I’ve come to the basic conclusion that I’m better at absolutely everything when I don’t think about it. This is, of course, a surprise, utterly unsurprising and completely liberating.
I just royally effed up a piano piece by making the grave mistake of paying attention to what I was doing. It was right at the end – I literally had to freestyle an ending in an entirely different key. This happened because I started thinking about the fact that it was quite incredible that my fingers knew exactly what they were doing and if I was asked what notes I was playing I would have no particular attachment to any particular answer. Muscle memory; gets totally messed up when you notice it’s happening; when your inner voice start remarking that your brain is possibly redundant. The ego kicks off and wants some appreciation, so it slaps down the bigger part of your brain that already knows what it’s doing.
When not particularly paying attention, I always know the answers. On a photoshoot the other day (5 X 4 dryplates; Victorian portraits) I was adjusting my jewellery in front of a mirror and the photographer blurted out:
Him: ‘This might sound a bit weird, but..’
Me: ‘hhm?’ (idly picturing a pair of scissors out of the blue)
Him: ‘I was thinking you could be holding a pair of scissors. I think I might have some victorian style scissors upstairs somewhere…’
I’ve modelled for 8 years and never with scissors before (as far as I can recall – or possibly once in a commercial stock shoot around arts/crafts), so it’s not exactly a common trope or shoot prop. These moments of psychic connection happen fairly frequently for me, but it’s still strange and funny when they happen.
We are definitely vehicles of something much, much bigger, and it’s funny that we find this funny – we are cute and clueless – and funny that we can find it funny to find it funny, thereby stepping out and not hearing it or being it. The things we forget to do are often shoving themselves at us, through white feathers or otherwise, and all along we are only becoming what we’ve seen before. This is an exciting thing; not closed off at all but inescapably open.
Hal Galper on the illusion of the instrument: