04 January 2011

The Land of Presence and Possibility

From an email written to B______:

My holiday in Portland draws to an end. ... I've been so cold for so many consecutive days I now feel a humility and resignation akin to an inmate at a concentration camp... On the plus side, creative work time has been surprisingly productive. ...

Creative activity....I'm newly amazed by the mysterious, generous, transcendent, profound experience of making art. It involves surrender, among other things. Surrendering my neuroses and predilections and biases and self-loathing. Surrendering my slippery little cop-outs and urges to indulge in empty distractions.

Facing the undeniable truth of my mortality--another birthday, new aches in the body--and witnessing me (and my old dog colleagues) pursuing the same fruitless routines... Enough enough enough! Do I want to get "this" done before I die or not? This music will only be made if I make it...so I've gotten busy these last weeks and I'm astounded. Like getting a glimpse behind the store-house doors where vast treasures of beauty and mystery lie.
For several days, there has seemed to be nothing else to do but make the art. If I had "my own" place or a lover or a car...if I had warm-enough clothes or some friends in town or a good book.... If I had any of these, they might serve as excuse or permission to not make the art. In the absence of all of them, I had only Time and my guitar. And I got to work.

At moments, I actually felt trapped; like I had no choice; like the only thing possible in that precious granted moment of breath was to offer myself in service to the music that wanted to be sung. Like the only alternatives were death or madness.

The song was the only thing in the Universe for me in that moment.


This is a strange experience. Freeing and frightening and new. It's a space where there's just God and me reflecting each other infinitely. Familiar self-throttling thoughts like What am I doing here? I'm....I'm not....I crumble like plaster balloons and blow away.

There's no pressure. Just a profound sense of presence and possibility.

Today I see it as my next site for sojourn. The Land of Presence and Possibility. Learning to speak the languages and hold the silences of that land.

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