At this point, the world is mourning the loss of Robin Williams. His humor and quick wit, as well as his depth in the portrayal of complex characters, was appreciated by so many. My favorite film of his was Dead Poets Society, which I saw as a teen. That movie gave me hope. It encouraged non-conformity, influence of the world through the passion of words, ideas, and the arts, and who could forget the carpe diem segment.
Those are all wonderful concepts to take in during one’s formative years, but the concept I find as my challenge right now is that of finding my own voice. It’s tough, especially when it seems that none of the conventional molds really fit oneself. In my case, I’m in a place at which I know what is not for me. I enjoy the quest of research in music as well as historical performance practice of it. Creating a conversation with music, about music, and around music seems, to me, one of the best ways to deepen its culture, in addition to getting more people interested in gathering to play music together so as to have their own experiences.
Getting others to understand what I’m about and what I’m after is challenging, as well. We are in a society that thinks in terms of pre-formed, long-standing establishments. New ventures are not embraced often. While I have tried conventional ways of inviting people to participate, I think this is best handled by simply doing as demonstration. Listen to performances, hear how we sound, enjoy conversing about music, then realize that music can be a greater part of your life, if you work with it. It might be slow, but it is an authentic way of gaining trust and understanding of a targeted audience. And through this process, may it be possible for us all to allow our true talents, skills, characteristics, values, passions, and personalities to shine through, being the best we can be.
“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.”
-The Wizard (Williams’ character in August Rush)
I hope that, at some point in the process, I will find a circle of people with whom I resonate, much like David Foster Wallace had written about in his book called Quack This Way. But make no mistake: having peers with similar tastes does not equal having voices you can plagiarize. Austin Kleon provides guidelines for developing one’s own voice in ten steps. Confession: I have been stuck for quite some time because I have been holding out until I figured out exactly who I am and what I’m doing before getting started, or before sharing any of the process of the work that I’m doing (see step 2). And it really is of utmost importance to have other hobbies and projects to provide variation and interest. This is why long-time readers of this blog have read a few entries on gardening here, and I may occasionally take other detours here to discuss my other interests like dance, sauerkraut-making, and using collage and glyph art to work out mental blocks. By doing this, you get a complete picture of myself and work and how other pieces of the puzzle of my life fit together, as I work out what the picture will ultimately be.
I post this, not just as an alert that this is not just a music blog, and not just as a warning that you will see some entries that might be rough and about process. Consider this an invitation for you to do the same. What kind of art and work do you want to develop in your own life, and what steps are you taking to get there? Share it with me here, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or in person. Look to unique souls such as Williams and Wallace to speak your truth and be yourself. Ask yourself what Mr. Keating asked his Dead Poet Society class:
“…the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”