April 08, 2007

On the epiphanic

I was walking briskly down toward Port Clyde, listening to Chris Lydon talking with Sonny Rollins, and reflecting on reflecting (we seem to be very reflexive today at #312; has to do with reading a few pages of Calvino with the first morning coffee), and the word 'epiphanic' slid into the foreground as I was listening to a bit of St. Thomas. Ah, I thought, that's it, that's the word that epitomises the frisson of Recognition, the instant of grokkage, one of the states of mind I love most. So first some delicious trivia:

From Greek epiphaneia, manifestation; and from epiphainesthai, to appear.

An epiphany is a sudden shift of perspective or flash of intuition that opens one to a greater or more subtle understanding. "Epiphanic" describes something or somewhere that is full of epiphany.

and from morewords.com:

epiphanic is a valid word in this word list. For a definition, see the external dictionary links below.

The word "epiphanic" uses 9 letters: A C E H I I N P P.

No direct anagrams for epiphanic found in this word list.

Adding one letter to epiphanic does not form any other word in this word list.

Words formed when one letter is changed in epiphanic

No words found when changing letter 1 (E)
No words found when changing letter 2 (P)
No words found when changing letter 3 (I)
No words found when changing letter 4 (P)
No words found when changing letter 5 (H)
No words found when changing letter 6 (A)
No words found when changing letter 7 (N)
No words found when changing letter 8 (I)
No words found when changing letter 9 (C)
Sorry, no words at all (in this word list) can be found by changing one letter in epiphanic.
So 'epiphanic' is a lexical dead end, sort of. But the Googly fun doesn't stop there. I found this lovely wrang-wrang on the subject, at hypermedia joyce studies:
Joyce's epiphanies and the accounts of the epiphany he stages in his work, lack claritas. They leave us wondering what exactly an epiphany is. While we may be able to separate the epiphany off from the conceptual void or plenitude, and appreciate it as a conceptual complex in itself, its final harmony or whatness eludes us. The set-piece presentations of the theory, in Stephen Hero and Portrait, signally fail to work as epiphanies of the epiphany, while taking their place no doubt in the relation of part to part, in reading as an exercise in consonantia.
Ouch. It goes on from there...
But back to Sonny Rollins, and Chris Lydon. Even when I find the guest(s) annoying (Camille Paglia, or the acolytes of Hannah Arendt for instance), it's all so conversational and unrehearsed, and there's a freshness to what Chris is doing. It's good for me to find out something about stuff that I wasn't paying attention to, and didn't know I was interested in. Tubas, for instance.

Here are some especially succulent bits from the Sonny Rollins conversation. You have to slow yourself down a bit to get the full benefit of the wisdom in what Sonny is saying, and not-saying (some stuff is just hard to talk about in words...). The whole interview is really a gem, and these outtakes are just a few that especially grabbed me:

St. Thomas: origins and DRM (1:20)

playing with Bud Powell (1:29)

what do you think about when you solo? (1:11)

all of the above (1:14)

1958: how ironic (1:32)

listening to myself is an ordeal (1:16)

with Sonny Stitt, and about others he's played with (3:06)

act on it (1:33)

Posted by oook at April 8, 2007 03:51 PM