Hmm. Interesting week. I put up an ad on Craigslist for people to play jazz with, as my piano skills have been severely waning. So far, I've gotten some promising responses, so that's pretty exciting. Strangely enough, the very same day I posted the ad, I got an e-mail from a guy I played with only once and haven't seen for months inviting me to do a gig in October. How utterly karmic.
I skipped out on about a million open mics in the past week or so - couldn't make it on time, didn't have anything to play, didn't want to play the same thing I spent last time, had better shit to do. You know, excuses. But I'm OK with that - more on why in a little bit.
I started work on two tracks, both of them with a kind of cheesy drum 'n' bass feel. I don't know if these two gems will ever see the light of day, or even get beyond the couple of measures they consist of right now, but that's OK too.
Why? Because this amazing thing called vacation has helped me to realize some things about myself.
I told myself a while back that I wanted to have a 5-track demo by the end of this year. Pretty definitely not gonna happen. I told myself I was gonna go to the Village Underground or some other open mic every week. Definitely has not been happening. I told myself I needed to learn more about design so I could make myself an actual nice-looking website to showcase all my music (i.e. the phantom completions of all the unfinished fragments on my hard drive). What I forgot to ask myself was why.
That's the big question, the question that people ask themselves every day. Why are we here, we all wonder. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does this cost 500$ to fix when it was working fine yesterday? Why is there music? Why is there love? Why do we care?
Why do we do the things we do?
I try not to expect answers for these questions. But for that last one, I think I should. Why do we do the things we do? Sure there are bills to pay and mouths to feed and time to fill and other people to please and what-have-you. But it's far too easy to let that sense of imposed responsibilty creep into the things you actually love. Music. People. Joy. Life. Oh, and computers sometimes.
Looking back at these past few weeks of little triumphs and accomplishments, I can pick out the really important moments, the points at which I felt like I was doing what I loved, and doing it for the right reasons.
The thing they all have in common is freedom. They are those moments when I've been working so hard to remember the words, and they fall into place, and suddenly I'm just singing. Those moments where a groove is rumbling out of my headphones, and I'm tumbling along the keys at 3 in the morning, unaware of time or space. Those moments where the natural flow of events has led me organically to a place of beauty. Those moments where all else falls away, and the only thing left is pure music.
Those are the moments I've been seeking. And I've always known that no one's just going to give them to me. But what I learned this week is just how easy they are to find. You just have to let go a little bit, and there they are. Pouring out of your own mouth, your own fingers, these pure drops of dancing shimmering crystal hang in the air, blinding you to everything else, rendering the little everyday things meaningless.
So I guess that's the answer. And that's why it doesn't matter what goals I work towards, what foolhardy promises I manage to keep. Because it's not about those things. It's about those moments, however I achieve them. And when it comes to why?
They are their own reward.