Broken Spear Vision Interview with Rev. Matthew Martin Nicoloff
About Matthew Martin Nickoloff
If there are a “chosen few” then I am not one of them, if an “elect” well then I have not been elected. I am one who is knocking at the door. I am one whose foot is on the bottom rung. But I know that Heaven’s bottom rung is Heaven though the ladder is standing where I work by day and at night sleep with my head on a stone. -Wendell Berry No one ever told us we had to study our lives, make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history music, that we should begin with the simple exercises first and slowly go on trying the hard ones, practicing till strength and accuracy became one with the daring to leap into transcendence, take the chance of breaking down the wild arpeggio or faulting the full sentence of the fugue. And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on everything at once before we’ve even begun to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin in the midst of the hard movement, the one already sounding as we are born. Everything else seems beyond us, we aren’t ready for it, nothing that was said is true for us, caught naked in the argument, the counterpoint, trying to sightread what our fingers can’t keep up with, learn by heart what we can’t even read. And yet it is this we were born to. We aren’t virtuosi or child prodigies, there are no prodigies in this realm, only a half-blind, stubborn cleaving to the timbre, the tones of what we are, even when all the texts describe it differently. And we’re not performers, like Liszt, competing against the world for speed and brilliance (the 79-year-old pianist said, when I asked her What makes a virtuoso?—Competitiveness.) The longer I live the more I mistrust theatricality, the false glamour cast by performance, the more I know its poverty beside the truths we are salvaging from the splitting-open of our lives The woman who sits watching, listening, eyes moving in the darkness is reheasing in her body, hearing-out in her blood a score touched off in her perhaps by some words, a few chords, from the stage, a tale only she can tell. -Adrienne Rich
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