USP - Day 19
I've been without my guitar for 11 days.
I didn't realize this mattered - I can't play that well. But Today, my first day with my home, and my city, and my blonde Fender Telecaster, play was all I wanted to do. Finally, after jotting down lines and humming tunes for days on end, I could finally create something.
In my desperation back home, I tried writing a song on the ukulele. This is something I'm not prone to do, due to my retroactive embarrassment over playing (exclusively) ukulele all through high school. The uke can be played beautifully and poignantly but when I play it I feel like my young dilettante self.
But I braved the nostalgia and fashioned something simple in garage band and tried to make my words fit to it and eventually gave up.
But today, I sat and I wrote and I smoked and I took a shower and I wrote and I sang and sang and wrote.
For the first time in months I was able to write a song, nearly in entirety. And for the first time in maybe a year, it was something I was really proud of.
Thank god. I thought my ability to make music I could invest in was just a fleeting miracle. Some muse used me to write a song or two and then moved on, leaving me stranded with this inquisitive desire but without the ability to fulfill it.
On the plane ride home last night I cried a ton. I was sandwiched in between someone playing golf games on their iphone and someone wearing stockings and trying to sleep. My comically large notebook jutted past the tray table and I tried to make my tears and I smaller to make up for it. I wrote a bunch and that helped a little. I watched the first half of Moana and that helped a lot.
Today I was so full, I had to empty into something. I was bloated with feeling collected over an intense week and a half. I rung myself out into a song.
My shock and happiness with the result has made me rethink my own artistic process, and my avoidance of brooding and stewing and bad feelings in general. I've always thought of myself as a positive person, but often I'm hard on myself when I can't be. I force all of the bad feelings onto the page, and then distract myself, and repeat. Once, in therapy, I reflected on a time in my life I never want to return to, saying that "wallowing" like that made me feel useless. Dr. Gold called me out and was like "why do you use the word wallowing when you just mean being sad?" And I was like, "shit, Dr. Gold."
I'm so scared of my sadness. I'm scared of basking in it like the way I do in pleasure. I associate productivity with worth, and sadness with a lack of productivity. This fuels my anxiety because I'm sad a lot.
The time I was talking about in therapy also happened to be a period of great musical outpour. Most of the songs I consistently play were written during that "wallowing" phase, when I felt useless and lazy and bad.
But now I realize that there is so much worth to wallowing. Letting things sit with you, especially your bad feelings, sharpens them in your mind. Different parts stand out, different parts matter, and you can see yourself and the world around you in a newer, clearer way, with a more focussed passion.
I didn't have a lot of time to make art in the past several days, but of course my inner monologue rambles on wether or not I have time. So I thought a ton, and I felt a ton, and I was forced to sit with my feelings (quite literally on that flight), and out came something with so much feeling and purpose behind it.
Bad feelings are valuable even when they aren't productive. Maybe this summer can be a time to practice the stagnancy necessary for motion, the rumination necessary for reflection, and the wallowing necessary for creation.
Also I listened to the ukulele track I recorded back in California and it's pretty good. I kind of miss my ukulele.