A friend texted me a link from Rap Atlas that were a haven for creativity in Oakland with the question about 4001 San Leandro St. "Was this the place you lived in Oakland?" To answer his question, it was not, but his question reminded me that I did live in Oakland for a few short months and it was a haven of creativity. I forgot that I was there for the creation of Doze Green's Deep Con album cover. I forgot I was the documentary filmmaker (of sorts) lugging my dad's heavy camera on my shoulder and capturing what I could. I'm not given credit for the footage to this film, but it is mine. (This was before still cam!)
What is it to forget you have been somewhere? To forget that you are? I forget I am here sometimes. I forget that I'm present.
That familiar amnesia crept in again this week as I prepared for Tuesday's show. The voices of not being good enough, "this old music!", "your piano skills?", "your tired voice?". These are all ways to forget you are present. You are here. Observing that shifted the practice week for me in a great way. I'm excited about the set of music I'll be sharing. Old, new, and everything in between, and there are some years in between.
Related to being present and the lack of general societal practice for being present from disconnection of human impact on the environment to tools we could all benefit from to help us be present in our lives:
Earlier this week I heard more than a few artists almost apologize for the music they wanted to share at this odd juncture in time, amid the Amazon fires. I'd argue that what we're experiencing - whether its a news anchor scoffing at the idea that ballet/or dance could hold the interest of a boy or climactic crimes of the century - is the very end result of decades of oppressing what makes us human and what it requires to be a human: the arts and the earth. What is dance if not listening to and respecting each other's bodies? What is music if not a reflection of who and what we are and our true capacity? What is art if not an opportunity to more deeply and directly connect to the world we live in?
This inspiring interview of Dr. Bennet Omalu (the doctor who overcame many obstacles to bring CTE and the dangers of football, especially for children, to light) from 2017 demonstrates the point in some capacity. When asked about how he felt about going up against the NFL he said: "It's about each and every one of us as a human being who has the freedom, liberty and free will to make decisions."
Somehow this hodge podge of things made me think again about what it means to be present. The perceived obstacle (the NFL, the critical voices) is not the actual obstacle, our ability to be present is.