My writing practice has gone a bit off the rails lately. My periods of inspiration have not been in alignment with my schedule in a way that has allowed me to put pen to paper, so to speak, for at least the last month. This has caused me to be simultaneously pent up with ideas that eventually get scrambled and mixed up in my head and unable to conjure any of those thoughts when I do sit down and purge my brain. It has been quite frustrating.
So in order to remedy this, I’m just gonna work through it here in this post. Expect stream of consciousness, half-formed thoughts and disparate ideas drawn together tenuously, at best. I figure if I accomplish all those in the same post over the 15 minutes I plan to spend breaking out of my funk here, this post will be the beautiful messy success I hope for it to be.
First, DAMN, those January 6th hearings are something else. To be honest, I don’t feel like I have heard anything that I didn’t already know, intuitively, but this shit was BAAAAAAAAD! I feel as though I’ve had ALL of my hunches, suspicions and tingly sensations verified, and not in a good way. What 🍊 45 did to manipulate and maneuver in attempts to break down our system of government and turn our country into an autocracy is heinous and disgusting and should never have been allowed to happen. We are lucky to have had a few good apples, people doing the right thing when their personal incentives were all aligned toward them doing something else. I just pray that we can come together and rally around that which is most important… ensuring the right to vote for all citizens and the fair and accurate (independently verifiable) counting of that vote, so that we can continue to call ourselves a democratic republic in the future.
And then there was that short (and sweet, maybe?) Steve Bannon trial. That smug SOB seems to think he’s going to appeal and will end up overturning his conviction and all the government’s arguments against him in his case at the same time. While I abhor everything this man stands for, I do not put it past ANY member of today’s republican party, particularly those who, like Bannon, seem to believe that they are entitled to everything and that is how it should be, to NOT purposefully break laws JUST SO THEY can be the ones to have that law overturned in court. They have the funds, and we already have seen what this insane SCOTUS will do. Precedent is meaningless when ideology is at stake. I would not put it past this man, or any number of others, to take this court battle to the SCOTUS just so they can side in his favor, 5-4, and change a few more of the very basic laws that we all take for granted, but they think should not apply to them. Please keep your eyes open on this one.
And now for something a little more personal… I have had an excellent week with my band, really the last few days. We practice Thursday nights and this week, practice was 🔥. I play saxophone and, while I can and do read music occasionally, I have never been very good at reading music. My real joy is playing by ear, mimicking what I have heard. So we play a lot of rock tunes and I just felt so in sync, aligned with the group and sounding amazing. It was lovely. Also we were playing outdoors on the deck of one of our members and it was a little hot and humid (for the Pac NW, it was downright swampy), but by the end, it had cooled down and I didn’t care anyway. An evening of making music with your friends can do that for me.
Today, the band participated in a parade in a teeny tiny town on the coast. The weather was fantastic, though a little breezy and the crowd was VERY appreciative! We had no conductor with us, so someone decided I should be in charge of counting us off on each song, because I’m LOUD. Truth be told, I do see myself as a leader, but a reluctant one. I have never liked being the center of attention. At any rate, the gig was great and we sounded phenomenal! For my part, I played exceptionally well, and I say that with all sincerity, because other times, I mess up A LOT more. Since I stopped reading music and started playing by ear nearly 100% of the time, I have become a MUCH better overall musician, to the point that I never thought I would have just a few years ago. I blend in with the group, play parts that need filling in or are missing altogether, and it all happens seamlessly, without my having to put active attention toward it. It is the precise definition of a flow state. This is one of my favorite traits in myself, and I will likely never get paid for it.
But I do think of my time in band as a metaphor for the rest of my life. Sometimes things flow and it all comes together with beautiful harmonies and no wrong notes, effortlessly, and other times, there are fat-fingers (yup, that happens on sax just like on a computer keyboard), mistimed entrances and overthinking. The precious times are those when all those mistakes DON’T happen AND you don’t know how! It was just a good day and there’s no way to explain it or analyze it. There is no “root cause,” nothing to identify for how things went right and no recipe for how to reproduce it. It was just a brilliant, joyous coincidence, coupled with luck and synchronicity.
I believe there are ways to increase the odds of experiencing times like this… you can practice your craft, whatever it may be, and you can find a community who will help you round out the sound. There is NOTHING like playing in a band, of any size, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It is absolutely magical and I love my band mates like family. They each bring something to the group that I cannot and that is exactly as it should be.
And now, dear readers, I must close this one out because it is the hour of the bat in my neck of the woods and so I must lie back in my hammock and stare at the darkening sky. ❤🧡💛💚💙💜