Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home-Building, Pueblo-Style

A musician friend of mine gave me a few chapters from The Dance of Life by Edward T. Hall, a study of how rhythms shape our individual lives and the way we interact with other people. It's intriguing enough that I'll be reading the rest of the book, once I get my hands on it.

Anyway, just came across this passage that resonated with me and thought I'd share. Discussing the different rhythms of Anglo-European American culture and Native American culture, Hall points out that before Anglo-Europeans build a house, they buy the land and secure the financing. Pueblo Indians, he says, do the same things but have one more precondition:

"Before a shovel of earth can be turned, all the right thoughts must be present. The Pueblos believe that thoughts have a life of their own and that these live thoughts are an integral part of any man-made structure and will remain with that structure forever. Thoughts are as essential an ingredient as mortar and bricks."

You Never Know (or, My summer reading so far)

I tucked into my first book of the vacation ready for some intellectual stimulation. Just because the sun is out doesn't mean I can't learn something that might improve me professionally, right?

The Black Swan turned out to be (as advertised) well-written and well-argued. Also an incredibly subversive read for a girl with a specialty in financial services who makes her living writing speeches for corporate types. This book could get me fired, I thought, even as I giggled my way guiltily through the author's dissection of...well, all the things that pay my mortgage, like narrative and causality and forecasting.

So my next selection - Brother Ray, the autobiography of Ray Charles - is turning out to be lemon sorbet for my overstimulated brain. And while I thought I would be reading it from my perspective as a musician, the speechwriter in me is extremely impressed at how the co-author, David Ritz, has captured Charles' voice perfectly.