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The Problem with Inspiration

I just sat down with my acoustic and played for an hour. It’s funny, I’ve spent almost a full six years on the road as a traveling clinician/Product Specialist for Taylor Guitars, the world’s leading manufacturer of acoustic guitars, playing acoustics every night and talking about the tactile romance of holding a resonating box against your torso while you make music. and I rarely sit down to just play my OWN acoustic at home.

Lately I have been getting the itch to work on the follow up to my cd, “Strong“, and I have been batting around musical ideas to see how may of them deserve to live. Tonight I grabbed my acoustic and played along with a drum track to work on an acoustic blues thing. It was cool, but nothing ground-breaking to say the least.

Then I grabbed a short-cut capo (one that only covers a select set of strings to leave some in their standard tuning) and started playing this cool, bluegrass/newgrass kind of thing. Seriously, I lost myself for a a half hour and the ideas poured out of me like a natural spring of inspiration. I can’t remember the last time I was awash with joy like I was in that moment.

And then the reality of the situation hit me. That moment was as good as it’s gonna get. The newness, the excitement of uncharted territory. The anxiousness of wondering where the musical path might lead and then the accomplishment of sticking the landing and finishing the piece in a powerful way. All of these things will never be new again, and to capture it in a recorded media would be like trying to recreate the immediacy, power and terror of a lightning strike.

Ah, well. The only consolation we can take is that those moments are fleeting yet special. To bastardize some wisdom from literature, “tis better to have been inspired and had the moment pass, than to never have been inspired at all”.

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