"It's rarely possible in a high pace, high profile, high pressure environment, to reflect on what you're doing." This was said by renowned pastry chef Wil Goldfarb in Volume 3 of Chef's Table. He's talking about why he disappeared from NYC.
I can relate to that. And it's timely to read this on vacation after six months of really over-working and going back forth from NYC. NYC is for doing (Love!). Fast (Love!). Well (Exponential Love!). NYC pace. A pace that I sought out by living in different cities and enjoyed most of my life. There's an overtone to all of that activity and it's intriguing.
I wouldn't say reflection is rarely possible, but it's not a kind of evening bath soak of a reflection. It's a how-fast-can-you-say-ok how-fast-can-this-observation-become-second-nature how-fast-can-you-incorporate-what-you-just-learned kind of reflection. That has it's own refreshing power. You learn and you move on, as fast as you can.
As fast as I can is also, for me, a way of not dealing with a longer term reality, or a lack of vision about a longer term reality. I used to be able to see an end goal or feel some kind of end feeling. I think it looked like recording; I don't think it ever looked like touring. Now I don't know what's over there. I have a vision of Sarah Vaughan at the piano and a memory of my dad saying "not many people know she used to play piano too" Is that me at 50? What is 6 months from now? What is 5 years? I couldn't tell you. I have to rebuild those skills. I've lost them in cities.
Not everybody loses those skills in cities. Some people have them and stick to them. They're disciplined.
I know how to be disciplined. I remember charting out my day in sometimes 5 minute increments of activity. I was fine in losing myself in that kind of chart when it was about skill building, but when it was about artistic career building...the magnet reversed. I can't explain how or why the record stops but it's a firm unwillingness kind of a feeling. A haunting feeling that work in that direction is just work to sign up for the bad pyramid scheme of broken capitalism, and endless sign up of courses to learn how to, video after video of search engine optimization, of how to be a better salesman. For what, again? It doesn't add up and so my road tends to stop right there.
I don't know where to go when it comes to economizing. And by that I don't mean that I don't know the myriad mechanisms. I mean I don't want to sell myself or my work (short). Personally anyway. I'd be happy if there was someone else who wanted to sell it for me. (And that's probably what everyone who is no longer having to sell something for themselves gets to say?)
This post marks the near end of Chapter 2. And now I have a looming feeling. We're catching up to the present day. I don't have a plan.
I say near because the whole time I've been writing the post, I've actually been thinking I would be sharing "With A Thought" which is the last track on the album. Today's track is actually "Problem with You" which makes more sense than it should considering it's from more than 10 years ago.
Thanks for this time and space together. This is my new weekly residency. It is the space where I can share developed and under-developed ideas. It is the space for me to reflect, with you, and I'm grateful to have it. I build these thoughts on short walks to work, or moments before bed or in the morning, in conversations through the week. I'm not in NYC but I still live a high-paced life where the only time to write this is the 30 minutes before I "need" to post it on Saturdays. It's the only artistic discipline I feel like upholding right now as I shake the marbles out of my head and try to make sense of it all.