Talking today with my whale-watching son, we discussed, as we cleared out his garage and carted dross to the local tip, music and originality. He told me that there is nothing really original, as there is a finite number of notes on the keyboard and, therefore, a finite number of possible chords. I felt my heart flutter at the very thought, me being a fully paid up member of the theory of Originality. I say to him, if there really is no chance to be original, why do any of us get out of bed of a morning?
But that wasn’t quite what he meant. He was talking complete sense and truth. What happens beyond the understanding of that truth is a very different thing. Park that for now.
Another subject we discussed over a delicious dinner at Cafe Fish (don’t ever miss out on that opportunity) was that of relationships, my very favourite subject. I talk to myself about them all the time, but it is so uplifting to find a co-discusser who is also interested and who is also a man. Might be a first! He is 30 years younger than I but has an eye on this tricksy subject and a way of looking at it that I, sealed up in my own history and experience, might have missed. We spoke of those that last and those that don’t and of why, although nobody outside of any relationship can ever, should ever, decide they know why or how one fails and another doesn’t. It is pretty damn easy to play judge and, when we do, and we all do at some time, we might consider our own, and how clever we are at them. Or not.
Now un-park that earlier thing.
What comes into play with a musician, a song-writer, a business owner, an artist, a wife, a husband, and I could go on forever with the list, is Originality. The only thing we can ever bring to her table is our own originality, and, in doing so, we can change everything. For example……..there is a clever, gifted, silversmith, young, newly graduated and about to hit the world. No experience of anything to do with street wisdom beyond the decision not to go out alone at 4 am in a lycra bodysuit and 6 inch heels through a dodgy part of town. He, or she has this talent, this achievement, but has little or no idea how to walk it out in a way that will guarantee success and profit, long term. It is all down to the self in this, the Originality and, most importantly, whether we honour that and use it, or not. We all have it. We don’t all use it.
If we listen only to the facts, that tell us there is a finite number of chords, of keys, of chord progressions, of dance moves, of colours mixed, of lives lived, then we might just keel over right now. But we don’t do that. We go on, believing, albeit very privately, that we just might have that something that changes everything. But now we have another problem. We watch television and movies and we set ourselves lower than we should as a result. Every story is glamourised and idealised to the point of impossibleness. How can we ever match up? We don’t look like this star or that, with their perfect body parts, tans, choices, homes and luck.
To stick with something, in the inglorious (second meaning in the dictionnary) hours, when nobody is clapping or even watching, and to keep going…… now that is Originality. To work consistently, through the cold and the wet, to resist the naysayers who question our sanity and who come, like greeks bearing gifts, of trojan horses, of quick fixes, of a quicker route to the treasure chest, to make ourselves go on, following our own heart belief…..this is Originality.
To give up in the face of the inner voice that keeps asking……Who are you to think you can rise up to meet your dream? leads only one way. Every single time.
Don’t listen, don’t watch, don’t falter. Originality has chords and notes and moves and moments that build into something that, one day, people will revere. Our job may be menial. Our home may be simple. Our life, ordinary. But, wait a minute, this is all of us. Those who appear to have it all are just like us. We all have in our hands, whatever our situation, that chance to change everything. We just have to rack up and dust off and step up.We need to say Here I am, and not There I was.
Not one of us is perfectly formed, according to the world.
And yet, every one of us is exactly that.