Sometimes I run so fast I can’t see where I am going
Sometimes, I walk forward but twisted with my gaze backwards
Mourning all that I have missed
At times I am propelled in this or that direction lost in my confusion
I miss the path that takes me forward closer to my destination
Sometimes I walk but my gaze is down and once again I have missed where I have been
Other times I manage to move forward with eyes absorbing everything around me
At times, my soul is lifted by my surroundings; feelings of elation about the journey and my present fill me with peace
I know these moments well, I have memorized their sensations still I wonder off the path forward and struggle to return again.
I wonder why I do not stay where my feet are moving and keep my glance here within and without me
At times I am amazed at far I will go tormenting myself before I take the next step forward and lift my eyes to see and return to the path I am on now
I was going to write about the lack of concern so many people demonstrate for the diversity of life on this planet. I can get on that soap box…But, as I turned to this page, I decided why write about that! I want to focus on music. I love music. I love a variety of music. I grew up in house that shared music. My mom used to play classical music on the piano. She stopped and I think it has been a loss in her life. My dad loved to sing and we regularly listened to big band music and musical theatre. I actually went to the theatre as a very young child. I guess it should be no surprise that I followed that path for a while.
My tastes in music are eclectic. I can blissfully listen to Gregorian chants or John Legend. I enjoy going to concerts but what really excites me are the small musical venues. This Sat. I am going to see Troy Anderson play at a small club. I love this club. Blue Jean Blues. I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about this.
My son plays the piano and composes. I am a big fan of my son’s music as well. He creates music from the depth’s of his soul, you can feel it and when I see him play I can see the music rise up from deep within. I thought I was being so cool when I discovered the magic of trombone shorty. But, my son said, “Oh he is a really good performer.” So much for Mom trying to be cool with her son.
And so while I am greatly moved by excellent writing, a finely crafted film, visiting a museum or enjoying live dance, nothing quite touches me inside like music. Music has always been a way for me to move inside, to manifest an upset or celebrate the energy of living. I am grateful for the place music has had in my life.
Maybe those who don’t care about the oceans warming, the animals dying, or the cruelty to children aren’t listening to the right kind of music or any music at all.
Last night I joined my mom, my sister and my brother-in-law in sharing dinner. At the end of the meal, my sister was trying to show me a photo of someone we knew. She went to Facebook but actually couldn’t get to the photo. That is not important. She then showed me a photo of the meal one of our family members had cooked. “Every night,” my sister tells me, “she puts a picture of what she has cooked up on Facebook.” We all shook our heads. In truth, I do not care what she or anyone else ate for dinner last night. By the way, I had chicken and spaghetti. Sadly,I admit I fallen vegetarian– though I usually never eat meat.
Then, this AM I am riding in my car listening to the end of a discussion about the meaning of life, nothingness, emptiness, randomness, perfection, and the universe. What does the Higgs boson revelation mean and so on. I find that type of discussion thought provoking, stimulating and indeed important for my mental and intellectual survival. I don’t get to hear that type of conversation too often.
Perhaps I am a snob. But, life seems to me to be filled with questions that are difficult to answer yet struggling with the answers or even the ability to understand the question is more important than sharing what I eat on a daily basis. OK. Eating is an imperative.
Maybe I am missing the truth behind my relative’s willingness to share her creations. Maybe importance of her sharing is tied to her creativity and the desire to contribute something creative on a daily basis. That of course, is probably not the rationale for her postings, but it certainly makes me feel better to know that the importance of her meal gives her actions meaning.
I guess I am in one of those moods….Here’s a comment that I am sure will infuriate some: Down in South Florida I often feel like I have lost my brain and the ability to think expansively. I am a New York snob. You can’t take the New York out of the girl. But, the need to be part of something bigger, to engage in something meaningful can also make me wonder about my work as a writer: how important is it?
Sigh…too much thinking for one day.
I met with an exciting new friend today. She is a marketer, an artist and an entrepreneur. We talked for a long time about collaborating on a new project. She began by telling me about an interview she had conducted with a woman who operates an arts program. During that conversation, my new friend expressed her views about something the other woman did presented problems ethically for my friend. It was a matter of principle for my friend. I listened and understood both her idealism and ethical principles and the reality of not alienating the woman who was in a position to promote my friend in many ways.
That conflict between ideals and business confounds me. I am always struggling with my art vs earning a living. A few weeks ago, I posed a question on a linkedin group. “How does one keep the creative juices flowing when one has to write material that is uninspiring?” A man answered and then a woman. The woman felt one could be inspired by anything and if that was not the case, I should not write for money.
I didn’t appreciate her tone or aggression and in truth, I felt this woman had never written anything creative outside of the business context. Don’t misunderstand. It takes creativity to put together material that moves a buyer or another business to take action. But it is a completely different context than writing a non-fiction book, a short story, or even a play. I have written in these formats and prefer them to business writing.
I am realistic, most of the time, and understand that my art comes second to my being able to support myself. That conflict at times binds me up. I find I cannot get to what I want to write either because I am tired from writing all day about business or that my creative energies are not being fed.
I respond to the exchange of ideas, the energy of others, the excitement of possibilities. I am excited by the potential in the new relationship I formed today. I am eager to meet the challenges and opportunities the project will present to me as a writer and a creative being. I am excited to learn more through this association about conducting business so that I can do my art in whatever context it may manifest and diminish my internal conflict that binds me and stops the creative flow.
There are days when I wish to fly away. That of course would entail my going on a plane. But, there are times that I wish I could sore like a bird. Free of constraints. The irony of these musings is that the constraints I feel are self-imposed. I create my prison and I alone can plot my escape.
The tools I have for escaping myself when I succumb to my negative side, my dark side, my “she who shall not be named” side, are varied. I do engage in a form of spiritual practice. I can hide myself away within a good novel, and on days when I am feeling brave continue writing my own novel. I can go out side and watch the birds that symbolize much to me. I have never seen a heron stomp his or her webbed feet on the ground over missing a fish. Nor, have I witnessed any hysterics from the other birds that fish in the waterways here in Florida. There is a lesson in their behavior, one that is grounded in staying in the moment. Frustration does add anything to problem solving, but it does waste valuable energy. The tools, yes…I use exercise to exorcise my demons and I use laughter to lighten my spirit.
I actually love to laugh. It feels great and it is soooo healthy for you. Did you know that it reduces that wrinkles, especially those frowning wrinkles. So, here I am in need of a good laugh, a strong workout, and a trip to watch some birds calmly cope with their reality. It is all about perception then isn’t it?
I have never been one to like , at least outwardly, too much structure or organization. Yet, over the years,I have grown to understand the need for structure. I have learned for example, that when writing a book, the outline can help — especially at those times when my thinking gets off track. Most often though, I rebel against the structure.
Generally when I write I begin with a sense of where I am and plunge head long into the journey. When my process is working well, the journey is easy and exciting. When I am not working in harmony with myself, my process is halting. I suppose that is the argument for the outline.
I was asked today, by a friend, if there was a meadow with a lot of garbage and weeds scattered around and I wanted to use the land as a garden, what would be my first action. I said I would start cleaning out the land, getting rid of the junk and the weeds. As the conversation continued my friend commented on my not asking to have someone check the land for snakes or other dangers. I would never have thought of that at all. If the snakes appeared, I would deal with them. I would never think of not beginning because there might be snakes. I am not terrified of snakes, I guess that has something to do with it.
I know that the master plan can help but I get caught up in the negative connotation of control and lack of spontaneity that is implied in having a master plan, at least in my mind. Yet, I know that I get caught in a whirlwind of thoughts that leads to confusion and non action because I lack the master plan. I believe, I need to change the metaphor.
When I was acting, I did well with improvisation. An over arching structure is needed, what fills the inside comes from something more dynamic and immediate. That is the path I now need to adopt in my work and my life. Change is upon me. Some structure is needed so that the whirlwind is contained and managed. Such a change is necessary but I know that I will still struggle against it–at least for a while. Like the saying: when I get sick and tired of being sick and tired, I will change.