I was struggling – yea, struggling – to synchronize my iPOD today. It’s an iPOD Classic, with something like 160GB of space for downloading music. I have more than 140GB unused. This particular one is a used device, because the last new one that I purchased was laundered. I left it in the pocket of my shirt or pants or something and it went through a full wash cycle. In a big middle finger to the Universe, I purchased this duplicate, although the model had been discontinued entirely by Apple. That’ll show ’em.

The iTunes app is no longer working optimally with this dated model, but whatever. I don’t know if I’ve gotten everything updated properly, and don’t much care. It occurs to me that I should just load everything I have onto this thing, whether I listen to it or not, just to make some use of the space I have available before the whole thing crashes. Technology is a wonderful thing, right up until it’s not.

I was contemplating my choice of music lately, because it’s occurred to me that I’m turning into one of those middle-aged retro-hippie types, shaking my head at the “new” music and paying homage to the “real” music of my younger years. Who knew I’d be one of “those people” who shakes a wrinkling fist at the sky in defense of the “old days”. I’ve always been a late bloomer, or somehow out of my own time, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I had occasion to have dinner with a friend of mine night before last, and I had been looking forward to it, although with a little trepidation. She initially wanted to pick me up in an Uber ride, and I said yes spontaneously. I hadn’t talked to her or seen her in many months, and her mom has just moved here and I wanted to meet her, so I gave no thought to accepting the ride share invitation. A few hours later, though, I had second thoughts due to pandemic concerns, and texted her to ask if she would be offended if I wanted to just meet them somewhere. That was fine, and that’s what I did.

The restaurant was fine, although nobody much gave a thought to masking. Diners weren’t piled atop each other, though, so I felt comfortable with that. We had a great time, and her mother is just lovely. I enjoyed her no end. She’s 75 and I look older than she does. Very, very nice lady who I know has been through more than a couple of changes in her life, but seems very comfortable in her own skin. She is very kind, and just has a very healing energy that I gravitated toward.

My friend started getting a bit antsy for some unknown reason, so we didn’t linger long after the meal. She lives within walking distance of that restaurant, so I left my truck there and we proceeded over to her place. I got to meet her gigantic Malamute mix of a dog, who growled at me off and off for most of the time I was there, while not sniffing me from head to foot. Beautiful dog, though, but slightly intimidating. I paid him no mind, regardless. Never show fear.

Regardless, we sat around for a little while at her place, with her mom, and I noticed her guitar sitting around. I’ve noticed it before, but had never touched it. Since she was having some kind of obsessive quest to discipline the dog and get a drink from a store across the street, I chilled with Mom, and picked up the guitar. It was abominably out of tune, and the strings were practically rusty. I managed to get it into a passable state of tuning, and just fiddled around with it for a few minutes, really just passing time. I haven’t played in a while, so it was no big whoop.

My friend and her mother were mesmerized, and made all kinds of noise about what a great guitarist I was. They want me to play stuff they could sing, so I managed to eke out “Amazing Grace” and “Me and Bobby McGee” and just some other improve finger picking, and they were ready to follow me anywhere. Well, that’s a bit exaggerated, but they were honestly enthralled. Not that I’m quick to praise my own playing, but this was LITERALLY no big deal…I managed (especially after the instrument was tuned reasonably).

The reason I bring that up is because I realized how long it’s been since I had an audience for any music that I make, and it felt good to give some enjoyment. Having an audience makes all the difference when you’re performing – whether you perform for a paid audience or at the proverbial campfire. Whether you’re a concert master or a beginner, having someone to witness y our product is invaluable. It’s about the exchange of energy, and when something comes from your soul and hits the air, having a witness for that is everything.

I need to play more. It is part of who I am, prowess and skill level regardless. It doesn’t matter how good you are, it just matters that you get the song in your soul into the air. The vibration is important. It can change things in the world…first, there was the Word. Then came Light. The Word, to my understanding, was the vibration that stirred life and shook things into random connection and started the whole sequence of life as we know it. The Sound that shook the world into being. Sound is energy, energy is life, life is art. We are always creating, always rearranging and recombining. We just forget.

Creation. We need to create. I need to creat. Because I am who I am, I have been focused on the wait for some grandiose creative product, but I am feeling at this moment it doesn’t need to be such a dramatic endeavor. My innards are telling me to just move from one place to another, not a long journey, just a shift. Me playing those few mediocre tones the other night was a shift, a shift that allowed me to trust people for a few minutes and not put so much emphasis on being perfect.

I am thinking I could play a bit more. I am thinking I could simply make a joyful noise, and let go of the ridiculous people who I allowed to put me down for not being professional grade. I did that. They were simply clueless, but I let it matter more than it ever should have. It’s my music, not theirs. If they don’t like it they don’t need to listen to it. Artists create because that’s what they do, no more and no less. It’s great if you’re one of the ones who makes a lot of money doing it, but people who make not a dime can no more stop the creation than a plant can stop photosynthesis.

I need to be who I am, no more and no less. In my life, I haven’t always done such a good job of that, sometimes trying to be far more than what I am, other times far less. I never understood exactly who I was, I think, and perhaps I still don’t but I suspect I am closer than ever. Maybe when I come to fully understand all of it, it will be time to go. When i have learned all that I can here, I will move on to some other proving ground, or something like that. I guess we’ll see.

Tomorrow I have the final session with my psychiatrist, who is abruptly retiring. I feel a little better about having the opportunity to at least close out the relationship with her, because for a little while it looked as though she would just go *poof* and disappear in a puff of smoke. I finally got a letter she’d sent announcing the retirement, and it began with “It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my retirement.” I hope she’s not ill, or that some tragedy has not befallen her or her family. Despite my disappointment at how this was handled, I did wonder if there was something out of her control that had come up. Maybe I will find that out, maybe not, but at least I can say my farewell and all that.

Someone asked, at a virtual workshop yesterday, to describe the world I was working to create. They gave us only a few minutes to reflect on the question, then discuss in small groups. My response had to do with a world that allowed me to just be, without explaining or justifying myself, without having to look over my shoulder and remain hypervigilant all the time. In so many words, I want a world in which I can feel safe and not judged on the basis of my appearance, or resemblance to others who appear to be similar. I want a world where I feel safe, where I can explore and feel as though I have a right to be anywhere I happen to land. That’s a tall order.

I had a blink of that when I was sitting there plinking out a few notes in my friend’s house, with her gigantic dog who doesn’t quite trust me yet, and her mother who proved to be so accepting it almost made me cry. Why should that be such a rare thing to experience? There was no pretense, no putting on airs, no judging whether or not anyone used the correct language or had the correct thoughts. It was just three people enjoying the moments they had together and taking them for what they were. I felt at peace. That is rare these days.

Having such an easy evening caused me to realize that it’s not that hard to have times like that. All you need is people who are not so full of themselves that no answer is correct, who are not so insistent on control that no effort is good enough. You just need open hearts, I think, ones that invite the stranger and whatever she has to offer. Everyone’s offering is rendered into a new creation that reflects the whole ensemble. This is the world I dream of, this is the way I believe it should be. Rigidity just has no place there. I often feel there’s so much rigidity in the world as it is now that it just might break when the winds of change get stronger. If it breaks, I guess we’ll have to sweep up the pieces and figure out what to keep and what to empty into the trash heap. But let’s get on with it, for the love of all that is holy.

I had a sno-ball yesterday. I think I ate it too fast, and I fiddled with combining flavors and had a topping, and that didn’t go so well. It could have ushered me into a sugar coma, or something, but it didn’t feel particularly golden. So, I’ve been laying a bit low today. I was at my 12-step home-group meeting last night, and they were talking about stuff that had gratitude mixed in, and I was reflecting that I can’t just keep saying that I’m grateful for things and not take any action to maintain them. I was taught that gratitude is an action word, so I need to not forget that. I need to be grateful for the gift of flight, and then I need to be about whatever actions support keeping me aloft. Maybe it’s the action part that I’ve forgotten.

C’mon girl – get up.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: