Ever since I can remember, music and words spoke to me, spoke through me. Before I could read I begged my parents for piano lessons. Where did I even hear of the piano? Where did I hear it played and why did I want it so bad? That was another thing, I wanted, badly, always. I was a wanter and a dreamer– no just a want-er. Dreaming implies that you’re imagining something unreal, something that you would like to happen. I walked tall at age four knowing what would happen, what I would be, I never thought in possibilities and plausibilities, I thought in matter-of-fact-ness, in truth.
Piano lessons were a bust though — I was a do-er, I didn’t want to play what I had to play — I just wanted to play. I wanted to hear and do and let music come out of me. Sometimes when I’d listen to music — I rememebr my parents wedding album, Labi Safire, with especial clarity –I would watch a hoard of people in my head, move in line with the music, big peope and small people moving together and apart, a like and in contradiction like the snare and the base, the way the notes would go up and down, and run away from eachother and then back again, thats what I saw in my head, it was fun, it was beauty, it was a beacon inside that i couldn’t consciously conjure, but I couldn’t confine either.
In this way, I was always a summoner. I got lost in my thought and in myself, and something else would come in. I couldn’t stop it. I had to figure out how to get it out. The keys on the piano weren’t a language I spoke too fluently yet. But, words on paper — that was easy. I’d perch in a tree in my backyard with a notebook and I’d write. Pages on pages on pages — and I couldn’t tell you what I wrote either, it was something that came through me, used me as a delivery service and I just worked my shift.
Music and words. Since I was young it was always music and words. I wanted to speak in my own language, tie together sentences that broke all of the conventional rules in writing. I wanted to make the reader shiver, the way I did when they came through me.
So, that was the beggining finished for me. I had to rest inside of myself, so the words and the music, so that the message could come through me again. That was the only way my blood pumped — otherwise my mind was like a clogged drain — nothing flowing through, what seemed like emptiness but was ablockage, flow stopped. I could turn on the faucet, but the water couldn’t go anywhere. It didn’t matter what was flowing through I couldn’t get my hands on it, the drain was just spitting back up at me, this conglomeration of what was once many things, different things — and all I got back was brown gucky gross sameness. I needed the water to flow, to come undone and done again until the spirits could flow through me again, I needed to clear a pathway of rightousness.
In the first week of class we spoke of the Qur’an, and I learned of it as a recitation of the words Mohammed heard from Allah. Previously I had conceptualized the Quran as a written text, even as a set of rules. Nasr argued for the effect art in and its relevance to Islam.
We continued to discuss the plausibility of art as religious or spiritual, and the religious power and relevance it had. I have always envisioned my art and the creation of it as a power in knowing self, but even more in listening to self, and as a result, listening to God. This made me think of my own art as a moment or feeling, in the way the Koran is an aesthetic so astounding it is meant to evoke a genuine feeling or sentiment. When engaged in the first reading in Seven Doors of Islam, during week one, I was inspired by this idea of a “mystical imagination”, and that lead me in this direction.
Good writing isn’t about how it sounds; It’s about depicting truth so honestly that the reader feels genuinely empathetic. As if they’ve seen an old friend and the memories of their friendship play, and they feel what once was true. The reader feels what they’ve wished were true or what will one day be true, sometimes more intense and surreal than their memories and experiences themselves. That’s what good writing does. The right words are so on point; you have no choice but to feel.