Charlie's Blog: In the Light


In the Light

And if you feel that you can't go on. And your will's sinkin' low
Just believe and you can't go wrong.
In the light you will find the road.
LED ZEPPELIN, In the Light

Sometimes, bands create songs in the studio that cannot be recreated live. "In the Light" is one of those songs. John Paul Jones nixed any ideas of doing this one live because he could not get the same sounds on stage that he could in the studio. This is understandable when you consider that the song is more about texture than notes. Its synthesizer and bowed acoustic guitar drone could never be heard correctly from the stage. Despite this, it is a great song.

I tend to divide bands into two basic categories. Some bands are performing bands while other bands are recording bands. For instance, the Beatles were a recording band. The Rolling Stones were a performing band. Sometimes, you get a band that manages both to a high degree. This would be Pink Floyd. I would also include Led Zeppelin. Both bands put out good albums and good shows.

Readers probably wonder what the deal is with these Led Zeppelin essays, but I have explained it before. I wanted to write a rambling essay, so I took a Led Zep song title for my essay--"Ramble On." Things went crazy from there. Fortunately, Zep recorded a lot of songs, so I have an endless supply of titles. When I do get to the end of their catalogue, I will probably run with the Doors.

When I write these essays, I listen to the song while I am writing. When the song runs out, I play a few more from the Zeppelin or perhaps some other band. It stimulates me a bit to pour out some stream of consciousness writing. Right now, I am listening to "The Rover."

Is it right or wrong to listen to rock music? This is more a problem for Baptists than Catholics, but it sometimes crosses my mind. Evangelical Christians adopted Christian rock music as an answer to the question, but it ended up in churches which is pretty bad. On the other hand, putting sacred music into a secular space has its own problems.

I remember reading an interview with Audrey Assad who makes a distinction between church music and secular music. I think this is an important division to keep in mind. There are things that are common, and there are things that are sacred. They shouldn't be mixed. This doesn't mean that you can't deal with the sacred in a secular setting. But a perfect evening for me is a Saturday night vigil Mass followed by a beer at a bar and some Motown on the jukebox. Likewise, I don't think the architecture of a church should be the same as the architecture of an office building or a home.

Everything we do is an offering to God, but some things are explicitly sacred while others are only implicitly so. For instance, a housewife that prepares a meal for her family does so for the glory of God but not in the same way that a priests confects bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ at the sacrifice of the Mass. Such things should be obvious, yet we have lost the meaning of it somewhere. Priests should be priests. Laity should be laity.

This confusion comes from Protestantism that has backwashed back into the Roman Catholic Church. The cool thing about the Latin Mass is that it prevented such nonsense from happening. The novus ordo opened the door to innovations that aren't necessarily improvements. I suspect people want to be entertained instead of being in communion with God Almighty.

I'm trying to stimulate my brain with strong black coffee, but the caffeine isn't working so well at the moment. That is the thing with automatic writing. You have to leap out of the airplane door without a parachute and hope a parachute appears before you become one with the earth. So far, no parachute. I'm getting worried.

These pieces seldom get written in one shot. I usually start them and experience an interruption which causes me to break from the writing. Then, I return and the same thing happens again. I have written these essays in four or five bouts of writing over the course of a week or more. I just dump and bleed into this thing whenever it becomes convenient. As for my personal journal, I started it, and I have forgotten it. I need to get back to it.

I have been watching the Republican National Convention this week. It has been a train wreck--thrilling and disastrous at the same time. I don't know about the future of the GOP. I just know the present is pretty bad. It also begs a question. Is conservatism dead? That is a hard question to answer except to say that conservatism is definitely a minority viewpoint in this day and time. It might be a fruitful subject for another essay.

That coffee is not going to do the trick for me today. Sometimes, you just have to abandon the writing and let it die in the cold shivering and alone. Sorry.