Last night, the hammers danced over the dulcimer. Hands danced over the doumbek. The stick slapped the berimbau, with the drum as an amplifier.
We had fun — just pure creativity, voice and instrument and rhythm, experimentation. If the sound floundered, we laughed, took a sip of wine and played anew.
I’ve missed this. I’ve missed it in the endless stream of 12-hour workdays, the wearing routine of housework and running, where joy is snatched like thieved candy from a store display with an inattentive clerk. I’ve missed it, and I need it as much as my squash needs the rain. This is who I am — not the modern cog in the modern wheel.
And I need to make time for it. Put down the goof fantasy novels I retreat into on weeknights and just do. Stop fretting about how I don’t sound as good as the voices in my head tell me I should. Stop worrying. Just tune up and play.
I’ve done a little of it; I found a tune a week or so ago for “The Jealousy of Emer” that I want to revisit — spooky sounding-bit on my Dorian-tuned mountain dulcimer, with the capo to give it added creepiness.
Frankly, I think I waste too much time in self-judgment. It’s a common malady, one that I address when I’ve brought my music-in-ritual workshop into the realm of festivals, gatherings and human community. To quote a Reclaiming teacher, Claudia Manifest: “Dare to be dorky!” It may sound goofy, but that’s probably the most authentic spiritual and creative advice I’ve ever received. Dare to be dorky. Humiliation has never killed anyone, and is good for the soul; it’s ultimately related to the word “humble,” linked to humus — of the earth.
Humility aside, I don’t think I’m all that bad, music-wise.