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A sort of rosebud key to everything

He wandered in a daze, feeling neither young nor old, substantial yet somehow not there at all. A voice had told him he must write as if the last day in his life was at hand. It was one of those desert island questions, a gotcha hypothetical, yet now he could not be sure whether he was already gone or if his sleep-walking state was due to the effect of the request on his psyche. He was not sure he could write. But then he saw the two pens and the open notebook. And he knew that he was meant to comply with the instruction he had received, even if they were not really his last words. It was a now thing. A live-as-if thing. A step removed from reality. A mind game. A preparation. A plumbing. The pen was running out of whatever they put in it, so the words I am trying to read are indistinct. The first sentence is, "I am a nomad of the universe." Then it becomes very indistinct, something like, "I would like to be remembered", and then something about having seen truth up close and that it was "splendid". I think he was saying that nothing he had done mattered. But seeing something splendid did. It was as if he would conclude his life not with justifications or regrets, but with a wisp of recollection, not described, a positive, a reality. Yes, somehow to see reality was the key. Nothing else mattered. Not history nor even literature. If one could focus on what was there, what is there, and keep doing that, even a tiny percent of all one's conscious time, one might have something to exult about on that last day. A sort of rosebud key to everything.

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The remarkable video at the link above is of a performance of "Sto perigiali" Mario Frangoulis and Mikis Theodorakis in 2001.

Frangoulis and Theodorakis are joined by musicians, including two bouzouki players, and a very large audience that is completely familiar with the words. The audience joins in at Frangoulis' prompt.

This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.

Later, when Irene joined our group to form a travelling company performing "New Rain", I learned to pick out a …

Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…