Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Novels and Cartoons and Bands, Oh My!

I've written often about what you know, before you know that you know: i.e., the intuitive awareness we all possess that signals the inner wisdom available to us throughout our life, if we pay attention — and trust it.

But I've learned as much from music, fiction and even clever television that's woken me to how much we take for granted, never knowing a term's origins, like the preteen inquiry from a few decades back, "Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?"

This whack on the side of the head happened again yesterday when a novel discussed Mount Parnassus ~ the second book to mention the iconic Greek landmark in as many weeks. This time, though, it triggered me to look it up, since I lived on a street intersecting Parnassus for 11 years. This is where I launched my writing career — and the name "Parnassus" in literature is metaphoric for poetry, literature, and learning: Mont Parnasse in France. So I guess it is a "what we know before we know that we know" moment after all.

How about Led Zeppelin? The name was suggested as a joke for a lead balloon, which is how Keith Moon of The Who predicted the new group would fare. But the yoke was on him: Jimmy Page loved the name, the band dropped the "a", and a megagroup was born. Yet I never questioned the origin or meaning of Led Zeppelin while listening to their music growing up.

Finally, how about that scwewy wabbit? The writers of Bugs Bunny cartoons were notorious for embedding adult references into kids' TV programs, so the cartoons worked on multiple levels. In one memorable episode, Bugs is being chased by hounds (nothing unusual there) when suddenly he halts, holds up a sign that reads, "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," and all the dogs race off in another direction. It's funny to a child — but it was decades before I learned of (and read) A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, a famous 1943 novel by Betty Smith. The title itself is a metaphor for the Tree of Heaven.

So question reality, especially now, when signposts of the new are embedded in everything, and we're attuning to a higher frequency. You never know what you'll read in the music or hear in the words that guide our lives.

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