This Is Your Brain On Music

January 19th, 1937, Saint Mark’s Place, Manhattan, Maggie’s diary continues:

Thea Rasche, German Aviatrix:

Beautiful snowstorm.  Blew over to Hearn’s for more 94cent wine, and bottle of Dunhill’s rye at 2.24 a quart to try.  Snow drifted on paunch and looked very funny.

M. home at night with more Racusin tales.  He’s working on a story about Thea Rasche, a German aviatrix, who was reported shot by the Nazis for being a Communist spy.  Miss Rasche wasn’t a spy, so she took a boat over here and sued the Herald Tribune for a quarter of a million dollars, saying she was a good Nazi etc…  Am reading Chesterton and rather struck by his saying that men are now crying World War futile and proved nothing all wet; for the war was not supposed to do more than keep Germans from annexing rest of Europe and that it did; the book says man who repels a burglar does not need to become finer man in consequence, mere fact he is still alive and in possession of what he had to begin with sufficient excuse for having repelled burglar.  President inaugurated in pouring rain, much twitting on this because of new date but March 4th was often bad too. G.M. strike still on…

And What Was Her Granddaughter, Yours Truly, Doing on January 19th?

Bethanie Yeakle, singer, songwriter, musician:

Aaah, my innocent grandmother, with no knowledge of what those Nazis would do in the next few years, that another World War was just around the corner, that soon she would be a young mother on rations. But right now she is enjoying a snowstorm.

We got snow at exactly the same time as my grandmother.  A wet, heavy snow that people had to make their way to the salon in. Bethanie Yeakle came tonight.  It was like sitting in my living room with Joni Mitchell but not Joni Mitchell because Bethanie is incredibly unique.  She has the most magical, haunting voice.  Her voice makes you want to run out and make love or dance your stockings to shreds or lie in the snow and look up at the stars and dream up a million daydreams.

She wrote a song in salon tonight.  Or started one.  And when she read aloud, she sang a capella to us.  It was just me and Ross and Michael and Bethanie tonight, and we listened with our jaws to the ground.  Michael, who is just this minute back from a month long trip to Thailand and Cambodia, we are so happy he’s home, told us about a book called This Is Your Brain On Music, which it sounds like all artists should read. The book says that in order to master any art, you have to practice for 10,000 hours.  I pointed out that those should probably be 10,000 loving, joyful, fun hours and all agreed.

Our prompt tonight was to study Shelby Lee Adams’ photographs of Appalachia and Wyeth’s Helga pictures and write from the inspiration of those faces.  We all talked about how the arts run into each other like watercolors, influencing one another, so that to look at a photograph or a painting or to hear a song can send you flying toward a new creative horizon faster than just beating the keyboard everyday. Although that’s not bad either.  Fred called in to say he couldn’t come, but to report that his character, Mirec, is on the roof smoking cigarettes, because we all like to know what is going on in his novel.  Here’s a little sample of Bethanie’s music, which will blow you away, so just be careful that you are securely seat belted in.  S My computer got the flu.  It’s called malware.  Every single file got wiped out. Thank you God for my little flash drives, which saved everything.  Until tmw everybody…

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