I'd trapped her — since I also knew she loved a perverse challenge. I wagered correctly. (There is a streak of perversity in creativity that I think we both respect greatly, a sort of glorious stubbornness, a willingness to double back against the current in search of gold.)

Opera itself is a kind of border state. It isn't burdened so much with the job of filling in gaps left by its tributary disciplines when taken on their own; rather, it triggers a different symbolic function altogether. It is grand only in the sense that it is absurdly maximalist, improbably matter-of-fact in its blunt contrivance of art forms. Opera is nothing if not bizarre. But this is as it should be, as filmmaker Werner Herzog rightly points out in his journals from the making of Fitzcarraldo, his monumental film about a man who undertakes to build an opera house in South America at the height of the Rubber Boom.

[T]he Grand Emotions in opera, often dismissed as over the top, strike me on the contrary as the most concentrated, pure archetypes of emotion, whose essence is incapable of being condensed any further. They are axioms of emotion. That is what opera and the jungle have in common. (Conquest of the Useless)
Before ever seeing or hearing of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, I saw with my own eyes the opera house in Manaus. It was something of the second variety of experience discussed earlier. I was utterly unprepared (the ideal state of preparation in this case) for the spectacle of a great opera house in the middle of the jungle, perched on the shores of the Amazon. The entire region is one of unlikely juxtapositions — the kind of place where pink dolphins come jumping out of impenetrably opaque river waters. I took a boat out to Encontro das ┴guas — the "Meeting of the Waters" where the dark waters of the Rio Negro and the muddy brown Solim§es run side by side at their confluence as two clearly defined rivers, before finally becoming one. The phenomenon is alluded to in tilework and art throughout the region. There are aspects of its poetic significance that are — like anything that moves us deeply — both difficult to mistake and profound with mystery.

 

 

— Occupational Borders: Between Work & Play —

"Idleness and the incapacity for leisure correspond with one another. Leisure is the contrary of both." — Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture

 

We allot ourselves a certain number of hours to work at our vocation, a certain number of hours to divert ourselves with any number of other things, and a certain number of hours to sleep. There is another status that is not quite "at work" and not