Why do I not listen to more music?
Deafheaven + Princeton Public Library + I finished my book. So I am in a weird sad happy celebration reflection kind of spot and this is just working for me but... It feels so rare that I actually do this. Listen for pleasure. Or if not pleasure then just listening as a practice, as a living response to What Is Going On.
Also there's this word I've been exploring, namely NOW, so maybe it's not so much about policy as it is about the fact that right now I need to listen to Sunbather, realized it, turned it on, and made note of it here. How many True NOWs can we stack end to end? Doesn't matter. Any single one is powerful enough to align the rest. Presumably.
I am finishing a book for The Operating System. Finishing as in 11 days away from the promised handover. This means that every time I am not writing I feel like I should be writing, which makes me not want to write so I don't and then we reread the sentence from the beginning and so forth.
Maybe though... there is a way to take what feels like procrastination, i.e. waiting for something to happen on the internet, and harness it into something productive like getting the word out about this very exciting new release on One More Revolution Records. And this points to a larger thing about distraction/procrastination/obligation: I don't know that the way through it is down the middle, with oppositional fury.
It always brings me back to the kids and how they will do what engages them forever, seemingly, without needing to remind themselves, and then when they are done they are done. How do I live like that? What would it mean to know what I want to do in any given moment and have permission to go ahead and do it? What would I actually do? What would my life look like?
And then there is that "if I could just" construction that I also always fall into. If I could just approach with the world with that sense of childlike wonder then I would finish my book, if I could just follow the thread, if I could just transform. Circling some kind of wisdom but still locked into old patterns. Around we go.
But then I'll write a sentence or a paragraph or even a section and ALL WILL BE WELL again. This is the process, everyone says. I don't think it has to be this way, though. I think it can be a playground, which is how I have set up the basement. Stations. Metaphorical climbing walls and swings and seesaws and you get the point. And I took my forever oppressive list and turned it into a Venn diagram. Three circles: Make--Sustain--Document. So running the moving boxes to the porch felt like practice, not like distraction or an interference with my real work. Keeping the house sustains me. It's important. And maybe, then, so is this. And all the Facebook posts about the record label.
Did I mention the label? And that something is coming?
Maybe these are related, maybe not.
The first thing is that I watch Max play--he's now into the one-person-band setup--and it makes me think of piano lessons and music lessons for younger students generally. His interest in music maps onto gross motor moves: michael jackson's dance moves, drumming, air guitar, etc. How do I tap into that physical interest of his? I suppose he is the receiving end of a strange experiment in nonintervention. Let him listen to whatever he wants whenever he wants, let him go at the instruments without offering instruction. If he ever asks I will gladly show him what little I know but for now, music time is just whatever he wants it to be. There is no one to tell him he shouldn't play massive clusters in the synth or hit the drums one at a time. And we'll just see what this turns into. I can see him locking in with a practice now; he's down here multiple times per day and he's actually making these pieces that are consistent across performances and really attentive to rising and falling in terms of gesture and form. So this is an ongoing question: how do I teach him, if he needs teaching at all?
The second thing is that progress is being made on Shake It Off and the pleasure of learning, the way it feels to have something in my body, or to feel it coming into physical knowing, is something I would love to convey to Max.
And to Miles! Who yesterday tore up the kiddo drum set before getting very quiet and intoning "marshmallow... marshmallow..." And I didn't want to move the camera from the TaySwif in progress setup, so I didn't record, and that was a serious tactical error.
Coming soon, maybe: some cut together footage of the learning curve. For me, not for the kids. The kids just shine.
It occurs to me that I have never done this before. By which I mean: learn other people's songs. I learned drum parts all through middle and high school but outside my ill-fated piano lessons, I've never really attempted to play anything by anyone else on any other instrument.
But as C and I drove with the boys up to Duluth this weekend it became clear to me that this could be a really exciting project, and that it could be really useful in terms of connecting my fingers to my ears, and ears to brain, and etc. Maybe the lack of vocabulary I sometimes struggle with has to do with never having spoken anyone else's language.
So today I went downstairs and stripped the setup bare. We're back to The New Austerity means: voice, RS-09, kick, snare, hi hat, cymbal. And I tried to learn "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. And it is SO HARD to figure this out for the one-person-band setup! But I'm documenting the learning process, video camera on tripod in the corner as I sound terrible but as the pathways start to build out.
And then? YouTube stardom! Only half joking. Being able to do this in real time with one body could make a good video. Post the finished product, and then a few skillfully-edited "learning curve" shots. Or maybe some crazy time-lapse Making of My First Cover. Followed by the same of maybe "She Said." But I'm trying not to turn this into another huge project. More an addition to my practice, or a reshaping of that practice, an awareness of other musics from which I can learn.
Also I am noticing that I am blogging here, which I never really do. But maybe... this is important, too? Isn' every other post on this blog about starting to blog more regularly? Here's another. And maybe one day it will be true.