Out of the Box

east stairs in my studio's building
east stairs in my studio’s building, where I’m not.

I’m drinking good beer in a sunlit window at Free Times Cafe where I used to hang out with my band in the ’80s.  When I arrived the speakers were playing an obscure (to me) Serbian singer doing everything from traditional love songs to hard rock, but now we’re on to Steve Perry – this is the personal playlist of one of the waiters since the restaurant’s computer isn’t working.  Said waiter is of Serbian descent, sings heavy metal and runs the open mic on Mondays…

What’s your favourite Journey song he asks me.  I don’t know titles, I say, what’s yours?  Wheel in the Sky, he says.  It’s coming up soon… And it does – …I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow…

I’ve brought only one pair of glasses, no ipod with my playlist, no map or plan and only remembered a toothbrush by mistake.  The objective has been met though: I am not home.

It’s been wonderful to shut down my internal industrial engines and just… be.

Photo on 2014-02-16 at 11.49

Day 3 morning finds me at Carrot Common on the Danforth, drinking a big fat latte.  I’m ready now to hit the road for home, eager to get back to work.  Priorities have had a chance to readjust, the list of goals is clearer, and I can actually see that what needs to happen next is not just blind, mulish work, but a few concrete, specific things.

Not a problem.  I love work.

And it’s been great to stop for a breather.

 

Lip service

One month:  Corelli to Handel to Brahms and Faure to Jensen to Patootie to sereda to Kurt Cobain via Drew Wright.  In between some work re-arranging songs by JTaylor, Norah Jones, Kris Delmhorst and other specials for cello and voice.  Or just cello, or just voice.  And thumb piano (note to self:  revive and nourish friendships with sweet tasteful drummers).

Our Band, Catchpenny, somewhere in Toronto, sometime in the 1980s.  Aruna Handa, Frank Klaassen, Michael Klaassen & me
Our Band, Catchpenny, somewhere in Toronto, sometime in the 1980s. Aruna Handa, Frank Klaassen, Michael Klaassen & me

This sounds urgent, but it’s not.  It’s more like breathing.  Or working out, with the intention of finding muscles that haven’t been used for a very long time, and… using them again, even if it takes a rebuild.  And yes, yes, all that about pain and gain, too.

wild carrot
wild carrot

I believe it’s important to Do the thing that you feel compelled to do.  There’s a reason you feel so compelled, after all – you can probably trust it.

If there are obstacles to your Doing of the thing, don’t waste time blaming them, just remove, or find a way around.  Complaint and self-defeat have never once written a song or painted a picture:  dump them.  You’ve got better things to do with your time.

swimming-dock
St Lawrence River.

Jump in.  Do the work.  It’s warm.

Oh, and if you see someone else who’s doing the work, love them for it.