Social media. I hate it most days. Yet, I have no choice but to gain some ‘attention’ as a musician who works alone. It is exhausting to be honest. It weren’t for friends I would be a hermit, observing the world and writing about it, but I do not have that luxury. Yet, what’s the point of being a musician or a human I ask myself if I cannot share? My music, my words, small insights and bits of my black heart?
My mother often reminds me of one of her fondest memories, when she caught me ‘reading’ a book as she was. I was under one years old she claims. Perpetually reading, escaping into other worlds, attempting to find a new way to navigate myself through this tricky place and all its people. I always knew I wanted to sing but being so shy made facing that reality monumental indeed. Whenever I crash and slump into a low, like I did after the Ben Harper experience, I retreat to my room with a plethora of books and allowed myself to be swallowed up by the lives of others. I complete at least two books a day, cry, eat chocolate and speak to no one. This is my process. If become too immersed in the world, its people and the downright fuckery that takes place I shut down and cannot be reached. I sink into my own silence along with all the dark things lurking there.
I have often told my daughter that it is not our job, as humans to plead for escape but to inhabit this piece of rock with relish and joy. Yet I struggle to do the same so very often. In order to prevent being consumed by others I keep everything at a careful distance. I require one person to hear my thoughts, a sounding board if you will. Once spoken aloud ideas crystalise. Yet the realisation that most have no idea what to do with my mad ramblings, or find it onerous has caused me to revert to writing, to withdraw into myself and maintain a steely silence.
Ironically it is this very distance needed to maintain my sanity that most feel the need to surmount, as though it and I am some mountain that needs to be conquered. Even my daughter claims I am the most mysterious person she knows! She has no idea how I feel about anything! Leave me be I silently plead. If I was unhappy I would leave and no amount of books could rouse me, cajole the light back into my eyes.
Once I have acquired balance of sorts, I compose music. When I perform I release all those torrid emotions. And they are not only mine. Many confess all their darkness to me. Many share so much of their lives; the secrets they cling to, the their small dishonesties and the cruelty of their lives. Many a times I am the middle person, the diplomat attempting to negotiate peace between warring people or conflicting ideas within in a person. What else can I do with that energy but express it through music? My mother told me I missed out on my true calling – I should have been a therapist! In my aloneness, when the dark things circle….I often wonder….who will be a witness to what I feel?
The answer remains the same. Music, the gods, the elements, the small bird attempting to spread it’s wings. Yes, the small one I just saw leave its nest the other day. Her wings and my coat are the same color. When I realised this I laughed so loudly! Little bird, I said, when you were in your nest you had no idea of the big sky that will call to you, the winds you will glide on do you? Yet very soon….all you and I will know….is how to ride the wind, embrace the storms, the golden sun…and soar. Then I lit my cigarette, called up my friends and fell asleep. Everything is well, and will always be well with my heart and my soul….and that’s more than enough for now.