i wonder what my teacher felt - fellow canadian-asian male same in struggle same in name lee, eng, lui those letters of the alphabet i've learned to hate together - as i called him a chink.
Maybe it’s my own hang-up, but I haven’t played a live show for half a year. The buzzing world of a musician appears to constantly take the form of a life forever on the go. And maybe that scares me.
There’s a critic with my voice that lives in my head and he constantly reminds me how doubtful he is that I can make a career out of this thing called music. He lobbies evidence that my best moments are always in my bedroom, unrecorded and raw. And when I sit down to put pen to paper and write lines to a song, he so sourly grins as I forget just what I sang.
This world craves the musician who can stand boldly and authentically, delivering the gratification to those in sorrow. Or maybe it’s all in my head. But when I think about it on a day like today, the time away from the stage just seems to grow. A passion for playing music and singing from my heart seems to be overshadowed by the upkeep of daily practice. A fire that once sustained me, at times, now has me working to sustain it.
My vision of a “successful” artist is so warped. I sit down with a feeling that I want to translate into chords and then suddenly I’m contemplating having to deal with fame. No one who understands fame wishes it upon themself. And so I put my future on hold for another ten minutes, distracting myself with video games.
Inner turmoil has a funny way of manifesting. A loss of focus, absenteeism, an out-of-character outburst…all of these are simply cries for help. And I’m not really that twisted inside. I can sit in one spot and meditate; I come to class; I don’t even punch my pillow anymore. But sometimes, especially in winter, there is this apathy that I like to imagine is death’s silent hand in the balance of life. A moment of freefall over the crest of a hill in a car, about to hit ground. An animal at its end, accepts fate’s nudge.
There is a wish I have, to rise from my shell and slip away from my crumpled body; fly into the dark wintry night. Free from the burdens of flesh, the necessities and troubles of life. And into the cold, sit forever in the snow counting the stars.