Longreads

When I was sixteen, I spent a couple wondrous summer weeks at a place called Governor’s School in North Carolina. It was here that country mouse me met all manner of bright and misfit kids, in social and academic pursuits. We started the term in shy quietude and ended it in tearful embrace. It was there I had my first kiss.

Early in the first week, we attended a recital of composer John Cage’s work 4’33”. The assembly hall hushed as the performer approached his piano, sat down, placed a stopwatch on the music stand, and closed the lid on the keyboard. What followed was silence. He gave us all the visual cues of beginning a performance, then sat quietly upright, his hands on his lap. Not a note was played for four minutes and thirty-three seconds.

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