How to hear? Not to listen, like saying “You need to pay attention,” but instead how we create consistency in our voice as artists. How do we hear voice? How do we recognize what is uniquely our own? Is one obstacle. Then the next. How do we reproduce it again and again?
That’s how far back we’re about to go. I’m going to use a simile only a certain generation will understand. Remember tapes? It kind of sounds odd to say now. Tapes. Sounds like a prehistoric infection. If my kids overheard me ask someone if they “had tapes” when they were a teenager, they would think it was an STD. Like an old school slang term for gonorrhea. But I digress, as usual. I’m about to rewind my tape and take young and old back to my days as an introverted neophyte surviving on southern sweet tea and tapes.
“How many lives do you think you have lived?” someone asked me, and I responded “In this lifetime, I’m on seven.” I’m sure she meant previous lives, as in reincarnation in its literal meaning, but if you’re going to have a conversation with an artist you have to understand our minds work in symbols. I’m going to speak metaphorically before I speak literally. It makes more sense to do so when you consider the multifarious dynamics in life. Everything is fluid, ever changing, like narratives and lifetimes and phases, making for a rollercoaster ride in the dark.
We love the sound of our own voices, and there’s a condition associated with narcissism that calms people when they look at pictures of themselves (if you’ve ever wondered why we take so many selfies). The same goes for values. We like to hear our own values echoed back to us. If we took a real look at our circle of friends we’d find people who have the same value system. Yeah, there might be some differences in opinion, but no deal breakers. Just echoes of eternal conformity.
It’s about to get real nerdy in here. Turn around and walk away. Don’t read any further. If you pass beyond this point of warning then all consequences will be your own and you will be held accountable. So… Do the right thing. Just stop reading now.
You don’t like to think of yourself as a Girardian cliché. Neither do I. But we like to oversimplify. Living life on the spectrum takes tremendous amounts of consideration (aka compassion) and tremendous amounts of time (aka love). But we live on a spectrum. Nothing is black and white. Not even when it comes to identity politics and exploitation of Native peoples.