Sunday, February 15, 2015

Recording Experiment, Writing Group Excitement, Divine Silliness

The other day my friend and I went to the Korean Lady Spa, where I sweated my guts out in the sauna and had several detox-induced epiphanies, such as, “Whoa, man. Like, I’m responsible for my own happiness, not other people”, and “Therapy shmerapy; what I need is more joy, and less obsessive ruminating on my perceived problems”, and “Hm. Maybe…just maybe…I’m not actually a victim, and can stop acting like one.” Then I went back to her place, all noodley and relaxed, and she showed me her sound studio and we recorded me reading one of my old poems, “Spock: A Romance in Quotes.” I was hoping to be able to embed it here for your listening pleasure, (or displeasure as the case may be), but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to embed the MP3. Hopefully, I'll have it up some time this week.

It was fun to do, and since then I’ve been thinking about recording more of my poems; even laying music over them. To what end I’m not really sure, but it might be cool to have a collection of poetry CD’s grouped by theme, or something. I don’t know. I’m just kicking the can down the road at this point; we’ll see what comes of it.

The recent novel feedback swap I did was really energizing and creatively stimulating, and me, being a bit slow on the uptake, didn’t realize until recently that gee, that felt good, maybe I would benefit from more of that sort of thing. Fortuitously, I found a women’s writing group online, which meets tomorrow night at a coffee shop located halfway down my block. I tend to tie myself up in fear-based knots about groups and end up talking myself out of them most of the time: What if nobody likes me? What if they’re all crazy? What if no one understands me? What if they turn out to be a cult? But this time, I’ve decided to just go and see what happens. In fact, I’m kind of excited about it. Captain Obvious says, the flip side to all the fear is that I could meet some really nice people and find some new creative inspiration.

I’m on the second, deep edit of my novel, part of which involves completely changing one of the key characters, who most readers have complained is a bit of a droop. This change required me to do a little research into 70’s comedians, and I came across a 1979 recording of Steve Martin performing “King Tut”. I remember that song was all the rage when I was in 5th grade. All of the boys ran around doing the dance and screwing up the lyrics. When I watched the video, it occurred to me this is perfect example of Divine Silliness—an act so patently ridiculous, and executed with such complete commitment and exhilarating delight, that it’s actually transcendent. Acts of divine silliness remind of us the existential absurdity of our existence, and simultaneously invite us to celebrate it with pure joy. I can’t think of a comedian who can execute divine silliness much better than Steve Martin.

--Kristen McHenry

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