Saturday, April 3, 2010

ladies and gentlemen

There was a time, not very long, when I had left college and I was doing nothing but sitting in my apartment all day, practicing guitar while I watched television. At the time I was very interested in playing scales and developing lead guitar technique, and playing fast, learning the modes and such.... I have limited natural talent for guitar, but at the time, since I was practicing obsessively, I couldn't help but pick up a few skills. What I liked, though, what I wanted, was to play just at the outside edge of my ability, to play just a little bit faster than I had a right to, to be forever on the bleeding edge of what I could do, to feel like the guitar was something so slightly out of my control, to get to the note, but to just barely, just barely get there.

Anyone who knows will tell you that's the worst way to practice guitar, but it didn't matter much to me. I played for no purpose. What I want is to be able to live that way, for the whole of my life to just exceed my grasp, to feel like the instruments of my existence are barely beyond my ability to operate them. I don't, of course. (No, I am not taking up skydiving.)

What strikes and frightens you is when you realize that you have been considered. The trouble is that I always think as though there will be a time in the near future when I am not dead but in which I will no longer exist, and that unreality of that keeps insisting itself on me. In the meantime I must learn to share this space with myself, to occupy the crimped narrative of my own life, to flourish in whatever small way is possible, to heave against my narrow means with all strength, and to submit myself to the superior wisdom of you.

Do you know what the word "jubilee" originally meant, what the celebration was about? I think about that all the time, I can't believe it isn't in the Constitution, there's nothing I hunger for more-- jubilee, jubilee, jubilee.