A great post. (except for the presumptious title)

August 6, 2013

G, G, G Eb.    F, F, F, D.    Okay I know there is nothing to allow you to immediately decode this  cryptic notation unless you happen to be thinking musically as you read.  Even if you had been humming along with Mozart, there is no standard notation, no, lines or clefs or any other markings indicating what those letters mean.  There are no dots and dashes, so it isn’t Morris Code.  There are no vowels, so it’s not a word or words.  And, lol, it’s not some new cryptic texting shorthand.   It is the song of the White Throated Sparrow, and I think it has been inspiring people since at least 1804.

That’s one old bird! 

But if I were to hum those letters, or with no small amount of fortune, find the corresponding black and white keys on my wife’s piano, everyone, without exaggeration would immediately be able to identify the first eight notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. 

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers…”  Most of you know the next words, if not the entire address.  “…brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty…”  Some of you can finish it can’t you?

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far….”  Yep many of you know that one too.

I doubt that  Beethoven, Lincoln, or Lucas set out to make something as universally recognizable as they did.  They were, I think, trying to write, compose, create, something good.  They might not have even been thinking about great.  They certainly wanted better than average, but I doubt that any of them were thinking about fame, or wealth, or attracting chicks.  (Okay, maybe Lincoln was thinking about chick.)  They were, no doubt trying to muster every ounce of their individual creativity in an effort to produce the best of the best for their particular art form, but they could not have possibly dreamt that eight words or sounds would be so, so defining. 

The Fifth Symphony received a less than stellar reception, in part due to the fact  that Beethoven premiered the piece as part of a four hour concert!  Lincoln was done speaking before many even knew he had started, and he followed a very long-winded Edward Everette.  Lucas was inspired by Flash Gordon when creating his “crawl” at the beginning of the Star Wars saga.  He probably  knew that it would be important, and needed to be good.  But I’ll bet he never thought the words would be easily recalled thirty-five years after they were first seen.  He was simply trying to create a really good film.

My point, if I can make one, is this.  When you set out to be creative, whether it is a simple blog, a poem, a novel, a song, any creative endeavor, do your best.  Try to create something of value, something worthwhile, something good.  If you set out to do something good you may end up with great, but if you set out aiming for great you will probably end up frustrated. It seems that perhaps the best plan of action is for us to simply do our best.

Every time.

I think we must do our best, and pray for blessings, but to let greatness happen when it will.  When I paint a house there can be a reasonable expectation of near perfection technically, (insert eye-roll here) but when I write, I hope that I bless, inspire, motivate or encourage someone who reads my hardscrabble scribbling.  I hope it’s good, very good, even.  But if I tried for greatness every time I would never be able to open my laptop.

I think it was Shakespeare who said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”  But I’ll bet no one ever started out thinking, “This next thing I do will be great.”  We are simply fortunate enough to bump into it every now and then, and get blessed.

Try blessing others, that is something great, even if you don’t achieve greatness.

When we simply try to be good, or to do good,  we are headed down the right path.  

And keep listening to those sparrows.


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