I can’t be trusted in clubs. Soccer clubs, rugby clubs, chess clubs, gay clubs. Not because I am a shameless flirt who loves whiskey. No, no, I am a shameless storyteller who is always collecting people and their stories. So while I might enjoy myself terribly, flinging my hands in the air and grinding at the appropriate spots while on the dance floor, I am secretly searching for someone to share a bit of their life with me.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession…’ I have been appalled and delighted by what I uncovered on social media. Often I feel as though I am staring into an abyss of people burdened with untold stories waiting to be transformed into music. The question constantly stuck at the back of my head is ‘I don’t know. I don’t understand so please explain…’
The Polish poet Wisława Szymborska summed it up succinctly when she opined, ‘This is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include the spaces within us as well as those outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended.’
I do enjoy pleading ‘hedonist’ when it suits me. Being a musician provides ample opportunity to do so. Yet when off stage it’s always those with a twinkle of intrigue, outrage or despair in their eyes I gravitate towards. Share with me your pain and how you found yourself stranded. Allow me to see if I too can be moved to places where the light struggles to take hold.
Another confession: I cannot be trusted around good men. Perhaps the truth is I cannot be trusted around men who carry only certainty in their pockets. Certainty about the way the world operates, at what pace and rhythm the human heart and all its frailties should beat. Men who have no time for the very thing we are continually surrounded by, and that which I revel in; Mystery. Astrophysicist and philosopher Marcelo Gleiser hit the nail on the head: “We strive toward knowledge, always more knowledge, but must understand that we are, and will remain, surrounded by mystery.”
Maybe I am just a damn curious person by nature. I love all things taboo and would opt for damnation than live monochromatic. Sustainable curiosity has to be nurtured from the start of our lives until it all comes to a deadening halt. Mark Strand said life is “such a lucky accident … that we’re almost obliged to pay attention.’ While French philosopher Simone Weil and I are of one mind, “Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer,” It would appear that I am always praying. I pray so much that I have no choice but to walk out of establishments when the music was too painful to bear or continue my sincere prayers when an ounce of truth is shared on a dance floor.
Every morning I assiduously check my notebook for proof of the previous night’s debauchery/enlightenment. Upon finding nothing or not enough to satisfy my curiosity the words of Rainer Maria Rilke resonate, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.”
Listen carefully, my black soul pleads. Something extraordinary is about to be revealed so remain aware. It appears I have no choice as I have no desire to abandon my shameless and ‘endless romance with the unknown’