I lost The One on Tuesday. The piano had been acting funny so I called the store and they sent someone out. He attempted a fix that we hope will hold but in the process I lost both recorded tracks stored in the piano's memory bank. I consciously controlled my face and breath when the technician told me. The only tiny scrap of my composition efforts in something like ten years! Gone. I was momentarily devastated.
It's been this way nearly always with me: next to nothing of the "art" I have produced in my life has been preserved. In graduate school, it was something I contemplated with uncommon seriousness and regularity. What did it mean, that I had so little interest and made so little effort to "save" what I made?
It was intellectually and psychologically entertaining then to speculate, to form a postulation and follow it out and experience my emotional response...and then elaborate on the hypothesis. I think I even had conversations about it. With other students in my program.
Improvisation is an amazing medium. My pulse quickens just typing the word. Improvisational performance is thrilling and endlessly surprising and provides a fabulous workout that enhances my capacities in every media I play in. But since I discovered improv, I very seldom think about documentation. Mostly because it has felt too heavy-handed a notion for the ephemeral nature of improvisation. Or so I told myself.
I have not performed or practiced for a very long time. I miss it. The performance part, especially. I dabble in improv performance a lot in my "real" life. It's like blood actually: it courses through everything. I'm awake to it in everything.
Earlier, I took a shower and as I dried myself afterward I began to think about what I want to put on. What did I want to feel against my clean, dry skin? And I laughed at myself a little, thinking just enjoy This...this multiplicity of sensations on my skin as water evaporates in places and trickles down in others...and the thirsty towel drinking from my arms...and seconds of intense coolness that raise gooseflesh on my neck....just enjoy this...
And then I thought of Henry. He is still young enough that The Future does not exist. When he is fresh from his bath, his complete attention is there where he is. One day, he will be distracted from Now by Later. But not yet.
And I wanted very much to be with him. A surge of longing to be near him flooded me.
It's more of that thing I was talking about awhile back; about being with someone in such realness that it awakens the Soul to the presence of God.
The way the after-shower story and thoughts of Henry came to me is an expression of improv in my blood. As Zaporah taught me, improv is about noticing. Noticing and not resisting where attention leads. I learned through my own practice that the improvisational impulse is nothing less than Divine heartbeat. For me, doing improv is being with myself in such realness that it awakens my Soul to the presence of God.