My mind is habituated to a fairly nonstop chatter of ideas, most of which never come to fruition. It’s nice to think that some of these ideas are just incubating, and may still yet someday meet corporeal reality. Hopefully so, once I manage to shake off my own particular shackles that have me waiting for the just right (yet strangely unspecified) conditions to be met which will allow for my full creative expression.
In the meantime, having a set deadline can greatly assist the just-do-it factor. As a longtime listener of NPR, I had the idea that maybe this year I would enter their Tiny Desk Contest. Basically, record an original song while sitting behind a desk and that’s it. The deadline for entry is tonight, and so yesterday I actually managed to record an entry! I made an idea happen!
It wasn’t an easy, comfortable effort overall, being that I avoid recording my singing, since my reason for doing so is to channel forth unscripted reflections on a fleeting awareness. But I managed.
Here is what I wrote to the contest people, and a YouTube link to the song.
I think of my singing as moreso performance art than musicianship. Typically, my freestyle acapella revolves around the shared moment of those present in the same space, and so I never record myself and certainly prefer that no one else does either.
So the decision to enter the NPR TDC is certainly counter to my usual approach, which relies so much on my awareness of lives in the room, without the distraction of spectral internet forces.
As I suspected, my first few attempts at a song were inhibited by the glow of the phone screen. I’d consciously decided just to wear my pajamas with no makeup on, to perhaps lessen the influence of projection over the process. Still, the digital non-presence made me too aware of what I sounded like, rather than just falling into the sounding. I tried looking away and closing my eyes to lessen the distraction, but could not shake off the stiltedness born out of my ambivalence towards the technology.
So I decided to address the matter, literally head on. Look directly into the device, and attempt an extemporaneous expression of that actual moment and the truth about how the fact of recording informs, and potentially deforms, the wording.
Thanks for reading, and for inviting our entries.