The value of having standards (or values)

The value of having standards (or values)

The present series — the Serious series, if you will — about values has made me think of many things I value. One of those things is having standards, saying that I value some things over others.

I have on my desk a button I picked up at a rally for the striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians. It reads “i support cso musicians” across its middle; I’ll forgive the all-lower-case letters for such a viewpoint. Across the round top of the badge is “#stand with your musicians,” and I do. Across the round bottom of the badge is #keep your standards high.”

I do that latter hashtag, or motto if you prefer — and not only in musical matters. If I didn’t, I might use any spelling I wanted to use, any sentence structure — or non-structure — and just leave you to figure out what you want to think.

But I’m Margaret H. Laing, not James Joyce. I have my standards, and I will keep them. That’s how I can get my ideas across to you, and also how I can get my old ideas back to myself when I haven’t seen them in a while.

I learned that after a few years of writing in my diary. I’d use shorthand, since I was tired, abbreviations like “the usual Wednesday” or “a tough lesson with Mrs. C about that hard piece of Bach.”

Well, it wasn’t very long before I looked at those notes and thought “What went on Wednesday?” or “Which piece of Bach?” Even for myself, I had to have standards.

I valued (there it is again) looking back into the past, even the recent past, to find what I needed to carry forward.

As for other values, I have a small apartment. I literally don’t have room in my life for some categories of things. Also, when I do make room physically, I need to make room on the clock. Nothing is around me that does not get used — not for long, anyway. (I can think of some things I’d rather turn into cash.)

So if I value something enough to have it around, I think it is better than what I don’t keep near me. I think it is worth spending time with and something else isn’t, especially with recent events reminding me that time is limited.

So that’s why I’ve used this time to write about the value of things and concepts — because I know they have value.

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook. A stop there would be valuable.

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  • e e cummings could do what he wanted, but I don't do hashtags, twitter or fb. I might do @ signs.

  • In reply to jack:

    I just try to give you readers (and myself) enough references to have an index to these posts... including a Facebook connection to them.

  • I did the same with my notes in college. A next day or whenever I had a dickens of a time deciphering them. Clarity is indispensable in any form of communication. BTW, I support the CSO musicians. Without them, there would be no conductor, and no glorious sounds at all.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    "...dickens of a time." Yet you passed English Lit.

    "Without them, there would be no conductor, and no glorious sounds at all." Which get me to the serious point why the conductor gets all the credit?

  • In reply to jack:

    The word "dickens" is OK in lower case as a euphemism for something stronger. (I was going to make that "more foul," but I've never been much of a Charles Dickens fan, except at Christmas.)
    As for the serious point, you brought it to the right place. Conductors "get the credit" because they coach and unify the musicians and interpret the music that is performed. It's not the concertmaster (first violin leader), despite his name, or the leader of another section that determines what an orchestra does. The conductor is literally deciding how quickly things happen, "beating time" as (s)he understands the composer's intentions. Even in the case of a concerto, the soloist will bring his/her own interpretation, but should still be working with the conductor on the piece. For example, I have several CDs of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, and they are labeled with the name of the soloist (cellist) and conductor in equal prominence.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I brought up "dickens of a time" because nobody speaks of a "goethe of time," regardless of how it is pronounced in Chicago.

    I also brought up the conductor point because the wand doesn't make any sound. The combination of the violin, clarinet, tuba, and tympani may result in chaos without a conductor, but those instruments make all the music.That seemed to be the direction in which AW was going.

  • In reply to jack:

    Hmm, thanks. A goethe of a time might be a very Chicagoan way of freshening up that dickens of an expression.
    As for the instruments making the music, well, they make the sound -- but it's the combination of them with the conductor's baton that makes great music.

  • In reply to jack:

    And I had a dickens of a time reading Dickens. But I enjoyed every one of his books. I remember those rides on the Archer bus home when, if I were able to get a seat ---it was at rush hour---I opened my copy of David Copperfield and read about its hero, and Micawber and Aunt Betsey Trotwood. What cherished memories!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    It sounds like you had the bus travels with Dickens that I had with Melville ("Moby-Dick") last year. Good for you.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thanks. I think I had to learn that my diaries were a bit more of an official record than my school notebooks.
    As for the musicians, yes -- I carry tickets from the most recent concert and dress rehearsal (which was open) that I have been able to attend, and I hear a few echoes somehow when I see them.

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