Friday, March 4, 2011
Just say you're with the band
Soon after the start of the year, Ms. Moon wrote about reading Keith Richards' biography, LIFE. She made it clear that Richards is not who many of us have, uninformedly, thought him to be over the decades in which we have certainly known his name. Her enjoyment of the book was enough recommendation for me.
I have only reached the point at which the band is forming, there are gigs, there is time divided between coming up with money to survive and total immersion in the music they want to understand and bring, one club date at a time, to England. But in Richards' description of their process - listening to records they've obtained of American blues, teaching themselves how to recreate the sound, planning and practice, I was able to feel what it must be like, being part of a band.
From that awareness, of the work that emerges in a highly collaborative environment, the energy, the shared vision and anticipation, came a reflection on what is the - if such a thing exists - normal act of writing. It is, as I know it from experience and observation, a solitary business. My fantasy constructed a band of writers, not a very likely gathering, yet not unimaginable.
Some thirty years ago I worked for a multi-disciplinary, publicly-funded arts organization. Outreach was one of the mandates and performance was one arm of that. There was a group, active then, called the The Watts Prophets , poets and musicians who had that band thing going with the added emphasis of spoken word, a writing workshop, publishing AND performance. I see they are still together, still performing; they have a presence on Facebook.
Considering my demographic, I wonder what might be formed, or if any shared effort is possible as I make my singular way through blogging to whatever is next. Yet there is a message that shouts at me, words about the sum being greater than the parts, that says, as in so many things, we may be more together than apart. I don't know what that would look like; I don't know how it would work. Still I feel the threads that run from heart to heart; we extend our words, our affection to one another as we each sit, a pair of hands on the keyboard.
Perhaps our group, our troup of wordsters, is not meant to gather in one place, tune up together, adding and deleting communal phrases, preliminary to checking our makeup and the metaphoric seams of our stockings before we face the spotlight. What we have in this community may be our band. We read on-line the results of intense creative bursts or see with our minds' eyes the dry furrows of occasional drought. Notebooks, chapters, drafts in hand, we are, in our fashion, together for those last quickened steps to the stage. If our phones are smart enough, we can be in each others' pockets in real time, to share the fright overcome, to hear the emotion and applause. With the curtain down, we sigh as one and share a moment in which we, and all things, are complete. We're with the band.