By nature, I’m actually a quitter. I just happen to be a very pro-active quitter, which means that rather than start something and THEN quit, I quit before starting by opting to not ever try. This makes me feel quite a bit hypocritical when I try to encourage my children who often express the desire to give up something when they aren’t good at something right away, or even in some cases where they can do it fine, but they aren’t the BEST.
It’s a massive act of trust to share failure and weakness, to invite criticism or ridicule. In most of the areas of my life I’ve got pre-built barriers because of doing only those things I’m competent at and not stepping outside my comfort zone very often.
Fortunately, I am blessed in my life to have known Jason Freeman. He was dealt a number of heavy setbacks from the very onset of life, ones that reveal themselves every time he speaks in his unique but enthusiastic way. Rather than let those things define him, he has chosen to sculpt his own identity through a relentless denial of limitation. Perhaps it’s because I know him, but he’s the only person I know whose regular instructive affirmations don’t strike me as cheesy or vapid. Each bit of advice seems like the prize of a hard-fought struggle in his own life held aloft like a hunting trophy.
With his encouragement I stepped out on a sort of diving platform I have occasionally stepped out upon and then retreated from numerous times in the past. I have some sense of musicality, enough to understand how much I don’t know how to do, and how very far I’d have to go to get good at it. I have songs jump into my head all the time, but I haven’t the skills to document them in a way that makes sense. When I wrote the baptismal song I dedicated to my children, I had started it before my oldest was born and only finished it after my youngest was born — A span of six years or so in the making. That’s how long it took to clumsily plunk out by ear some of what I was hearing. My head is filled with songs I don’t know how to make.
This week I envisioned a techno-ish song in my head when I heard someone discuss “a love song for the Facebook generation,” whatever that meant. It made me think of a massively tongue-in-cheek take on what would be perhaps an incredibly meaningful expression of interest in another person to today’s “always on, always connected” young people. And because it was mostly electronic, it occurred to me that perhaps I could bring this one into form by using the computer tools at my disposal — Garageband and a bunch of pre-made, public domain musical loops.
All I’d have to do is step out of my comfort zone and be willing to make something that I new would be rough, amateurish, perhaps even painful to listen to, but from which I would get the benefits of learning more about some programs I always wanted to play with more and could possibly help me with other things down the road.
So, in the admirable spirit of Mr. Freeman, let me unleash upon the world the premiere of the fruits of my tinkering over the last couple of days:
“Smartphone,” from the nonexistent album “OMGWTFBBQ.”