Saturday, February 14, 2009
I'm convinced that any author, particularly one whose work falls under the banner of non-fiction, will tell you that his/her work has an end-game in mind; a goal sought to be achieved. My work, Back to Schoolin': What Led Zeppelin Taught Me About Music, is no exception. In fact, the very title itself, is self-explanatory as to its essential purpose--that of passing on a body of teaching and understanding as compiled and absorbed by me, to my readers.
However, along with this more obvious purpose, is that of convincing my readers, perhaps somewhat subconsciously, that Led Zeppelin is indeed the ultimate rock band; the very locus crucis of rock music itself. It is acknowledged that music, as with all the arts, is appreciated on a gut, and individually subjective, level. This does not, however, supersede the notion that the arts can be analyzed with objectivity. The seeming paradox of a harmonious relationship between the subjective and the objective may for some be tenuous at best. And for me to hypothesize a notion of Zeppelin's rock supremacy is tantamount to attempting attribution of superiority of one member of the Holy Trinity over another. Undeterred, I maintain my stance that my subjectivity can be articulated objectively; that my hypothesis indeed does have firm basis. With that in mind, my goal is to educate on both emotional and intellectual levels.
Any attempt to present one's pre-determined bias(es) is precarious, fraught with an ever-present danger of disharmony as regards fact and opinion. And though my attempt to harmonize alleged polar-opposites (subjective/objective, fact/opinion), is perhaps fool-hardy, I'm ready to proceed armed with a sense of unshakable purpose. So, I offer the following dictum: I both believe (subjective/opinion) and know (objective/fact) that Led Zeppelin is the very embodiment of all that a rock group can and should be; they are the superlative example of rock music at its apex. My book unveils to my readers the multiple ways in which Led Zeppelin teaches me about music. Perhaps it also convinces even the hardest skeptic that Zeppelin is indeed the top of the Rock heap. If so, you'll know that you're learning from the masters.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Authoring a book is an experience with excitements and frustrations, successes and failures, self-congratulations and self-condemnations. But through the course of this roller-coaster ride, a sense of unmitigated determination must prevail; a pre-ordained belief that one's work is necessary, important, even...destined!
When choosing Led Zeppelin as my subject, inspiration is an intrinsic driving force. Their triumphs, their tragedies, their experiences and wealth of knowledge, all inform my own progressively developing musical path. Sharing this with others becomes an obligation, and a duty. However, inherent to any endeavor of teaching others (whether in a personalized or depersonalized setting) is a responsibility to be as thorough and accurate as possible as regards the information proliferated. No matter how much one has learned about a given subject, more can be known, and details must be clarified. A certain amount of subjective analysis is inescapable, but shoddy research and sloppy recall is not. But, perhaps most important of all, is an emphasis on implementation, so that what one learns is seen as demonstrable (where applicable.) This serves to authenticate what one teaches. It's one thing to regurgitate ones learning; it is quite another to demonstrate it from one's experience. Thus, the tri-fold tools of inspiration, information and implementation form a balanced triangle of teaching.
So, what of the hind-sight evaluation of my first book-writing experience? Though the process is rife with those previously stated highs and lows, I am convinced of this one thing: Back to Schoolin': What Led Zeppelin Taught Me About Music, is one more step in the generational passing down of musical knowledge and experience which is begun with Jubal (Gen. 4:21) and culminates with the song of the redeemed (Rev. 5:9-13). Since music ultimately transcends our empirical experience(s), Back to Schoolin' is, despite its author's many faults and lack of qualifiers, indeed necessary, important and destined.