Art and Life

This is a picture of jazz instruments displayed in a music store that's closed. I've used jazz to symbolize life and to talk about how art intrudes and causes chaos. Hence the image.

I’m leaving, and I doubt I’ll come back, but you know how the flick-knives of fate are, pushing you into a room with an empty canvas, the brush and the paint beckoning you to paint again. But I’ve learned that a stroll in a picturesque park can do away with the urge. Writing was never my life, and it’s my life that needs writing: pages and pages of musical notation with an odd time signature; piano jazz with light touch drumming with a Brad Mehldau or Triosence feel to it. Something ethereal and delicate that’s becoming this acquired taste that I can’t get enough off. And don’t look for me in my lines, or between them or in the minutiae spaces between the syllables. They never made me anyway. Don’t look for me in pictures posted on social networking sites. They’re just simulacrums of what’s there. A picture speaks, but doesn’t allow you to smell the soft earth, feel the breeze, or taste the sweet dew coating the leaves. I guess I was wrong about so much, and right about so little. And my mistakes taught me that this tobacco hazed room with its books and notes scribbled isn’t really the jazz that’s life. There’s so much more bebop in meeting people, light conversations, runs and swimming, so much exhilaration and thrill in listening to concerts by the local indie band, so much to perceive by just getting out there and watching somebody hum ‘Freedom,’ by Mingus rather than listening to it, resting against the headboard of my bed with my iPod on. There’s so much more fusion of senses found in places other than the local bookstore: maybe a bar with beer, where I’m just hanging out with a few old friends, and the girl I crushed on in college, or was it after college? And will I juxtapose art and life like cool jazz, the alto saxophone being life and the piano art? I don’t know and honestly, I don’t care. I want beauty, love and should I go far and say infinity? Not something esoteric, or out there, but just the infinity of each moment.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Innocence within the femme fatale

This is an image of a femme fatale. I've used it because my post is about finding beauty in raw writing. Writing that has a tough exterior is often full of heart and honesty.

There’s something about her writing that brings me back. It isn’t a Fitzgerladean crescendo, slowly building up in the tender night, tugging at your heartstrings eloquently and ethereally. No, it’s sprinkled with sawdust, and rusty nails, but once you dig deeper – at the risk of getting injured – you’ll find a hidden gem with so much depth and candor: multifaceted and transparent. But I’m sure a lot of people don’t dig enough, either from the fear of reciprocation, or because their superficiality and walking canes make them tragically stereotype themselves.

We’re quick to label writing as coarse, or cantankerous, when we have our own periods of vulgarity during the day, which the Sauvignon never solves. An artificial faux-elitist conservativeness is what I call it. An indelible keloid or a permanent tattoo both cut through skin, and just because the latter seems attractive, it doesn’t mean the former doesn’t bring with it the pain of experience.

But I go back to her, and I like the diamond in the rough – if you’ll permit me to use a cliché – or the esoteric sound like Miles Davis’ Paraphernalia submerged beneath layers of Grindcore. I find Meshuggah bringing individual units together to form a polyrhythmic machine, before finding another swirl of life in Chet Baker and Paul Desmond playing a standard like Autumn leaves when I read her: The latter’s unique alto tone evoking more than feelings; almost literally placing me in another space and time.

There’s so much beauty in unique art, but it lies in perception, and never in battles for superiority, or petty feud – counter feud poetry. We’re just individuals, and from a bird’s eye view, we’re one with the earth we walk on, shaped and molded by it, and what we create should facilitate growth, and nurture a collective artistic consciousness. Irrespective of the approach: confessional, descriptive, satirical, or a separation between the writer and his work, or pure stream of thought, this journey is beautiful.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)