Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bags of hush all round, please.

When I woke this morning I had a strong feeling that I simply wanted to not speak today....or at least to speak when only absolutely necessary and then very quietly. I spend so much time intensely focussed on my work, in solitude and quiet that this morning's urge seemed a little surprising. What I was aware of was a feeling of fatigue despite having had a good nights rest. I have begun, of late, to suspect that noise does actually stress me and and leave me feeling very drained. I also recognise that in this agitated state my responses and reactions to events, ideas and people is sometimes strained and somehow not really my own. As an artist this is of significant interest to me hence my intuition that I need some extra quiet.

People sometimes ask what music I listen to when I work. This always amuses me because when I'm concentrating on what I do I can't hear any music. I'm also aware, intellectually speaking, that any music playing in the studio will be having some influence on my body. To be unaware of something like this seems, to me, perhaps to be a little bit careless so I tend not to have music playing, especially when doing very delicate or sensitive work.

When I checked my YouTube account this morning I was bemused to find a new upload from National Geographic that seemed to reaffirm the thoughts I'd woken to. This is an inspiring mediation from a remarkable man, John "Planetwalker" Francis.

The Ragged Edge of Silence

I've played the guitar for almost as long as I've worked with metal but only in the last 2 years have I finally submitted myself to the real discipline of studying classical guitar. I'm extremely fortunate to have as my mentor and guide a very accomplished and wise maestro with the wonderful name of Ulliano Marchio. Ulliano is remarkably patient with me and when we get together of the occasional 45 minute lesson, which takes 2 hours as we talk a lot, I invariable leave a little more attentive to my own thoughts and to my own slow but steady progress. Ulliano allows me to relax into my own pace and understanding of what I'm doing. He's gently led me to a point where I hear the silence between the notes, those elemental pauses that make the music. When I practice, now, I'm acutely aware of the noise the notes produce, the timbre, the resonance and clarity...and the need to allow each of these notes to ring true. I'm an awfully long way off achieving what I'm speaking of but I've had a glimpse of that far away land and if I keep mindfully to the path I've been set on I may eventually reach the borderlands before my time is up.

Just last week someone expressed surprise, almost outrage, that I didn't use electric belt sanders and other machines in my studio so that I could be more efficient. I think all that noise would probably make my journey almost impossible. I don't think I could find my path though that jungle of sound...it's far too ephemeral.

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