I used to live next to a library. I discovered many things that still interest me there. I would wander around and pick books that grabbed me. Introductions to quantum physics, macrobiotics, 9 star ki, Zen Buddhism, vegetarian cooking, etc. Lots of fiction too, of course. I guess there are certain moments of your life where seeds get planted.
One of the books was a how to draw book, using the right hand side of your brain. I always remember it is the right side (and I’m someone who still confuses right and left!), because in the book it talked about a solid, straight L, and a flowing, italic, creative R. Anyway, the idea is that you must spend more time in the right side of your brain, because not only is this the creative side, but also the healthy side. It’s where your body heals itself, or so the theory goes.
To give an example of one of the techniques, you had draw something. Firstly, you have to turn the image, which was a line drawing, upside down. This was so that your brain couldn’t try to create something meaningful. It was best if it was just a series of lines. Then you start somewhere and very, very slowly draw lines. I remember the book explaining that eventually the aggressive, domineering, seeker of logic and meaning Left side of your brain would get bored and let the Right side take over. And this was a really good place to spend time in.
I think my main focus in learning flamenco guitar has been influenced by this. When you slow the music down to very slow, and look at a series of notes, whether classical notation, or TAB (which is numbers), in a book, there is no music, no meaning. It is just a line to follow. And I concentrated on that for a long time. For years, and for pages, and books of pieces, most of which were flamenco. After a while, I could speed it up until it was recognisably a piece of music, and then I would move on. I liked the learning, more than the playing.
The problem lies in what to do with them after. I’ve never learned to play anything properly. I’ve just got from a to b, beginning of piece to end, and then moved on to another piece. They were vague replicas of the originals, but I think the process kept me sane (or saner), and that was really the point. When I stopped doing this, when I let all the plates drop, just over 4 years ago, I missed that. I did replace it (iPad music), but here I am, coming back to these vague replicas I had/have. What do I do with them? And do I keep doing that? More pieces, more books. It’s tempting. Or do I need a new therapy?
To be continued….