There's this photo of me on Facebook. My friend Peter, who's playing congas with me here, is playing with me. My guess is that the photo was taken in 2001, but it could have been taken a little earlier.
The thing is that I don't remember what I was singing about. I think I was playing at Felicita's at UVic, but I don't remember why. I have no idea what songs might have showed-up on that setlist hanging from the microphone—printed characteristically on a used piece of paper, a photocopied article. It was 2001 and I thought myself a musician of sorts... but what did I have to say? I have no fucking idea.
This is a problem as I try to find my way through all this separation stuff. In the vernacular, a psychological assessor said my "values are all over the place." And it seems like, as I listen to podcasts and read self-help and leadership books, it's highly encouraged to follow your vision. It seems as if happiness lies in one's ability to live out their singular purpose, to live out their message in such a way that lets them live a life where message and life are blurred and beautiful.
I have no idea what my message is, what I'd like to say to the world. I feel utterly lost in this. I don't think it's a matter of religious apostasy, but over the last few years my ability to access my "voice" has diminished until I don't know what to do with it.
And I don't have to go back to 2001 to figure it out. I wrote a personal weblog on a near-daily basis between 2001-2005; I made a CD of original songs in 2006; I wrote a CD's worth of as-yet-unreleased material over the few years that followed—but by 2013, my writing essentially stopped. I no longer played riffs and thought "I should use that" and built something around it. I had nothing to say.
And I could feel it happening. I tried a few things to fight it: I worked with a drummer and tried to write some songs using riffs; I would record mini-moments of inspiration on my phone and hope to make sense of them when I came back to them; I sat down and wrote journals; I tried to write semi-creative blog posts; I tried to attend open-mic nights and pub jams; I tried to record videos of cover songs, secretly hoping that they'd turn into something of my own. I'd sit down and try to learn proper riffs, hoping they'd lead to new flashes of inspiration. But they never did. And I still feel like I have nothing to say.
There are ironies here: I know people want to hear what I have to say; I know people care about me and think I have worthwhile ideas; I know people can see that I have a vision for things. And I'm anxious to get it out, myself.
I imagine a good portion of it is separation-based. This whole marriage-falling-apart thing has been a pretty enormous blow to my ego, and it's been a long process that continues to take up an inordinate amount of brainspace in any given moment. So perhaps, as I learn how to be myself again, maybe I'll find a way to articulate my vision again, whatever it is.
But it's not there yet. My vision simmers at best.
But I could sure use some of that overflowing confidence to express myself again.
And using "simmers" reminded me of this special moment from last summer:
I've tried writing a few blog posts over the last few weeks, but my brain has not been able to create anything interesting and blogworthy. So here are a few recent posts to other places.
My bellydancing, Piers Plowman-studying friend Noelle Phillips posted this to Facebook today; I asked her if I could post it here because it got me thinking. And she consented.
Since I try not to use Facebook anymore, I didn't post anything there. For my purposes, a list like this belongs on Tumblr. So here goes:
But then I look at my music tastes and I realize that I started listening to The Cars when I was in Grade 7. And I still listen to their songs more often than any other artist's songs. This should embarrass me. Shouldn't music tastes change a little more between Grade 7 and age 36? And, despite my vast musical tastes, why am I still listening to this one artist on a regular basis?
Then I heard last Sunday's edition of... The Sunday Edition where Michael Enright and Robert Harris discussed a couple albums that continue to move them despite decades of distance. Harris discussed how much the recording of Wonderful Town moved him as a child even though he didn't understand all of it, even though he hasn't listened to it for years and years.
So I don't feel so bad about my love for The Cars now.
And perhaps there's someone out there who might be moved by the music I make, despite my own aversion to it.
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas