Living room, sofa.
What a gift the guitar.
And it really is a gift that I received, at the time when I was young much to my chagrin really. I didn’t practice much then, and not surprisingly I’m really not very good.
There really is a knack in teaching because I “taught” some people (showed them a few chords, a few tricks) who turned out to be very, very, good. I think it’s because I have a very good musical sense. I have a talent for knowing how to make a piece of music sound lovely within the confines of the instruments abilities. I have a great sense of how to work within limitations.
Just no bloody skill to actually perform. I can’t actualize anywhere near the loveliness in my head.
However, crashing out a Billy Bragg (Milkman of Human Kindness, my current personal anthem) or delicately/desperately exploring a Radiohead, and then optimistically trying to suss out Sue Jorge’s Bowie arrangements (Star Man — I can do this; Life on Mars, not in a million) and I am off on another planet.
Just sat down and talked to my ex and as a result there are so many things I do not want to think about.
And I was thinking about doing some writing, and watching TV and then I remembered, I have that guitar thing.
This is what I mean about gifts.
This is the best of that God thing.
I mean when I play it’s a miracle of release of life and also of interaction with God. That is a memento of the Holy Spirit for me. The sheer pointless joy. This isn’t productive. But there is nothing destructive and it’s utterly healing. The act holds oblivion at bay.
So why bring that whole God business into it? Why add that layer and construction?
It is my choice, and I build a construction around that choice to believe in something external. But what the heck is wrong with that?
Our unique position on this planet depends on the creations of our mind, our conceptions — what we are able to mould and forge out of nothing. Surely that is one of the great accomplishments of human kind and seems to separate us from other creatures on this earth. Our abilities to conceive, to create whole worlds in the abstract from a Donne ode, to a Tolstoy novel, to Fermat’s last theorem, to a Haiku, to Miles Davis famous exhortation to all artists “it’s about the notes you don’t play.”
That’s the amazing human mind that conceives all this. So isn’t wonderful to conceive of something even greater and outside. If we can, than that conception is intrinsically humbling. Intrinsically, unselfish, intrinsically good and ego crushing.
Communing through art and creation (no matter how full of bum notes and just crap it is, as it is in my case) with a conception of external conscious that is utterly selfless by definition — well…. what a gift.
For me, right now is a time of personal oblivion. The forces of oblivion have swelled and swept through my personal life, my home. From plans and dreams and aspirations, to blank spots in the house where shared objects once stood and photos once hung. To the days when the children aren’t in the house when they otherwise would be, because they have adapted their lives to the oblivion.
Oblivion is not all bad. It just is. Our universe is made up of absence and void. The particles that shape us are made up of mostly empty space; if we venture a mere 10 km straight up (less than the distance for most daily commutes) life without mechanical supports doesn’t exist; let alone the vastness of space and the Earth’s still singular status as a place where life exists. Down here at human level, we succumb to a helpless oblivion every night; we seek out a mental oblivion, a sublimation of our existence through films and a good read, and even through extreme physical activity, sex, and alcohol and other narcotics — an opportunity to depart our bodies, to float out into the oblivion or at least skim its dark tides. Back to Miles — it’s the notes you don’t play, the emptiness that defines the space where the notes, the art, the creativity exist that give it space.
Creation — flawed, with many an “oh shit… what’s that chord again?” gives shape and contains the oblivion in my life, such that I cannot conceive of anything other than a benign conscious force giving shape and containing the oblivion that is the universe of humanity.
All that out of three chords and a lost dream – – thanks mom and dad for paying for the guitar lessons.