Friday, March 06, 2009

Harking Back with Horatio -- Black

"That would be good for him. Just be nice," she wrote. "When I was leaving for France I'd hoped to hire him out. But we didn't have any takers." Lydia was referring to Horatio, who has a rich, full voice, and stands about four-and-a-half feet tall.

Horatio, my young friend's cello, has languished with nothing to do since she left for a year of study in Nice, last summer. And now I, who only ever had my hands on a cello for one weekend's brief musical flirtation -- and that, forty years ago, am afforded the honour and daunting task of trying to make him sing (in private of course!).

For me, it's like trying something new, and yet not altogether new. With Horatio, I have a harking back to my youth, to when I played double bass -- the cello's big cousin -- in the Glasgow Schools Symphony Orchestra; but that stint ended almost a half-century ago. The experience and technique employed in playing the one instrument, although gained in distant decades past, are factors I hope to draw on in my attempts to play the other.

Many things in life are like that. My late mother, an avid knitter, took an interest in crochet, and found she had a head-start, in a familiarity with the medium and aspects of the form. Driving a car is quite different from driving a bulldozer; however, they share similarities and employ some related techniques.

Writing, I find, engages one in the process of harking back. As writers, do we not frequently draw on memories, lessons learned, and old familiarities pertaining to the sociological and psychological dynamics of our being human and interacting with our material, cultural, social, and spiritual environments? We draw from the personal relationships, emotions, and experiences of our own past, and from what we've observed in the lives of other people.

Life is a continuing school, an academy of learning, a place for building a body of wisdom -- solid material, laid down like sedimentary rock, layer upon layer. Or, picture life as mineralized water, naturally filtered through the gravel of experience, gathering in subterranean reservoirs of memory.

The writer -- whether philosopher, writer of teaching text-books, biographer, novelist, or short fiction writer, or journalist -- hews out and builds his or her work from the rock of experience, and along with the poet and songwriter, draws from the deep well of lessons learned in life. However often the bucket is lowered, it need never run dry, for the longer and more meaningful our living, the deeper and more adequately supplied the well. Hewing from the rock or drawing from the well is a harking back.

I don't suppose I'll make Horatio sing very well; I'll be happy to make him sing at all. And I may never write a best seller; however, as I hark back and hew from the rock and draw from the well of experience of the grace and mercy of God, I hope that what I write will raise my readership's gaze to a level where they will catch a vision of His glory and grace that will cause their hearts to sing.

~~~ Psalm 95:1 (NIV) Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

~~~ Peter Black's first book is being read and enjoyed by children and adults in various settings, such at home, Bible Club, Christian school, church, seniors residence, etc.

Peter also writes a weekly inspirational column for The Guide-Advocate, a community newspaper in Southwestern Ontario. E-mail: .


Judith Lawrence said...

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your blog, Harking Bach with Horatio. I always enjoy reading your words.
What you say is so true--we draw from the well of experience and yet continue to learn new things
I find myself at 71 learning more exciting ways of presenting my writing and am loving the opportunity technology is giving me.
I have been doing monthly meditations on my website for over three years. Last November I began to record my meditations as well as having text. Next month, I plan to add music to my spoken word.
The more we do, the more experience God gives us.
Enjoy every note of Horatio.
Blessings, Judith Lawrence

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Dear Peter,
I think that you last sentence expresses the heart desire of every Christian writer, that we can raise the gaze of the readers to a level where they will catch a vision of His glory and grace that will cause their hearts to sing. Thank you for blessing my day with this thought.
Eleanor Shepherd

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