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January, 2008

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Ode To An Ontarian Rhodes
To write for write's sake
By  Jennifer Edelson

he following is an ode to Rowdy... err, Beethoven. Last month, Rowdy Rhodes' column inspired me to write for write's sake, and Beethoven just inspired. So I ditched the everything and just wrote at breakneck speed and if you get a thing out of it good for you, but if not I'm sorry. I had fun doing it and it's a good exercise just like Rowdy promised. Even if it's not what he meant when he said just write damn it. Oh, and I didn't punctuate and it only gets worse from here, so here's my disclaimer.


I went to the symphony last night and heard Ode To Joy and started crying at first when the strings started playing and then when the choral group began to sing because it felt like for a moment the world got it right and I for a moment understood life and how beautiful things could be if I could only try to view everything through my ear as if it were a symphony instead of the cacophony I pretty much feel like it is so overpowering it reminded me that there is something greater than the things I fret about and love and covet and marvel over and that if I just keep writing maybe I'll get it straight like big B did and figure it out and if I don't that could be okay too because as long as there are things as beautiful as the ninth symphony in this world than at least I can hope that I'm not alone sinking into what sometimes seems like an oblivion or oblivious society that forgets how beautiful beauty is and is always looking for the one thing better than the many good things it has and maybe that's because everything is good and maybe it all depends on how you look at it and since we look at it all the time we have nothing to compare it to and so we don't see any of it at all for what it is.

A good symphony moves me to heights that make even the most seasoned flyer dizzy because symphonies are like wordless stories amazing litanies of epiphany passion elation and sorrow and the best make me heady with jubilation so much so I'm almost willing to reconsider all I think I know about the universe life and the spiritual world where oh to write with the fluid grace and heart-gripping tension Beethoven poured into his ninth symphony to reach my readers the way Ode to Joy resounds from inner ear to innermost soul to shroud my readers in the very same mystic passion  a movement delivers at its highest moment like a boa constrictor constricting each and every living organ like the darkest deepest allegro from the depth of a master tenor's soul overpowering fervor I feel like the mariner entrenched in his belief but then I hear and am free and no longer wary and ready to loose the albatross because I do see even if for just a few minutes and its funny since I'm suppose to hear but hearing has turned all my senses into one and sharpened most my vision.

Beethoven was deaf toward the end but managed to tap the depths of whatever it is that churned inside him and he was honest and did it despite the fact that he must have known he'd never enjoy the end result like us not deaf people who maybe wouldn't be so brave or maybe the joy was in doing it alone and not so much in being congratulated and patting himself on the back for doing such a good job like so many of us writers do or maybe it went down easier because he couldn't hear and only felt and so never really cared or at the very least knew he wouldn't really know the way some people would if he failed in the end like a bad transmission.

I wish I was Beethoven or maybe Rowdy or maybe even someone less in tune than I am so I wouldn't cry so much when something so beautiful moves me off my seat onto the floor where everyone stares and I have to explain I have a cold when I really don't because people are weird and think crying is a bad thing and falling off your seat even worse when I was just so happy to have something move me like The Plague did the first time I read it or the way my sons do when they call me momo and laugh and actually believe that I'm psychic  when I 'read their minds' because they're too little to understand that people are easy to read but not too little to appreciate good music or inspire good writing the way Beethoven inspires me to want to write like he composed music and by association move everyone with me to a house built around imagined perfection playtime and chocolate chip cookies wrapped in pages of Beethoven's music.
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Jennifer Edelson is a former practicing Minnesota attorney, now regular IN columnst, freelance writer and legal writing professor. Her writing has appeared on all the finest refrigerators in the Twin Cities. Jennifer can be emailed at:

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