Thus Speaks the Maestro

maestro violin

The Living Chapters Maestro, Eric Imhof, has not only been contributing songs each month adding to the soundtrack of these life chapters but he has been creating an ongoing soundtrack for my life now for almost 9 years.  Eric was the person who convinced me to actually start using the medium of “blogging” which before I started this project sounded more like a disease to me than a hobby. In his words below, Eric introduces himself and gives his brief reflection on the Living Chapters process. Eric has contributed to many blogs and is currently writing this one “Coming Soon: A Vast Desert” which I recommend checking out. Oh and his birthday is next week. Happy B-day Eric! – bb

Dear bb,
Let me first say that I, too, was hesitant to start a blog (and only did so originally to continue writing about soccer, er, football), mostly due to the caricature of the misanthrope in the basement eating cheese doodles while anonymously trolling people who’s only crime was attempting to make something of value. Although, yes, I proudly claim the attitude of the misanthrope, I didn’t want to be the kind of one that sadly and silently stews. And besides, who has time to blog?

At least that’s what I originally thought, but have since found the routine of posting something—anything: a picture, a quote, a poem, a small chunk of original writing—to be not only therapeutic, if that’s the right word, but also adventurous and mind-opening, even (or especially?) in its quotidian discipline. Having to write daily makes one have to think daily, and that’s no small task.

Thus, having hated the thought of it initially but then completely embracing the idea, I thought a similar transition might happen for you, being a like-minded Decemb’rist. And since we met through writing (I left some paperwork or something in your mailbox and asked you to write something funny in reply, remember?), and wrote even when we could fly a paper airplane from one’s apartment to the other’s, and have since kept in touch through writing, I thought it fitting that this chain of sorts would continue in the digital world– not as if all the posts are letters to me personally, but letters to everyone, or to the air… or to yourself in the future?

And besides, you had/have such cool stories from so many travels and collections and oceans and alleys and… you get the idea. How can one go on with all those fanciful tales all bottled up?

I guess adding some songs to the yarn along the way is my little way of crouching in the margins of a fun-to-follow life, chirping in every once in a convenient while, as a sparrow flying through one open window and directly out another (to quote Bede). And, while I don’t think it’s necessarily worthy of the phrase “coming clean” to admit that I don’t participate in all the challenges you have set before you, I do, from a safe distance, think about what the challenges may teach you/us, and then imagine tossing similar—but more introverted; I am not talking to strangers—hurdles into my own path, just to see what would happen (and who knows?). So while I’m not doing yoga any time soon, I am thinking A. isn’t it nice that someone is trying yoga? and B. what would an equivalent activity—physical or mental—be for me in the coming weeks?

As to the music: The particular songs I choose are (hopefully) apropos to something you wrote. I also think the occasional song should be something way outside your spectrum, just as the thought of blogging was to you initially. “Backstage with the modern dancers” was a reminder to breathe and let yourself get more comfortable with practice. It was also a nod to exercise. “Swim until you can’t see land” needs no explanation really, except to say that it’s generally good advice in writing and living. “I don’t care—I love it” was at first a joke (although I actually like the song; it reminds me of the London Underground), but looking back was totally what you needed at the time! “Clay pigeons” was written for you, c’mon. “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings” was a poke at conventional wisdom—like the idea that nobody writes letters anymore.

While I’m at it, here’s the next one! —A song that Ran Prieur (who writes one of my favorite blogs, which I try my best to copy) says is better than “Waterloo Sunset”:

The winter’s lovely dark and deep!

– e.


Just finding this blog today? Read more about the Living Chapters project here.

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