This Great Society - Arts

 

 

Illustration: Jim Boraas


Jim Boraas: The Sun

The Sun started with the idea of writing a piece of music sympathetic to the motives of a fictional character named Meursault who, in The Stranger, is put on trial for murder. Within the context of the novel there are rational motives for his actions including the fact that his victim has stabbed one of Meursault's friends and seems to be threatening his life as well. However, at the time he is acting Meursault is aware of no reason for his actions beyond the motivation of the extreme heat on the beach and the glare of the sun.

The finished piece is influenced heavily by my own experience of the beach and the sun. Since this song was written in November the key images are the perpetually dusky midday light on tree branches, tankers fading from silhouetted blocks into loose constellations of signal lights on the Salish Sea, biking the black path of the Sea Wall eastward, cold, wet. The sun setting in late November is like the moments before rainfall. Staying out to watch the constellations in the rapidly cooling darkness is like standing under the clouds, feeling your hairs twitch with the humidity and changing pressure until the rain begins. With every downpour the sensation is stronger.

Our own experiences, focusing the senses to inform the intellect, combine with the effort of the intellect to store knowledge in the senses - the insights of people far removed. The process helps us make sense of what we have felt. Through the synthesis of feeling and thought comes our expression: our words, gestures, music; we learn to examine our quiet motives and respond more passionately to those we admire while sending the rest back to the constellations that bore them.

 
   
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