Search for Purpose Yields An Answer: A Footnote

3 02 2011

I feel kind of bad. Well, not bad necessarily, but maybe a little dishonest. You see, I believe when started this blog I was quite adamant about the subject matter being about not one thing in particular, and as of late, my writing has been overwhelmingly music-centric. Those who really know me will not be surprised at all, and anyone else with a heartbeat, after learning that music is my true passion (writing, a skill by education), will find nothing out of the ordinary about someone writing about what moves them. I understand this too, and also subscribe to the notion that one must follow his or her muse. I should’t feel too bad. Indeed I should be ecstatic at the outpouring on the subject, considering how long I remained silent.

Yet still I wonder if I should alter the course a bit: either 1) decidedly narrowing the scope of this blog to only music, or 2) intentionally taking up a different subject just to mix it up. And now I guess there is a 3) go with the flow, because you have already made steps to mix it up, just let the ideas come to you for that will be most genuine. And that too was a promise I made from the very beginning.





The Wager

28 01 2011

Failure is never an option, but it’s always a possibility. Especially when you’re trying to break out, to try something new or different, to offer a view or style unproven; to put forth the unconventional. Which is the bigger risk: people reacting negatively to your work, or never doing the work at all?

I met Myrlie Evers today, civil rights leader, first full-time chairman of the NAACP, honorary PhD at, like, ten universities, AMAZING woman, and an amazing speaker. Lucky me, my job is listening to people and making sure they sound good on tape. Her voice, part lecture, part testimony; her diction, erudite and mesmerizing; the stories were entwined with wisdom, struggle, and conviction. My mind swam with disbelief at being in the same room with someone who played such an important role in how the world is today.

On June 12, 1963, her husband Medgar Evers, was shot in the back in their driveway as he returned home. For over a decade the two had fought for civil rights, and with her husband now fallen, Myrlie continued to raise the flag on her own. Many, even from within the NAACP, told her that Medgar would be responsible for any of her future accomplishments. Her response: “Just watch and see what I can do.” If she had been afraid of failure, or of unwaveringly adhering to her conviction, we all would have lost out, and I wouldn’t have met her today.

By comparison, artistic struggles do not seem nearly as serious, as life or death, as those our civil right heroes were faced with, but the challenges may take to mountains in much the same way. And for those making their living by following the dream, it really is a creative life versus a soul-sucking occupation. If for an instant you let someone else determine your direction, diminish your contribution, or otherwise take control of your destiny, you are giving up the fight.





Extreme Tardiness

26 01 2011

How long can you carry the stone?

An article appeared in the New York Times today about author Barnaby Conrad and his newly published “The Second Life of John Wilkes Booth.” The topic of the book is not important to me; what is amazing is that it took him 60 years to write it. That may seem extreme, especially for Conrad who now feels as though a great weight has lifted, but consider that the man who suggested the idea, Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis, told him, “You are never going to be a writer unless you write that book.” What a gauntlet! What a long time to wait for validation in a craft where pros must swim an infinite sea of harsh criticism. Such weight would sink less serious writers by the dozens. Yet, after writing over 30 books, and living a rich life that included a stint as a bullfighter, Conrad doesn’t have much left to prove. But I would bet he’s glad he doesn’t have to carry that one into the next life.

Click here to read the original NY Times article.