Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Primordial Soup Ingredient - Drum Kit

I love my Gretsch jazz drum kit. It's pretty! Before we bought it, I never sat behind a set with sticks and actually hit the drums. The beauty of the set just made me want to figure it out. Matt would start a song on guitar and I would timidly tap tap out a rhythm. When the house was empty, I would hit the heads harder and experimented. Placing a basic drumming book in front of me on a music stand, I worked on combining different rhythms between hand and feet motions. I was dancing with the drums like a white guy underbite dance. My rhythms were basic, my timing was off, I hit the heads and tapped the pedals until my wrist and thigh muscles ached. I built layers of ability.

One hour I would just work on getting a good bass rhythm with my foot. Another day and I would add another combination, tam, bass, cymbal, and repeat working on the muscle memory. Sometimes, I looked away from the music and beat on them and making up rhymes that I wanted. I didn't think about technique and holding the sticks the right way. Breath techniques of a horn instrument, finger techniques of a string instruments weren't a concern. The basic technique of tapping a foot and hitting the snare were all I needed to create music.

With writing, I'm at the layer where I'm getting some good rhythms. Forming the story with flow and a bit of my own style. Creating Conversations is when I feel like the snare and the bass are making music. It is a good layer in my story, but as an artist, I thought that descriptions would be easier then the conversation, but they feel jerky and off beat: the white man’s overbite dance. The techniques of writing fiction hide from me and my pursuit of telling verses showing. Writing conversation is ease of looking away from the music and playing what I want. Writing the connections between the conversations, is where I am looking to the techniques of writing and have not found it, yet.

After working at making music with a drum set, I listened to my favorite rock music with a new ear, questioning how much the drums make the song. I'm at a point with the drums that I can either hang with the level of playing that I have achieved and have great joy in playing with Matt or spend the hours studying by banging out new rhythms until the muscle memory comes. The layers of my drum playing are at a plateau and going beyond the skill level I have will take some real work.

With writing, I am within the layers of social media, contact with other writers, looking at the possibilities of publishing, beta readers, proof readers, book cover, and advertising. The layers are floating in the air and I'm picking at them randomly. I have raw stories and ideas for series and series of books. Editing these stories either bogs me down or pushes me further. The bouncing between learning the author world and perfecting my rhythm of writing is tapping on the edges of full writerly understanding and completion of a novel. The layers have not shown me a steady forward moving path. I do know that I want to strive to the next layer and not plateau at this writing business.

No comments:

Post a Comment