Today is the day my German class starts back after two weeks’ vacation. And I missed about two weeks before that. So I’m way behind and have put off catching up, because painting explosions, move, flu, and a recent work trip I haven’t told people about yet. This means I cannot continue exploding paintings in my glorious new studio space. At. This. Moment. I must learn German. Everyone in Berlin speaks English, so I could be here for years (as I plan to be), and not learn if I don’t make a point of it. Make. The. Point. [Scowl.] I love languages! This is exciting! What am I putting on my blog real quick because I am a young artist living in Berlin, telling people what I’m doing while I do it (sometimes) instead of making art and trouble quietly behind the barn where no one can judge me but no one can hear me scream?!
In lieu of more new poetry and paintings, today I draw attention to the music page I recently created in the course of updating my website (which I’m about to replace again anyway). I moved to Berlin in November in part to prioritize moving my poetry into the performance realm in the right ecosystem. I promptly realized that one hold-up in pushing myself to perform so I get better at it is that I don’t want to sing my old songs. They are old. So I started writing all new songs around a new album concept (we make revolution) even though albums are not even a thing anymore. I haven’t recorded even draft vocal tracks on most of them (which is bad practice, since no one else can read my shorthand, and I don’t usually notate stuff like rhythm—I know it or I don’t).
But I’m still usually too embarrassed to even sing out loud to myself. Despite a productive class with a wonderful jazz vocalist in grad school that helped with that, and a tiny bit of work on my old draft accompaniment with a brilliant pop-jazz accompanist near Boston during my Harvard stint last year, there is still this huge space between what I hear in my head when I’m composing… And what I hear when I make music mess out loud. This might be one of the last remaining areas where I can be completely overwhelmed by shame, in spite of knowing how much I admire other people for expressing themselves. I can make lists of ways to improve my relevant skills to attack that, but I really just want to find a way to let myself be in flow with this like I have been at some points—in the same way I can get into flow with painting and writing (albeit always with mixed results). Don’t know how, maybe it’s not my thing, or maybe some of that social ecosystem magic happens here that helps things fall into place. I think for people who get really good at what they do, skill level-up after level-up tends to follow flow, and not the other way around.