August 16 2012
Posted in by Pete Krebs
I am inspired by many things, but the work I come back to as getting close to what I'd like to emulate in spirit is a short book called the 'Curtis Creek Manifesto', written by a guy called Sheridan Anderson. It's about fly fishing. For awhile, whenever I mentioned that I was curious about learning how to fly fish, the response always started along the lines of, "Have you heard of this book 'the Curtis Creek Manifesto'? Everything you need to know is in there...". After buying the book and reading it in about an hour and half, I had to agree. It is a spare, direct explanation of the fundamentals written in such a way that initially can be mistaken for a comic book (there's lots of cartoons). But a closer reading reveals a depth that can only come from the best words to describe a seemingly complicated subject (albeit a deeply nuanced one). It's a matter of simple accuracy. It makes you think, instead of handing it to you.
Now, I see a lot of correlation between fishing and playing music. Both require you to wade through a bunch of excuses, opinions, self-doubt, discouragement, etc, any of which can be crippling. But after long hours of patiently sitting there you start to receive the transmission and realize that music, like fishing, has a lot to do with slowing down, listening to and connecting with rhythm. It's slower than you think. If you speed through this part, you'll miss it (and will remain forever frustrated and eluded). It's like looking at a lazy stream in the summertime. At first glance it appears asleep, with no current. But when you slow down and listen, maybe blur the edges a little bit, you begin to see movement and flow. Maybe look a little longer and see how the stretch of water begins to take on a three-dimensional quality with depth and pockets of shadow that you can feel as well as see? Trying to fish without this understanding often results in spending a day standing in the middle of a river waving a stick, wondering why you aren't catching any fish.
Music is the same way.
(Sound of a gong).