Marginalia, no.319

The power of improvisation, the power of variations on themes, the power of doing what you have already done but with a somewhat different inflection or intonation or intensity – this is happiness within tradition.

~ Jed Perl, Antoine’s Alphabet

Not improvisation itself, or variation or difference, but the power of these, whether exercised or withheld. That’s what Perl’s phrasing implies. He’s talking about art, but I think this is something like the happiness available to us in our daily lives – lives which are traditions that day to day become ourselves. The novel and unexpected may sometimes be a pleasure but rarely more of a pleasure than the miraculously consistent, like the sun that rises every morning.

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