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Blog | Adam Daniel
Holy Aloneness
Holy Aloneness

This month’s blog is a personal one.

I’ve spent my last six months sharing a loft in an urban setting. The apartment is spacious but, being a loft, it’s one unbroken space. There is no privacy. The area is hip but, being downtown, it’s bustling. There is no quiet.

A challenging experience for a creative artist: a lack of privacy and quiet within which to create. All composition, analysis, experimentation, evolution, frustration, elation, and repetition occurring within direct eyeshot and earshot of a housemate, and always accompanied by the roar of traffic and the chatter of passersby.

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Mystery of Metamorphosis
Mystery of Metamorphosis

Last month my friends at Chelsea Green Publishing sent me a fascinating new book by Frank Ryan called The Mystery of Metamorphosis: A Scientific Detective Story. I whipped through it in a couple evenings, rapt. Tonight I finally found time to blog about it.

In the book’s prologue, the author defines metamorphosis as “…the dramatic transformation of one being into another.” The classic example of this phenomenon is a caterpillar’s conversion into a butterfly. The process is threefold. First, the caterpillar builds its cocoon. Then, inside, it liquifies, losing any recognizable form. Finally, from this organic soup, a wholly new creature emerges: the butterfly.

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The Singularity
The Singularity

Last night I stumbled upon a recent Time magazine cover story called 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. The article is about an event some scientists believe is upcoming, and quickly: the Singularity.

The Singularity is the point in history at which our technology—particularly computing power—becomes so advanced it changes the functional, physical nature of humanity.

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Cookies and Chaos

My teaching gigs have ended until fall so I’ve been busying myself composing and songwriting-for-hire. After months of obeying a firm academic schedule, setting my own hours again has been making me feel a bit random and chaotic. Which, of course, has been making me consider chaos theory…

Chaologists have discovered a cool thing: seemingly random motions—turbulence in the air, water spiralling down a drain, etc.—are actually highly patterned. Processes that look unpredictable can thus be forcast, to an extent. It’s a comforting revelation. Look deeply enough into chaos and order emerges. There’s structure there. And when this kind of ordered chaos is plotted on a graph, it yields a beautiful shape called a Strange Attractor, which looks like this (see right, and/or above on mobile).

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Thin Places
Thin Places

Last week I was touring the East Coast with my alt-country side project The Flutterbies. One of our shows was at a church in Dover, DE. The chapel was beautiful: stained glass, vaulted ceilings, dark wood pews. And the acoustics in the space were ideal; the natural reverb was lush and gorgeous.

Down the center aisle was a Steinway full grand piano, perfectly tuned and balanced. I sat and played an hour before our gig, reveling in the vibrations, resonant and lovely. During our set, I sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in that ambient sanctuary and I literally felt God. It may have been my most sublime artistic moment.

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Art, Faith, and Discovery
Art, Faith, and Discovery

I recently found this quote by Albert Camus, author of the literary classic The Stranger: “A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

Camus’ sentiment is lovely, describing the creative process as a journey back to the feeling of aesthetic awakening. The idea reminds me of one of my favorite passages written by Jewish mystic Abraham Joshua Heschel, redefining faith:

In every man’s life there are moments when there is a lifting of the veil at the horizon of the known, opening a sight of the eternal… The remembrance of that experience and the loyalty to the response of that moment are the forces that sustain our faith. In this sense, faith is faithfulness, loyalty to an event, loyalty to our response.

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