Imperfection, Songwriting, The Song Well

Tunesday: The Negligence of Negligée

I could write about the fight of sitting down to write this one. But here’s something else; I was convinced I needed to do a better recording. I hadn’t listened to this one take. I assumed it was kind of halting, and generally bad. Then I listened. It’s fine. Probably won’t win any awards, but it’s plenty good enough. Abundantly good enough even. I think that’s true more often than not: if I’ve convinced myself something is unacceptably awful, it’s usually abundantly good enough.

Cheeks freckled with stars
like freight cars
a canvas at midnight
a blanket to hold tight

Lips burning with wars
Like deep fjords
A coast of colors
dropped by the sun

Tempura shawl, a finery of psalms
Bedpost lillies blooming red wine
Raindrops ripened on the vine

Hennaed my heart
like mozart
the songs of saints
Sistine Chapel finger paints

Dressed up my dreams
Crows convened
A jangle of guitars
A whisper of jaguars

Painting with honey in our dreams
the blush of sugar cane
the negligence of negligee

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Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love

It just Sounds Good

There are five notes in a pentatonic scale, and as long as a person plays them in in key none of them will ever sound bad. It just sounds good. Maybe not great but good. That’s a strong place to start. 

The truth is, when I was first shown the pentatonic scale, I wanted the secret to being a better guitarist than other people. Being merely good wasn’t good enough because I thought my value came from my abilities and performance. Any slip and I might become worthless. Yet, generally something can’t be great until a person has done it (and failed at it) countless times, over many many years. That’s a long time to wait for worthiness. 

This is where a sense of inherent self-worth could have been preferable. Inherent self-worth gives me a foundation on which I can show up as I am, learn, and grow.  With inherent self-worth something which starts as “merely good,” (or even awkward and halting), has space to develop, to become a skill. Given enough time a person might mistake that something for an innate talent. 

Inherent self-worth is like the pentatonic scale. It’s merely good. It’s hard to “sound bad” if I’m playing with inherent self-worth. It’s a strong place to start. If I aspire to be better than others, I’ll never be enough. But if I’m willing to show up as I am I can learn, and grow.  That’s inherent self-worth.

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Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

The Streak

Many websites and apps count streaks. In The Creative’s Workshop I recently completed, I showed up one day and my avatar had a little purple checkmark overlaid on it. Sort of like a gold star. It meant I’d shown up and posted every day for some number of days.

At some point it disappeared from my avatar. I missed a day of posting somehow. I broke the rule for showing up so I lost my purple check mark. Then, a few days after the workshop “ended” I avatars with a banner of a marathoner breaking the race ribbon. Still unsure how I’d lost my purple check mark, I felt jealous and a bit put out.

But what really changed? 

I was still proud of my work. I still made great connections with people in the group. I’m still showing up every day to do my work. I was certainly doing more than enough by my own standards. 

I bring it up because WordPress counts my streaks as well. I’ve currently posted 18 days in a row. Prior to that I’d gone on a 30 day streak. Every time my streak gets broken, I feel a twinge of regret. Yet, what is the point of the work? To be acknowledged by a computer algorithm or to find out what I can offer to others and learn by showing up?   

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Imperfection, Self Love

What if it were Easy?

My projects start with an idea and lots of excitement. The energy of the excitement carries them forward and they expand. Somewhere in the excitement, the project can start to collapse under the the weight and complication of that expanse. It’s impossible to do everything. That’s when it’s important to ask myself; “What if it were easy?” 

Couldn’t it be simple? Couldn’t the project be set up to simply drift down lazy river in an inner tube?  What would it look like if it did?  

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Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

Who’s Tallest?

I started my life looking up to people, literally. When I was born my closest sibling was five years my elder. My brother a towering ten years old.   

As I grew, I was always comparing myself to others. One of my biggest benchmark’s was growing taller than my mom. Eventually, I passed her. (I never grew taller than my dad).  

I would seem silly today to stand back to back with a peer and see who is taller. And yet, I’m constantly focused on who is better than me. Am I better than this person, or that person? And if I can’t beat someone in height, or talent, I’m nearly always looking for some other way in which I can best them. Maybe their smile is stupid, or they talk in a way that annoys me.

It’s a pretty human thing, this comparison. (I don’t do any of this out loud of course). And yet, wouldn’t it be preferable to simply let people be themselves?     

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