I read (for the first time) Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin a few days ago. The passage that particularly got me was this:
All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.
I don’t particularly know what it is that I like about this. More correctly: I don’t know how to express what it is that I like about this passage. I think it’s the possibility of being able to create meaning out of a void, out of a roar, and to be able to celebrate the triumph collectively from what someone else is creating and expressing. In the story, the music serves as a way to express what couldn’t be said otherwise. It tells what can’t be said, and it responds to a voice within that can’t be heard.