[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GG: Private Life, Solitude and Ectasy

>But at the same time I would
>like to understand if his form of creativity was inextricably linked to
>celibacy as well as solitude.   And if so, was this a choice he made, even a
>deliberate renunciation of emotional entanglements, or was it simply part
>of his

        Sorry, I know I bowed out of this thread, but I just want to say
that regardless of the mythology that has sprung up about his private life,
I think that Gould was a very real man with very common longings, impulses,
and neuroses. I'm inclined to agree with an idea that Kevin Bazzana implies
in his review of 32SF@GG in the Spring 1996 GlennGould, that much of the
mythology surrounding Gould's private life is perpetuated only by those who
document him. I'll quote the section of the review I'm referring to:

        "In 'Questions Without Answers' (No. 18), Girard concludes with an
unidentified woman who says into the phone, "Why didn't you answer my
calls? Why did you stop calling me?" That teaser, and the letter read in
the subsequent vignette, are all we get on the subject of Gould's
relationships with women, yet surely this is a subject for courageous
exploration bya dedicated biographer (and there *is* enough documentation
on the matter to allow for informed speculation). As so often, Girard is
content with the hit-and-run approach, creating a superficial air of
mystery and profundity but avoiding the hard work of investigating Gould's
character thoroughly and communicating it clearly."

        Not that I mean to encourage anyone to write the tell-all book that
Bazzana implies is out there waiting to be written, but it seems that those
who do write about Gould and seek to preserve his privacy by being coy or
mysterious about his private life do him more of a disservice by implying
that it was anything other than ordinary. Reading how Friedrich tiptoes
around the topic (and you know I adore Friedrich) you'd think that Gould
was a transvestite who danced in bars.
        Gould chose to focus his life on his music, and I think that
although he was obviously a very loving and affectionate person (Glenn's
gushy valentines to his mother and Jessie Greig's warm essays remembering
him are a dead giveaway,) he may very well have felt that the more, uh,
*worldly* emotional entanglements would have been just too much of a
distraction for him. In a 1992 interview with the Toronto Star, (forgive my
paraphrasing but I just don't want to dig out the Xerox - so lazy) Jessie
said that Glenn seemed to know that a wife would always be second to music
in his life, and that it probably wouldn't have been fair to the woman. We
know he reportedly asked at least one woman to marry him (two if you
believe everything you read) and maybe his life would have been radically
different had she said yes. We will never know.
        I try not to project to much of my own sentimentality onto Gould,
things like "Oh he never married - he must have been so lonely!" or "That
poor man, to always live so barricaded behind himself." GG was someone who
managed - despite the obstacles - to live his life exactly as he wanted it
to be, no matter what people said about him. I am confident that in matters
of the heart he also did what he thought was best.
        And that is *really* the last thing I am going to say about this. ;-)
Best regards,


"For centuries man lived in the belief that truth was slim and elusive and
that once he found it the troubles of mankind would be over. And here we
are in the closing decades of the 20th century, choking on truth."
-Ernest Becker