Posted by: chibotaichi | January 24, 2013


I was greeted by a fascinating bit of Synchronicity lately…if you’re not hip, either Wiki or Google will have better explanations for you…and after your research you may even be able to tell me how I am using the term incorrectly!

At any rate, I recently finished reading a book about songwriting by Pat Pattison, after having been greatly inspired by watching interviews and workshop lectures he has done on Youtube. Upon completion I set out to find a little more information on the guy, which surprisingly I hadn’t done in the couple months since I first became acquainted with his ideas.

The Wiki entry begins as follows:

“Pat Pattison is a professor at Berklee College of Music.

Pattison completed his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota…”

First sentence- ok, sure yup, makes sense, that’s what I’ve been led to believe…

Second sentence- WHAT!? HILARIOUS. That’s why this guy makes so much sense!

As a U of M Philosophy alumni myself, I was delighted to discover this mutual background. I don’t know how much stock it is actually worth investing in this coincidence, but I think my appreciation for his perspectives stems from these philosophy-based roots. No wonder the guy brings up Aristotle in lectures on lyric writing!

And then I had a flashback: In the Spring 2009 semester, reeling from Feeling after a momentous Fall 2008, I found myself sitting on a self-imposed island of solitude in the back-left corner of Joseph Owens’ Philosophy of Psychology course. This semi-Vapassana was partly pathological, perhaps, but somehow felt Right at the time. One (not seemingly so at the time, but with new evidence, maybe) fateful day, tuning in and out of the lecture, I found myself gazing out the window to my left, looking out at bits of the Minneapolis skyline on a decidedly dreary day… in my mind I played with the overcast colors (or lack thereof) and the cloudy-colored inflatable roof of the Metrodome.

Feeling somehow strangely inspired by this scene, I began to doodle (doodling words, mind you, but the term Doodle is highly appropriate given my inattentiveness to the Academic proceedings going on all around me!) in the margins of my notebook. I can’t say how long I spent in this process, but when it was over there were several short passages in the margins…and one potential song scratched out in the middle of the page, where any effort at learning the class-material had given way to inspiration.

Fast-forwarding- the semester concludes, and evidently satisfactory term-papers written, and this notebook is ready for retirement. Fast-forward again…

Fall 2012 is coming to a close and I get a message from a friend asking for advice regarding a paper she is writing for a class. Conveniently, much of the relevant topics are contained in my notes from Spring 2009! I dig out the old baby-blue, five-subject notebook and flip through the written records which verify my having attended these classes, in this particular case, a class on Linguistics. Rather than put the notebook away after our chat, I left it, and several others, laying on the floor beside the bed, to be forgotten.

In the coming weeks I would discover vidoes of Pattison pontificating on his theories about lyric-writing and be inspired to take up the Practice of Object Writing (Old News if you’ve been reading Here before!). My first official day of O.W. was November 26. If you are curious to see that Journey, it is Here.

Since that day, as already noted, I read Pattison’s book “Writing Better Lyrics”, and dedicated significant time to my Practice. But when I read that Pattison was an undergrad Philosophy student at the U of M, my brain went Crazy.

I immediately dug up (which is to say merely flopped off the side of the bed and grabbed it because it was right on top just waiting for me) that baby-blue, five-subject notebook from Spring 2009 and opened right to the page with my musings on the Metrodome and the Weather. Do you know what I had done that day, utterly unbeknownst to me? Object Writing. And I had done a pretty good job of it, without knowing what I was doing! (There is a little lesson about Letting Go in that observation, but that’s not the point for now.)

I was totally flabbergasted by this realization. Skillful execution of a Method that I didn’t know was a Method at the time, but would discover years later, and which was formulated by a man who may well have sat in the same room in which I unknowingly discovered it myself!

I can admit that I am a sucker for glorifying these kinds of connections, but let’s be Real, that is one fascinatingly large and wide-reaching coincidence. The Timing was all so Grand.

So there it is. This happened last week, but I am still blown away by it. If the theme were to be “God has a plan” or “everything happens for a reason”, then I can suspect that the payoff for slogging through the Philosophy degree that, in retrospect, I wasn’t so sure was what I really wanted to pursuse…given even more time to retrospect, and given this broader picture of things, maybe sitting in that room ignoring Joseph Owens’ lecture on artificial intelligence while staring out the window was the Universe suggesting that I follow my passion…perhaps the Ghost of Pat Pattison is roaming the Philosophy department, and that was the best way for us to meet.

That whole paragraph is likely a strange read. Grammar got lost, I think.

So anyway, once again I am amazed at the apparent organization of the Chaos, and all of it leaves me feeling inspired and rejuvenated to continue pursuing my passions.

“What are you gonna do with a degree in Philosphy?” has always been both an obnoxious conversation starter, as well as a not-so-subtle effort at chiding those who pursue liberalized approaches to education. But it seems like, for myself at least, there is now a rather clear answer to that question.


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