Nothing to Prove

I woke this morning all fired up as usual and headed out to get some travel soap and shampoo and at was 8:40 am and nobody was around. I always like weekend mornings in New York for this very reason. It's so calm.

It was raining and the wind was just gusting enough to make me feel like a hot shower might be preventative medicine and not just a morning ritual. I got the soap and a hot chocolate, headed back to my apartment, and sat there.

I wrote a little.

I looked out the window across the street at the now defunct Caffe Vivaldi. Years ago I used to play there and it's just another empty restaurant front now, with a sign saying "for lease". Do you want me? Do you want to make your dreams happen with me? It'll cost you.

I dug into my work, writing and rewriting. And a few hours passed and I got more and more defeated. Why do we make things hard, I wonder? Everything is simple, isn't it? Why do we think we need to put filagree and persuasion and optimism and good lighting on what is already ok just like it is?

There is nothing to prove.

A truck was idling and the fumes were seeping through the window cracks to an alarming degree. I put on my jacket, scarf and hat and went out to the driver, tapping on the window.

"How long are you planning to idle?" I asked with a bright eyed smile. I figured I'll walk in the drizzle until he's gone, and shake off the morning decline.

"I can turn it off," he said, turning the key.

"Oh, that's cool. The fumes are getting into my apartment and I thought I'd walk around."

"Sorry."

"No worries. Thanks!" I was pleased with the unexpected turn. I walked down Bleeker and ended up at a pastry shop for a chocolate eclair.

Back at the apartment I boiled some water for tea and looked over my work again.

Nope.

It's January and it's raining and there is a chill. My work still looked idiotic and out of place and now my afternoon plan to visit a museum looked like a torturous walk through the damp air for a display of human creativity that I can't quite enjoy myself.

I just want to sleep. It's a surprisingly great bed and blankets seem more appealing than Frank Lloyd Wright.

I can listen to the murmur of voices walking past my loose windows, garbage trucks, the soft rush of tires in the distance on wet pavement, engines and sirens stabbing through the stillness of a Saturday afternoon, across from vacant places.

There is really nothing to prove.

Reflections on Art & Music: Recording in Brooklyn

Today, unexpectedly, my worlds collide. I am making paintings of music. I couldn't be more moved by this.

Let me back up. I studied fine art in college (focus on watercolor) but by graduation I was disenchanted with the notion that a creation lives in only one location, often squirreled away in a room with white walls and no context. I was frustrated with how much art felt like waste....the storage room full of sketches and paintings that were practice. Art was heavy.

I began to gravitate towards my crush on music. Music moves and travels everywhere and exists nowhere. You don't have a storage room full of practice music. You can make and remake the same song over and over, hum it anywhere, share it. It belongs to everyone, pairs with and enhances every major and minor life moment.

Lately, however, I find there is something disenchanting about how accessible music has become, I'm not quite sure why. I've started to see the value in a singular object of creation. I had the pleasure of seeing original Georgia O'Keefe paintings and handmade clothes at an exhibit earlier this year and was transfixed. Her hand touched those very objects. That fabric touched the skin that housed that enormous soul. I've begun to make a point of seeing certain music artists live because of the unique experience of a creation in one location in real time that you cannot replicate.

This is a reminder to myself -- and I suppose by writing publicly, to everyone -- not to hold your enchantments or disenchantments too closely. If we're lucky, life surprises us every day. As my high school social studies teacher said during all discussions: You are allowed to change your mind. That's some wisdom we could all put to practice more often. Give yourself and everyone around you permission to evolve.

Today I get to make live-to-vinyl singles at Leesta Vall, a small label in Brooklyn. Each single is music AND also its own work of art. It's a painting, but it's a painting of music.

It appears that things can hold more truths than we expect. How much more of life is this way?