until this year that I began to take rap seriously as an artistic medium, though there is still a lot of rap on the airwaves that I have no respect for. Some rap artists I enjoy: Nas, Jay-Z, Common, Aesop Rock, Mos Def, Gnarls Barkley. Who, do you think, are the greatest rap artists? I find the pure, stream-of-consciousness wordwork of skilled MC’s, layered over original beats, the most important element in enjoyable rap. What do you find appealing/unappealing about rap?

Talk to me.
-Trip Venturella

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