With Which Deliberation Cannot Interfere
There are many impediments to self-expression that have kept my posting to a minimum for the past several months. No one is more critical of my work than I am, a habit of mind I had hoped blogging would help redirect. An agile mind needs room move. I’m sure than some would say my world-view is too narrow, but that doesn’t seem to keep a great many other people from blogging; far from it: it fuels them.
There is an efficiency and a power that a “narrow” focus brings to a writer; like the internal combustion engine, the right amount of fuel and oxygen equals tremendous, focused energy. I have something like that in me, something I feel that I should share, something that needs release. Yet the words come with great difficulty. I sputter and stop. I leave my thoughts by the side of the road.
It’s not that I’m so sensitive to my own hurts. No my hurts are mostly old and healed, covered with scabs and scar tissue. Ugly, but no longer actively harmful. What I have, I am coming to learn, is an ability to see others in all their awful fallen humanity, grace, pain and joy. Trust me, it’s not an elitist thing. I don’t feel superior. But I do see things I’d rather not and feel things I’d rather not. An often I sense that I should remain quiet out of humility to listen and learn further. Now it’s time to write again.
In the liner notes to Miles Davis’ classic jazz album “Kind of Blue”, pianist Bill Evans writes:
There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere. The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.
I’ve spent a lot of time explaining myself here, but I think what I’m really after is that spontaneity with which “deliberation cannot interfere”. Vanderleun calls it “brain jazz“. Riffing.
The tone comes best when I don’t think about it. I wonder if it was the same for Coltrane. He just blew and blew and blew until it became like breathing for him. Better than breathing- life. I don’t want to go quite there myelf- I like my life- but I need to just start typing more often. As in this post.