Like anything, you don’t start out at the top and you’re always getting better. So I’m not in a competition with anyone. I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I don’t think I’m the best at anything. I just do my thing, and I learn shit from people all the time. Just keep your brain open and you can just … knowledge is key, like … it’s also free so you just like … take little bits everywhere and remember it … and your field is kind of just like so open to go over there over there over there… it’s all there. It’s all in finding. You just have to take it.
I made a mistake a few days back, and am just now getting around to talking about it.
Well, all right, “mistake” may be the wrong word there. Maybe I should call this my Tash Sultana problem, instead? I dunno.
Here’s the set-up, all right?
First, realize that—like several other creative people I know—I’ve been having a hard time creating words these days. Blame it on Covid-19. Blame it on our idiot of a president. Blame it on stresses going on in life in general. I mean, there is a lot going on around me right now, so that’s fair. Or, if you want, just blame in on me. It doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that writing fiction right now is, for me, like pulling teeth. At times, anyway. My word creator is unreliable at present–throwing down words one minute, then suddenly dry the next.
So that’s part one of the set-up, okay? Words: persnickety.
Next, let’s say I decided to jump into a story, but also decided I needed background music.
I’m like that sometimes. Many pieces of my fiction have a soundtrack in my own mind. I look for a mood in music that plays behind my words. So, yes, let’s say I did that.
To go further, let’s accept that I came across a long-running video of a Tash Sultana concert, which made me think. Hey, Tash Sultana, I remember stumbling into their stuff earlier. I liked it. Which is true. Some many months ago, Lisa (copy/editor wife Lisa, not writer/friend Lisa) and I found a bunch of their stuff through a TV station feed and really liked it.
Electronic. Kind of. I mean Jazz. Or, well, pick something and I’ll go with it, but before you decide how to categorize their music, you’re going to have to listen to it. Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy who is just too old to be in touch with modern youth culture, but I really don’t have a word to really categorize their work. They loop. And play. And just basically dig into the artistry of the moment.
The problem, of course is that once I started listening, I had to watch.
That’s a thing about Tash Sultana—for me, anyway—part of the joy around their music is the act of watching them play. Barefoot stomping. Head tossing. Blissful and smiling at something surprising. While performing, Tash Sultana is, perhaps, the walking embodiment of an artist living in the moment. Focusing on creation. Reveling in the way parts of craft and soul and emotion come together to make a whole so much more indefinable than those parts.
If you haven’t watched them, you need to. If you have, well, it wouldn’t hurt to do it again.
Two hours or so later—a span that included the nearly religious experience of Blackbird that came as an encore(not the Beatles’ Blackbird, for folks of my age, but something totally different)—I finished listening.
Still hadn’t gotten any words in, of course, but I walked away feeling energized. Feeling a deep, deep need to create.
Which, of course, is even better.
And, yeah. The words came along just fine when I sat down.
So if you’re one of those people looking for the kind of motivation that comes by example rather than direction, here you go.