There are many, many reasons why I admire Britt as an artist. One of them is this recent viral nugget, which is AWESOME.
Another reason, which you can see in this video, is the fearlessness and dedication with which she encounters her creative work. The thing about acting is that it is hard to forget you’re doing it while you’re doing it. It’s hard not to watch yourself in your head while you’re doing the thing that you’re supposed to be doing. (…My brain just imploded.) But Britt beautifully gets lost in the imaginative joy of it all.
I was reminded of this quality of Britt’s the other week when she mentioned her song-writing adventures with her brother, which will be happening a lot more now that they are ROOMIES!! WOOOOO!!!
Have any of you out there in internet-land ever tried to write a song and totally failed to? What was it that stopped you? Even if you are in an empty room with no one watching, it takes a lot of courage to just express yourself freely, especially using music. EVEN IF you have the courage to be honest enough with yourself to allow your truth to come out, EVEN IF you can own your point of view enough to express it: It is so easy to stop yourself, to judge your own skill as a musician, your voice, your rhyming abilities, whatever.
I have never successfully written a song. But I do have a lot of musician friends, and I can’t express how absolutely precious it is to me when one of them pulls me aside and says, “Hey I just wrote this song–can I show you?” This means that my badass, fearless friend has let something awesome coming pouring out of their soul, and I admire the hell out of it. For example, I had the great “misfortune” of growing up with a very talented musician for an older brother. In his current band, he writes sweeping, masterful 7+ minute long instrumental post-rock songs with Red Hands Black Feet, which I will now shamelessly pimp out:
If you have 7 minutes of leisure time in your life, they will take you on a soul-soaring journey. Also, their album is free for the downloading. PIMP.
In the spirit of admiring musicians, check out this excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1986 commencement speech at Bryn Mawr, which I have been obsessed with lately:
“Early this spring I met a musician, the composer Pauline Oliveros, a beautiful woman like a grey rock in a streambed; and to a group of us, women, who were beginning to quarrel over theories in abstract, objective language – and I with my splendid Eastern-women’s-college training was in the thick of the fight and going for the kill – to us, Pauline, who is sparing with words, said after clearing her throat, “Offer your experience as your truth.” There was a short silence. When we started talking again, we didn’t talk objectively, and we didn’t fight. We went back to feeling our way into ideas, using the whole intellect not half of it, talking with one another, which involves listening. We tried to offer our experience to one another. Not claiming something: offering something.
How, after all, can one experience deny, negate, disprove, another experience? … People can’t contradict each other, only words can: words separated from experience for use as weapons, words that make the wound, the split between subject and object, exposing and exploiting the object but disguising and defending the subject.
People crave objectivity because to be subjective is to be embodied, to be a body, vulnerable, violable.”
Over a year ago I was having lunch with my friend Will, a mountain of a man, and I was seeking his advice about something; really floundering for words and struggling to communicate. He just looked at me with this sort of empathetic amusement in his eyes and said, “It sounds like you’re not accepting the validity of your experience.” Those words have been resonating with me ever since. As our good friend Ursula says, “How, after all, can one experience deny, negate, disprove another experience?” Musicians and songwriters, in a huge way, accept the validity of their experience and turn that into art. I think that’s what all artists do, and it’s especially why I admire songwriters so much. They offer their experience as their truth. Here’s some more Ursula:
“Singing is one of the names of the language we never learn… Yes, but it can be speeches and science, any use of language when it is spoken, written, read, heard as art, the way dancing is the body moving as art. …you hear the coming together, the marriage of the public discourse and the private experience, making a power, a beautiful thing, the true discourse of reason. …This is their baby, this baby talk, the language you can spend your life trying to learn.”
That is what I am doing with my life. I am trying to to learn this unlearned language, and offer my experience as my truth. This blog thing is a part of that, so thanks for reading.
Imma have to end this post with some Gaga. Whatever else you may say, she is artist who owns her point of view and turns it into some awesome shit. Hot damn.