I haven’t written much in the past month.
There’s a folder on my hard-drive labelled ‘Half-Baked Ideas’ which is steadily filling up with precisely that: strings of incoherent words snaking off in too many directions, none of them finished, none of them seeming to go anywhere.
Self-doubt nags at me. Self-loathing lurks not too far behind, waiting to piss in the unwashed cups on my windowsill.
Real Life claws at me: I need a new job. And a new place to live.
My room is filled with lists. Lists upon lists like the scribblings of a deranged hermit.
Lists everywhere repeating the same things, stuck to the wall with white tac so it doesn’t spoil the wallpaper and my landlord gives me my deposit back.
I have a week off work. I intend to do all the things on the lists. Instead I spend most of it waking up in a panic for no discernible reason.
I look at the news but it is filled with horrors I can’t comprehend.
Thousands dead in Nepal. PJ Harvey sings it best: Cruel nature has won again.
American streets strewn with the corpses of unarmed black men shot down by police.
The UK turns peculiar colours: the major cities specks of Red against a backdrop of dark Blue.
I wonder whether Philip K Dick was right and we are being led by a government of smiling, plastic-faced androids.
The world busily spins itself into a whirlpool of information with no centre and no periphery.
I return to the idea of alchemy.
I try and write words down in the right order. It’s a two way process: I try and describe things that are happening in the outside world, and in so doing, I’m trying to rearrange the processes that are happening in my interior world. I think about getting deep enough into sound and writing as to be lost in them; the ego temporarily dissipating in the absorption of the flow-state. Doing this is also an act of self-discipline: finishing a project means distilling the initial tangle of ideas into something coherent.
I think about why I’m trying to write about music. Music has always grounded me – helped shift my mind from excessive introspection. It has helped to keep depression and anxiety at bay, though they continually wait for me in the shadows, seeking the right moment to kick me in the belly and steal my undergarments.
I think about words and sounds as entry points to altered states of consciousness; an escape from the autopilot state that governs the normal waking day, trying to negotiate the roles and social orders over which we exercise no control.
I think about sound as a pivot between internal and external worlds, like a whirling Dervish, with one hand raised towards the heavens and the other palm facing the ground. On the inside, music opens up other realms of experience, alternate dimensions for the mind to dwell in. But all sound is vibration, which creates ripples in the matter around it. Follow those ripples and you see the effects in the tangible, material world. A world of conflict, hierarchies, tensions and frustrations. But also one of infinite possibilities.
I’m going to keep trying to write about all these things.