Be it music, blog posts, novels or scribbles in your notebook, feel utterly fearless of forgetting.
The creative process is organic and without agency, the disruptive friction eroding your inertia is almost always covered in your fingerprints. As you turn your piece of art this way and that, smudging your originality with the corrupted lens of conscious thought, you add water to your whiskey.
Our vast sea of influences, the endless array of the beautiful and the mundane which so effortlessly surrounds us, is without the fatal flaw of narcissism. It exists, and it colors our lives with everything meaningful. To express outwards without absorbing inwards, that is the death of the relatable and a just a shadow of what creative expression can be.
I strum the guitar and feel the movement of the people on the street. The bikes and the birds move with an eerily familiar grace, the Wisteria flowers blossom with a subtle yet engrossing aroma of Spring. I express it briefly, just for a split second, and slide down the slippery slope of seeing what is without the blinding subjectivity of my perspective.
The notes couple, entangling and disentangling like some invisible ballet. The audio is a mirror for the moment I am experiencing, a sounding board for the stimuli around me. It is not ‘my music’, but a reflection of the melodies around it. I color it only slightly with whatever internal dialogue I’ve pushed to subconscious corners of my mind. I participate in the moment, rather than try to capture it.
Some unmeasured span of time later I awake, and find my fingers fumbling. Where did it go? That song, that perfectly framed instant in time, that pure expression of the world around me is falling headfirst into an expression of how I feel. I have fallen outside of what is, I have bunkered myself back into individuality.
The song is lost. I know I’ll never find it again, and a deep sadness wells up inside me, like a close friend has just turned her back on me forever.
I wander restlessly around the fretboard, playing the same notes but lacking the context and perspective that brought them all together. The melody loses oxygen and fades, the subtle harmonies forget their places, the grace notes wonder vaguely at their namesake. Time passes, and washes away the preceding moments.
In pretending I own the song I had just written, I fall under the false pretense that it should be at my beck and call. My subjective ego feels inclined to turn the moment I captured into some pet I can ask to do tricks for me later. It doesn’t really work like that. Oddly enough, once you set the song free you may just find it comes back to you later.
Songs are moments frozen in time, just like photos, just like the perfect phrasing to simplify that complex idea. When it comes to writing, be wasteful. When we mourn the loss of the moment, we only waste another.