Chameleon

Continuing this blog’s journey into self-referential recursive wankery, I thought I’d think about how I tend to make things (when I do).

Whether it’s a real thing, or a thing I have entirely self-constructed, or a halfway house between the two, the fact remains that almost anything I do manage to do, or half-do, or think about doing but not really-do, is usually a direct result of something I have just consumed. I don’t mean something that has boiled away in my head and been spun out in new ways (although that is technically true as well), I mean I experience something and immediately begin to conceive of my-version-of-that-thing. Often while that thing is still occurring. Hear rap music, immediately start writing raps. Read a sci-fi, immediately start visualizing a (different) sci-fi world.

Something that is interesting for me on a non-self note is that I have no idea how normal this is. Which is to say, what do other people do. I honestly don’t know. My empathy-circuits are imperfect, because they are not you, but simply my system running my imaginary version of you. It is twice imperfect. And even on the rough chance that I arrive at a situation where I can have this conversation externally, the same problem exists – imperfect communication, mirrored into imperfect receivers. You can try to communicate your version of perception to me, but the only way I can attempt to understand that, is by running it through my filters.

All of which wanders fairly far from my original point: I am a creative chameleon. At least in the short term. As an example, two days ago I listened to Frightened Rabbit’s new album Painting Of A Panic Attack. While I was listening – as I was hearing new music – I could feel my own brain spinning up lyrics. In an effort to not let such an event slip through my mental fingers (again), I started typing them into my phone.

Here’s the interesting point for me though. Those lyrics? They are, obviously, mine. But they unfixed melody they would go to? It’s Frightened-Rabbit-style. The mood evocated by those lyrics? Frightened-Rabbit-style. As long as that (brand new) song was playing, I could create something of my own. But as soon as the song finished, and the next track began, my thoughts fell to pieces. Stopping the track didn’t help. It was gone. So I settled back into this new album. Less than two minutes later, my phone was out again, new snippets of different songs appearing in my head.

And then there’s the rub. I know, I know that when I review these lyrics (if I manage to resist the impulse to immediately delete them in disgust, natch), I won’t remember how they go. That possible-melody? Gone. The mood? Gone. If I continue to review or work on them, it will be from scratch, sewing those lyrics into an entirely different song-canvas. I won’t remember anything about that thread of song, except the circumstances of it’s recording: it was made on a train, while listening to Frightened Rabbit.

A chameleon is one thing, and while it’s something that irritates me (often because I don’t know how irritated I should be about it), it is a thing I can accept as potentially useful. A chameleon with a lobotomy is quite another.

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