Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Some days I need to look out and not in

I am a very introspective sort. Most of you are treated to a part of me that exhibits my mind amplified without social pressures and preconceived notions of who I am. I am sure you think you know what I am all about, but you came here without knowing.

I am a bit reclusive and aloof in real life, given to being lost in deep thought and self reflection. Of course, I am just as dynamic as my blog portrays in real life, around people, but it wears me out and I always need to withdraw a bit to recover.

Lately, my back problems have started giving me trouble. It hurts to do certain things. Heavy things are no problem, but little things makes the center of my back, to lower right shoulder blade, feel like I have a knife in me. This pain started about three years ago, when I would be hunched over various electronic projects that I was developing, tweaking, repairing, and building. It made it hard for me to play my guitar, but at this time I wasn't playing much of anything. This is ironic, since I made most of these devices for guitar. It took someone dear to me to get me motivated again to pick up the guitar and start recording again.

Since I started, my pain has come back and I think that I need to lay off. It just seems just need about a month of rest and I am good. But, I started to wonder about what life would be like if I could no longer play the guitar. Robert Wyatt (pictured above, right) was a young musician during the '60s as the drummer, and eventual singer for the art rock/jazz fusion/psychedelic outfit, Soft Machine. In the '70s he was doing his own thing and having great success as a serious musician. About this time ('73), he was at a wild party, and in a drunken state, jumped out of a third-floor window. He was injured badly and was paralyzed from the waist down.

You don't have to wonder much to see how this would effect his drumming, but he could still write songs, play trumpet, do other percussion, and sing. It seems that he just moved his focus onto things that he could do. His talents were not wasted.

As I nursed my back today, I put on my Itunes and hit shuffle. "Ship Building" (written by Elvis Costello) came on--I absolutely love Robert's version of this song. It is an anti-Falklands War song. The shipyards in England were in decline before this War. The prospect of war had brought back some hopes of prosperity to these ship building towns. Think of this: A man, a ship builder, now has work, can provide for his family, is building the ship that his son, sent off to fight, might come back home dead in. I thought of our current wars and the parallels there. But, I started thinking of Robert's voice and the soulful emotion that he put into these words. I thought of the struggle that he has had getting his life back together and on with making music again.

Well, I guess that absorbing into myself too much kind of makes these things invisible, and that is not good. It was by pondering this man that I started to feel less self pity, self pity for something not that serious. But, more than this recognition: I was inspired. I got off a lot of my current hangups of why I am not seeming to get to where I should be in life. It pushed me to consider what I can do and to think less self-destructive thoughts. I know I seem to be laid back, but I am terrible with self analysis. I have been sitting on some very important work because it has not met my unrealistic (for now) expectations. I have to realize that I do what I can with what I have at the time, and the day will come when I can do my ideas justice. I just need to keep my nose to the grindstone and press forward with no backsliding--because it is a sin to waste your talents.

For those of you who would like to hear/see Robert Wyatt sing "Ship Building" go to this link: You know you want to hear it.


Anonymous said...

This is the best post I have read in a veeeery long time, Grunt. Poignant and honest. Makes me want to take a second look at my expectations and abilities in a more positive light.
Thanks man,

vera said...

This was truly wonderful to read Grunto...

Jules said...

Awesome, awe inspiring... I loved the song - I loved the post. Can't wait to hear about what you do with your new found drive forward.

(squishy hugs)

Logophile said...

The balance of recognizing limitation and being a good steward of potential is a tricky one, but you can do it, regarding more than just guitar playing.

Remember though, while keeping your nose to the grindstone, there is also a saying about muzzling the ox.

Jules said...

TAG, YOU'RE IT! You're the next victim of the Six Wierd Things About Me meme. Go read my blog for my wierd things and make sure to play along!

Incidentally, Vera - I'm tagging you also... but I can't leave the comment on your blog, so I'm using Grunty!

goldennib said...

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading - Lao Tzu

I have this plastered all over the place. I have been using the Perfectionist excuse for not doing anything. "If I can't do perfect the first time, it is not good enough and therefore I can't do it." All of the people who have "made it" say their greatest skill or talent was their persistence. Just do it.

You are good. So, just do it, damn it. Even if you need to raise your work table or change the way you hold you guitar. I expect a demo, baby, so get busy.

Outdoorsy Girl said...

Very good post indeed. I get what your saying about being too unrealistically critical of yourself. I can see that you do that, but who am I to talk? I do the same thing to myself. Sometimes my self analyzations are eye openers but most of the time they are not. They are just what you called them...self destructive.

This post sounds like you're totally getting on the right track and is full of positive realizations. :)

Loved Logo's comment. Very wise.

The Grunt said...

NYD~ Thanks. I never set out to write anything other than what I was feeling at the time.

Vera~ Thanks. When are you going to do a post on 120dB's on Celtic Frost?

Jules~ Ooh, squishy hugs...gosh!

Logo~ That is profound. What kind of muzzle should I use? Maybe a ball gag? Aw, I'm just teesing. I really loved your comment.

Jules~ What?

Nessa~ I will. I will. I just purchased a mid-sixties Gibson Explorer amplifier (not guitar) and am now inspired.

O-Girl~ Me too. Who knows where I'll be in a year or so.

Keshi said...

U gotta give urself some credit where it's due .Sometimes I criticise myself far too much too. It happens.

TC n get better soon!

Mayden's Voyage said...

"it's a sin to waste your talents"

I NEEDED to hear that today-
thank you :)

Chandra said...

Okay, so the only part that stuck out for me was the back pain thing... sorry it's still school time.. I can't take anymore literal material for at least another week.

Getting someone to jump on your back works... sometimes... take that as you wish haha.

Christielli said...

My grade 7 teacher put on my report card that I was aloof. I didn't know what that meant at the time. My mother had a good laugh at it.

You may need the services of Homer Simpson's spine-o-cylinder...