For the last couple of weeks, I've been going through The Artist's Way. It's not unlike many other self-help type things I've tried in the past, but this time my mom is facilitating, and I'm doing it with some friends and that's making a huge difference. So, I'm making progress, or at least certainly feels like it. One of the concepts in the book are the "monsters" from your past, people or events that put a permanent scar on your creativity. (Definitely a simplification, I highly recommend the book.) Through the exercises, I've landed on my biggest monster, my father. I've written about the literal scars he left me. There are definitely more esoteric ones as well. When we met each other again when I was a teenager one of the things we had in common was a taste in music, notably for this story bands like Blue October. I already had a pretty strong emotional attachment to some of their songs because I also shared that with my girlfriend at the time. (The girlfriend who would become the mother of my son).
Meeting my dad again when I did really didn't end well. Neither did my relationship with that girlfriend, nor my son. Basically, ALL the emotions from those three relationships are tied up in some of my favorite Blue October songs. Blue October recently came up on my Discover playlist. I hadn't listened to them in nearly a decade. I decided to give them a listen and I could still sing along with the songs I hadn't heard in so many years, and I still REALLY like them. Something that I did with that girlfriend was something called "found poetry", there's plenty of different ways to approach it, but essentially it's taking lines from other poems or songs and re-arranging them to make a new poem. So, in an effort to take back my creativity from people that aren't in my life at all anymore I took the Blue October songs that had the most emotional impact/meaning to me, printed out and cut up each line, and made this poem out of them.
I couldn't possibly explain all the context that makes any of this meaningful to me...but damn if it doesn't hit me in the gut. In a good way. I was explaining to my mom that it feels like changing the context lessens the blow and takes away the power. After having done this I find myself enjoying the music for myself and feeling less the pain of the connection it has...and far more a simple recognition. We assign meaning to words and music, that meaning can change with experiences and context.