A sinus headache burrowed its way into my brain during the night, several hours before I floated up enough from the sea of sleep to really notice. By then it’s claws were sunk in.
I have a panoply of remedies, from hot compresses to miso broth to Advil to weeding.
Pick one. See what happens.
The headache is my excuse for the moments of self-pity that appear in this post. I hope you’ll forgive me. I’ll forgive myself, just because it ends faster that way.
Trip. Fall. Get up.
A long time ago, I dreamed of hooking up my piano in some magic way so that I’d be able to play color. I’d link the notes to the colors they sounded like so I could create color chords.
I’m certain the technology now exists to do that. But I dissembled my beloved parlor grand. (Really. Took it apart myself. That’s a story for another day.) It was beyond repair. I’m not a great player, but I really miss it. A house is not a home without a piano.
Sketch for a score (a terrible reproduction)
I’m in my favorite chair, listening to a favorite piece of music: September Fifteenth. Watching a TedX of Hang Time. Seeing, in my mind’s eye, more pieces to be made in a series I’ve been working on. (Cascade was one of them.) Realizing that together they form a score.
Who will play them? Put them out in the world and see what music comes back, (though I’m not sure I’d want to sift through all of it.)
This leads to thirty seconds of self-pity: piles of administrative work to do in my office, orders to fill, spreadsheets, records . . . WHAT AN I DOING WITH MY TIME!?! But this is how my life has unfolded, and the expansive space for doing raw, unbounded creative work isn’t quite there. Yet. Part of my hope for Patreon. We shall see.
So “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Shift to gratitude. Bad moods contract. Gratitude is more expansive. ACIM this morning: “I will not hurt myself again today.” Perfect.
Perhaps we fall into the lives we need to live rather than those we imagine. Perhaps the works in our imaginations live elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they take a physical form. Why would they appear, sipping coffee, listening to music that stretches my heart so far it breaks open?
Beauty is that in the presence of which we feel more alive. John O'Donohue
Yo-Yo Ma shared some thoughts about beauty: that it is transcendent, a moment when “a transfer of life” takes place, the encapsulation of an momentary experience of the awe of something larger than one’s self, of “the vastness of what humans have been trying to express for millennia,” an attempt to code the human cognition of wonder. I know that during the best times of creating work, in a flow state, I feel I am in the center of that awe.
Certainly being a Citizen Artist is a core aspect of my work and identity. I don’t know if my activism and my experiences of awe are encapsulated in my work in a way others can perceive, but that is certainly an intention and a hope of mine.
Yo-Yo Ma said that when he's giving a performance you are his guests. Being your host as a performer before a live audience is quite different than "hosting" you from the solitude of my studio. I rarely see you, and never while I’m “playing.” But I welcome you to listen deeply to my paintings and enter into your own awareness of wonder through them. I hope they open you to something you might otherwise not have experienced.
You can listen to the interview at https://onbeing.org/programs/yo-yo-ma-music-happens-between-the-notes-jul2018