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Well, look at the time… It has been ridiculously long since I’ve written here. I’ve written a few poems, done quite a bit of ghostwriting work, finished most of the forthcoming kirtan recording, and I still have fantasies that tease of a novel. For a lot of the time I’ve been absent from this blog, I’ve been thoroughly sick of my own navel-gazing. I never could quite bring myself to share it with everybody else. The CliffsNotes will be much better, trust me.
Since I’ve written here, I’ve tried hard to think of myself as a semi-retired musician. Many months of a seemingly lost ability to tell a story that matters, an economy that ceased to even kinda-sorta support traveling singer-songwriters (at least this one), and a couple gigs in a row too absurd to mention were all contributors to this shift. I asked myself if I am neither making ends meet nor having fun, why am I doing this? “Because it’s what I always do,” wasn’t a good enough answer. So, I set upon the exciting adventure of not doing what I always do.
I’ve discovered that I can’t retire from music. Sounds show up. Words show up. They will become something even when I resist. I decided I wouldn’t spend an inordinate amount of time pursuing performance and traveling without focused assistance. It felt good to take off the bookings hat. I decided I would respond happily to requests while I re-imagine possibilities. Offers do arise while I work on other things. The forthcoming chant CD that I’ve been recording at glacial speed has come back into my heart. I feel the spirit that sings through those mantras and songs again. It will emerge of its own volition.
Casting off the have-to’s has led to more rediscoveries than new discoveries. I am dancing again. Not only at the Sex Dwarf dance party off of South Street, but as much as possible. The beach last summer. Latin Heat class at the gym. When I wake up and Jonathan Richman’s “Roadrunner” is a leftover earworm from dreamland. I used to walk for miles everyday and it made me inherently happy. I have been taking a lot of that back from the suburban abyss.
I used to write for the absolute love of it. Age-old wisdom would indicate that making the thing you love your business will alter it, perhaps not for the better. More wisdom would indicate that if you do what you love for your living, you are truly blessed. I’d say both are correct.
There will be more music, more concerts, more creative surprises, and new approaches. There will be art for love and art that matters, at least to me. I have begun to write through the gunk and the fear to get to the center, the heart of things. I am reminded of Om Mani Padme Hum – the jewel in the lotus. No matter what whirlwinds I spin around it, there is that.
Eyes strain open above water
Lukewarm, then too warm to escape
This is the science
of my regularly scheduled life
the art of evolving
from surface tension
The memory of arms flailing
to seek the winter sunlight
and keep moving.