Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Category: About Dad

474. Essay: Clearer Lines

For my drawing class I opted to draw the skeletons and the marble and plastic models rather than the nude model. I was prepared and more than willing to deal with the mockery and questions inevitably hurled my way from those steeped in a culture that no longer understands the concepts of restraint, dignity, and art. Here’s why.

Restraint

I believe it’s important to have boundaries for what you will and will not do. More important is knowing why you make those choices. For me, I don’t need to know intimately about any other woman than my wife. In fact, I doubt seriously that any marriage has been bettered by knowing more about another of the opposite gender than about their spouse. That’s how marriages are ended, not strengthened.

Dignity

I believe humans have immeasurable worth, both as individuals and as a distinct category of being.

Art

I believe art should reveal us to ourselves and invite us into the greater concepts to which we aspire: love, justice, mercy, truth, wonder, peace, selflessness. The greatest instances in the arts do not abandon us in the story at the height of displaying our selfishness, violence, or sensuality. They do not pursue those things for their sake alone, but neither do they erase all ambiguity, irony, and subtlety.

It takes precisely no talent to show a murder or nudity, but significantly more to hint at it without ever showing it in frame. (This is also how mystery and drama are well incorporated.) Even a cursory survey of seminal works reveals how the arts’ great pursuit is for the true, the good, and the beautiful.

I did not draw the nude model because that aspect of the assignment — the nudity itself — failed on multiple levels: it would not have brought me closer to truth, goodness, and beauty; it would not have revealed me to myself or invited me to “the aspirational perfections”; it would not have dignified the model, the medium, or myself; it would have short circuited my pursuit of artistic excellence; and it would have violated the boundaries and freedoms I now enjoy.

Clearer Lines

G.K. Chesterton said, “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” I would add that whenever art and morality intersect, those lines should be even clearer.

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424. Newborn Worries

Don’t worry. You’re going to be a great parent. Better than us probably.

403. Suggested Music: Marc Broussard

His Carencro album, specifically the song “Home.”

Incredible groove, but not difficult technically. The smokey character to his voice and the vocal acrobatics he is capable of are impressive. One reviewer likened him to a bit of Ray Charles; I happen to agree. Broussard’s live hurricane Katrina charity album shows those qualities off a bit more than the studio stuff, but that is expected. And his live drummer matches his intensity the whole way.

Listen to the studio version of “Home” by Marc Broussard here.

402. Quotes: Your Dad on Action and Responsibility

“What you do in the natural, tangible realms of life will either open or close the door to what God wants to do in the supernatural, spiritual realm.”

—Your Dad

398. Suggested Reading: Beowulf

Beowulf, the epic poem. Distant lands, grand warriors, mythical beasts, battles aplenty.

And I wrote a rap about it for a class project in seventh grade. And we acted it out on video. And I still have a copy.

396. Essay: Argumentation Categories

I believe there are four main categories of argumentation, with one subcategory that is combined as needed with the primary four:

  1. Religious: Either defending or vilifying the authority of spiritual works.
  2. Rousing: Appeals made on emotional grounds. Generally, these are smokescreens and hold negligible weight upon scrutiny. Because each side displays equal passion and because riling emotions is not the front where progress can be made, emotional arguments should be swept away almost immediately. This includes sarcasm and verbal sparring.
  3. Reasoning: Logical progressions, syllogisms, comparisons and contrasts, philosophy, and the like.
  4. Research: Clinical studies and meta-analyses. These, however, do not reflect true daily situations and cannot account for every possible variable.
  • Reality: The undeniability of our human experience; existentialism in its true meaning; what we go through each day. This subcategory is reflected in some of the arts — music, movies, poetry and such — and fits easily with the prior categories and can be used to support them at will.

Though, for instance, the religious may use their sacred text more and the analytical may use research more and the ignorant may use sarcasm more, all sides utilize all four categories to undergird their perspective. They are wise to do so. No single category can solve a disagreement, but cumulatively they clarify each perspective overall.

Know when and when not to use each.

392. I Love Drums

I love playing the drums. Rhythm, syncopation, tone, the sound . . . even wood grain itself. I love everything about the drums. I love it when I play and when I get to hear other good drummers play. I love a well-placed lick that makes you rewind and hear it again. I love a solid groove. In the pocket is what it’s called. I love volume and finesse, I love drum clinics and music that highlights the technical prowess and caliber of skill that another rhythmic soul possesses.

When I play, I play loud. I am not good at finesse. It is probably not my calling. When I hit a tom, it is heard; it is a good, solid, unmistakable tone. My sticks are worn around the middle because I hit my snare in the middle of the head and on the rim at the same time. That’s called a rimshot and it cuts through every other tone with a khah that can split eardrums. (Just ask my band mates.) Cardboard-sounding snares annoy me, so my snare is always tuned high. Not so high that there is no tone, but high enough to be definitive. I have a 4×14 piccolo snare that is the pride of my instruments. It is gorgeous and has always pleased my ears.

I love drums.

388. Quotes: Your Dad on Familial Love

“Without love, man finds no great home.”

—Your Dad, poem entitled “Great Home”

378. Quotes: Your Dad on Great Art

“Great art does not push aside the moral boundaries of the past, it pushes the art form forward. I do not believe that safe and status quo films, though decently acted, should garner awards. Those films which push the art form forward and add to its rich heritage should attain that distinction.”

—Your Dad

374. Quotes: Your Dad on Liberation

“Virtues liberate us to be fully human, to live enthralled in every moment, to be boldly alive.”

—Your Dad

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