Like most people, my brain is constantly spinning with anxious chatter. Thought after thought after thought climbing on top of each other, kicking and screaming for attention. So far, despite many attempts to meditate, the only things powerful enough to silence this chaos have been art, concerts, sex, and intoxication.
I like the process of drawing, painting, or writing as much, if not more, than I like having the finished project. When it’s going well, my anxieties, the world around me, time, and even my sense of self fall away. When things are really flowing I become barely aware of the brush, pencil, or pen in my hand and I lose myself so much that it stops feeling like I’m coming up with my own ideas. It feels more like those ideas already exist in finished form and I’m either peering behind the curtain to see what’s always been there or that the ideas are being broadcast directly into my head from some other source. I assume this feeling is what made the ancient Greeks come up with the Muses since I’ve heard other artists and writers describe the same type of thing.
Scientists have discovered that music stimulates more regions of the brain than anything else. Songs are spells simultaneously cast by the band and the audience. I don’t really understand how it works, but something about the combination of great music and a connection to a like-minded crowd allows the noise of the show to completely replace the noise in my head. Crowds at small venues allow me to feel like I’m part of a group without any social pressure for me to say or do anything.
I think the common link between art, concerts, sex, and intoxication is that that they are all about stepping outside of yourself to let something else take over; the muse or the work, group enjoyment of music, union, and obliteration respectively. Obviously, you gotta be careful with that last one. Too much obliteration can, well, obliterate you.
Come back on June 19th for the next page!