I was late for my blog’s birthday by two days and that’s indicative of where my head’s been at the last few months. It led me to a truth I wouldn’t have accepted so easily just two years ago: life goes on. I had this perpetual fear that I had to keep up the momentum of blogging about music in order to maintain the energy, the momentum I had with it. I had to keep going, when I was uninspired, elated, restless – it was only important that I kept going. While three years is barely enough time to get nostalgic, it feels like a lifetime to me. I was so young, just three summers ago. In that time, I must’ve moved a thousand times, or at least that’s what it feels like to my bones. All of those life experiences, and this beautiful outlet allowed me to share it all with you. I felt as though I began blogging in something of a heyday for music bloggers – there weren’t a ton of us, and there were still some originals kicking around. Everything felt novel, sharing tips with strangers who became trusted friends, experimenting with new sounds, new voices for the blog, new layouts, new ways of sharing. The reluctant introduction of Twitter, Facebook, beginning to think I could start a brand – while at the same time, feeling a little disgusted by that word. But there were moments of purity, when this exchange felt so satisfying, like I might’ve done you a service by sharing my greatest love. And you know what the craziest trip of all is? I found my greatest love through this blog. A best friend that completely redefined the word friend for me. And he was a friend among many many others. I was championed by so many people. Why am I rambling? Is this an elegy? No, FWBA is not ending. This is more of a needed reflection.
Since I got a new job in February I couldn’t have anticipated what a new challenge it would be and how much of my mental energy and physical self it would require. I truly love it, but it kept me away from this space. I don’t have the time to engage like I used to and boy do I know it. I feel the sting of absense from it and some days, when it feels like a burden above all else – that’s when I get the most sad. This space used to serve as such a safe place for me, a place for solace and earnest exchange. Then, as things do, it became something I would feel obligated to do. That’s why I haven’t been forcing it, If I want to post, I’ll post. Otherwise, you won’t hear from me – besides my monthly mixes where I generally spill my guts and share songs I like with a growing list of strangers who sometimes write back.
On to Patti. I just finished her book, Just Kids, given to me by my friend, Michael, who works with her occasionally on her books. This didn’t carry much weight with me as I knew her as just a name to know. Then I read her book and I left the last few pages nearly in tears, which I kept in only because I was sitting at the window seat of a plane, sniffling into my sweater. I thought it was fitting that I should read her book around this strangely transitional time in my life – my life away from music – and into the unknown of whatever else might inspire me. Playing? Who knows. This book might be old news by now but there was something about her relationship with Robert Mappelthorpe that touched me profoundly, their infinite and mutual playfulness, their creativity that literally saved them from despair, illness and the pangs of growing up. Whatever riches they might’ve acquired – in art and in the influential people that they met, they owed it to one another. There were other things that struck me: fearlessness. A kind of courageousness to pursue art of all forms: poetry, painting, photography, music. Nothing was off limits. The question wasn’t whether they were good enough for it, but how often they tried. This was a huge takeaway for me, personally, because my own personal art has been so undefined – as I’ve always struggled to see myself as an artist, yet so loyally championed the works of others. I’m an appreciator, and a curator – but to me, that feels like a privilege rather than a practice. This book made me realize that the beauty is in the trying. It’s in the process and the exchange with other people.
So, onto the fourth year – with only the promise to try more often, bravely explore life as an artist myself, while continuing to appreciate those who inspire me to learn more, love more and do great things – to musicians, who sit with me in my living room every evening as I type away silently trying to shake off the anxiety of the day. To my best friend, who will continue to challenge me, gently inviting me from the sidelines as a fervent appreciator to a player, an artist, even. FWBA might be sparse in the seasons to come, but it will always be honest and it will always be loving.