IN SEARCH OF SPACE

Space. The initial frontier.

Have you sometimes lost sight of your writing? There were times during the past three months when I simply forgot the existence of Lonely Keyboards. Yet as I sit here now I clearly recall the joy of beginning this second blog-that’s-not-always-about-music, and the thrill of engaging with a new audience. As it turned out the audience was not always new; some friends travelled across from Vinyl Connection, revealing different aspects of themselves from the world of music blogging. Often what was shared was more visible, more vulnerable, more human. I cherished those moments. It’s one thing to high-five when someone’s taste in music confirms your own good judgement, but it is quite another to breath deeply into another’s confusion, or struggles with creativity, or experience of grief and loss. 

Not that there has been an absence of writing: the weekly (sometimes twice-weekly) posts at Vinyl Connection keep me tapping away and spinning records most days. My fondness for connected series—currently the birth of progressive music—means I regularly feel impelled by a sense of completion to push out another missive. Sometimes that internal pressure squeezes the enjoyment a little, but I do it anyway. It has become a habit. And habits take up space.

A new writing gig began recently. Paid work. Writing album reviews for an on-line retailer. Someone said, ‘Bruce, that’s your dream job!’. Maybe it is; still too early to tell. But one thing is certain, adding another track of music writing onto the weekly playlist of activities has led to an increase in output. And a corresponding decrease in space.

Little time for reflection, then. 

Reflection. The the space where creativity swirls and ideas puff into existence.

What brought this into focus was happening across a newspaper column by a writer I knew, years ago. I enjoyed the piece (which was about celebrating the moment) and looked her up on social media. In no time an electronic connection snapped ‘on’, we’d exchanged email addresses and I had located her blog. Wondered whether she would find my blog. What’s that about? Establishing credentials? Sending a selfie? Found myself reflecting that Vinyl Connection is mostly straight music writing these days. The river of memoir-music stories may not have run dry, but it has slowed to a trickle. I kind of shrugged to myself. ‘It is what it is’. Then I remembered Lonely Keyboards, recalled the intoxicating (but scary) high after Goodbye Piper was picked up; the steady, inevitable decline of interest as I steadfastly avoided most return-follows, the settling in with a small but engaged readership who seemed interested in the inner experiences of writing and life… 

We reveal different personas in different settings. Both blogs are ‘me’, and neither.

Sometimes if you put yourself into a certain context, that will close a circuit inside you. Lenny Kaye once said, ‘Pick up a guitar and see who you become’. Maybe writers could say, ‘Start a blog and see who you are’. Who you are today, at least. Conduct an assay of your inner mineral deposits via qwerty. Test the quality of the interior air with a canary keyboard. Could be methane, could be gold.

But first you have to make the space, and be in the moment. Maybe even turn off the music for a bit, and listen.

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23 thoughts on “IN SEARCH OF SPACE

  1. You’re doing well to get a writing gig that pays, Bruce! I remember the days when such gigs were not entirely impossible. Nowadays…As for the Lenny Kaye quote about picking up a guitar: not being a musician (I hardly know a chord change from a key change) I don’t even feel worthy of picking up mates’ guitars when helping them to load in or load out of a gig. I do pick up their guitars, of course, but it’s with a sense of inadequacy. (And jealousy at not being able to strum anything.) Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Congratulations on the paid gig, Bruce. (Share a link?) Once you’ve been at it a while, it would be interesting to hear about any differences you experience vis-a-vis the process, i.e. writing the pieces for which you’re paid vs. the pieces you write for VC and LK. I imagine the deadlines imposed by a paid gig might be irksome, but maybe there aren’t any deadlines? Now THAT, would be a dream gig! 🙂 Like Evelyn, I was struck by “The space into which ideas puff and creativity swirls”, and as for “Could be methane, could be gold”…that belongs on the back of a T-shirt. The front could say, “I’ve got an idea…”
    Glad you’re back in this venue…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on the paid gig. And a thoughtful and amusing piece.
    I may do a casual qwerty assay over the coming weeks as I pitch old market research reports out. (No one has asked about an old report in the last seven years, although I once did get a call about a 20 year old report on motoring habits). Luckily, I can go through this stuff with a sound track playing, and I’m thinking that ‘Peer Gynt’ might suit a stint in the garage where I’ll be decanting the contents of a large filing cabinet into a wheely-bin.

    Liked by 1 person

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