What I really want
I guess you could consider this some kind of statement of intention.
Since it’s so customary for many people to list all the great or noble or ambitious resolutions they’re making upon crossing the transom into a new year, it might be a good idea for me to list a few changes I’d like to make, or see made, as the odometer clicks from 2009 to 2010.
Not that I get all serious about this sort of thing, but because it may somewhat more auspicious today, as there’s going to be a full moon and a lunar eclipse about a half hour from now, and not only that but it will be a “blue moon,” or the second full moon in December, and it will take me at least a half hour to write this, most likely longer, and because the soothsayers say that those are good times to make affirmations about what’s going out and what’s coming in, here are a few key points.
First things first: I’m not going to make any grand pronouncements about where I’m going to be at this time next year, because there are things over which I have no control, and my predictions that I’d be gainfully employed, with health insurance, too, by the end of 2009 came to naught. Now, If someone would like to hire this middle-aged man without a college degree, and the sooner the better, I would very much appreciate that, and I think that you the prospective employer would be very smart in doing so. I’m intelligent, creative and kind, not to mention trustworthy and loyal all the way through clean, brave and reverent, and I would like to find steady work and be a contributing member of society, self-supporting through my own efforts and all that.
Of course, without finance, romance is rather improbable, too, though not impossible. So I won’t make any pronouncements there, either. Besides, I’m old enough to know that behaving — or, as they call it on fishing boats, chumming — like The Situation on Jersey Shore does not work; instead, attraction rather than promotion works best for me. And if mutual attraction isn’t happening, it’s not something I can engineer, although having a full wallet does seem to be an aphrodisiac and a powerful attractant.
Love, money — yes, I’d like a heaping bounty of those things, but that’s not why I’m writing this. So what do I really want?
Well, more than almost anything, I want to play music with people. Maybe not in a band, which is what I’d really like to have. But I would like to be a participating member of a community that plays music together, that gets together and shares music and stories and learns each other’s songs. I can see many manifestations of that idea of community around me, and on one level I marvel at the richness of how people get together and make these things happen, and on another, my emotional body aches from the separation I feel when I see other people enjoying a sense of community that I’m not part of.
For example, on Facebook yesterday, a local jazz guitarist and bandleader, let’s call him Ross, put together a laundry list of all his favorite local writers and songwriters and musicians, along with dozens of other items, that he wanted to cite as being momentous to him in 2009. It was a lengthy list, and nowhere on it did my name appear. Now, I’m not terribly upset about that, but I guess it did smart enough that I sent him a message, telling him I thought his list was nice and hoping that, sometime in the next year, he’ll check out what I’m doing. I still haven’t heard back from him, which I could take as silence equals “fuck you,” except I’ve got plenty of messages in my own inbox that I’ve answered in my head but not for real. So I won’t.
The point is that, lately, this issue of community has begun coming up, a lot, and I really hate feeling like such an outsider, moreso than I ever have. I have a portfolio of what I think are really good songs, and I’m willing to compromise and I’m willing to learn other people’s music in exchange that they try to learn mine with all my weird chords and stuff. So what could the problem be?
Basically, methinx: Me.
As I put it in yesterday’s entry, I’m pretty sure I was one of those kids with Asperger’s syndrome. One of the hallmarks of having that kind of cranial hard-wiring is an inability, or at least an impaired capacity, to read the more nuanced cues from other people. Over the years I’ve learned a lot on the fly, or just by asking, or maybe from a combination of experience and intent. And two and a half years of daily Buddhist meditation practice has most likely made me more sensitive to others, just because it anchors a person in the moment, and that kind of presence, or attentional focus, makes it easier to jack into those nuanced cues that make participation in a community so natural and easy for many people.
So I’ve overcome an awful lot, but in some ways I’m still handicapped, and what happens is that I’m always feeling like the fat kid with the runny nose who’s still riding the pine after the sides are chosen for a game. “Well, you’re the odd man out, but you can watch us play” is not a happy place to be.
And thus, what I really want in 2010 is this: I want to be part of a community, especially one where music is the central focus. I want to share my music with others. I want others to share their music with me. I want to sing, to play, to tell stories, to laugh, and maybe even shed a few tears. I’m tired of sitting on the goddamn sidelines when I have so much to give.
Now, if this caring and benevolent universe should bestow a loving relationship on me, or an endless string of wild booty calls, and either a steady job or at least a way to keep making enough money to survive, over this coming year, that would be nice. Gravy, in fact. So would world peace, and enlightenment for everybody, too. But as the old saw goes, it is much better to give than to receive.
And, y’know what? I think I’m ready to start giving already. —Jackson Griffith