Gems and Jewels

Day 303 Week 45 Q4  Sunday, October 30, 2022

this morning

These are not the hard mineral kind, although they may be hard to make and harder to perfect when subjected to the lapidary tumbler stones of editing, proofing, and condensing. Improvement, like the tumble smoothing of rocks, takes time to wear away the obfuscating edges to see the patterns underneath. 

Sometimes it feels like there has to be a better foster way than tumble smoothing, and sometimes there is. If one’s craft and skills continually improve, then less editing, proofing and improving become required. But this, too, takes time, so whether you are terming your creations or tumbling yourself, becoming polished is a long-term process. Of course, some people seem so effortlessly poised and their works seem so easily perfected that one can feel impossibly far from this level of excellence. And in fact, not everyone requires the same amount of effort, preparation, correction or adjustment, but the same amount of grinding is going on somewhere, perhaps invisibly to you, and perhaps applied to their psyche, not their external being.

The bottom line is if you want to be great and get great at anything, it is a long haul so you had better really like what you are doing a lot. I know there are few things that make me feel as good as cresting and expressing, so the thousands of hours are not a chore. Instead of the lapidary tumbler model, I think my situation is more akin to the smoothing of the rocks in a stream bed, from the passage of water over time continually and invisibly smooths. Perhaps those thousands of magazines and books consumed about my favorite topics eventually seeped into my being, and it has become hard to tell what came from where. 

Perhaps striking the same note or chord incessantly on many different instruments thousands of times eventually makes things automatically smoother. But I never tire of playing, thinking about and reading about music and sometimes it is like a stream and sometimes it is like a storm and sometimes lock rocks grinding away, but one thing is clear it has been incessant for over sixty years, and this had nothing at all to do with external lessons or assignments for being quite resistant to authority, instruction and directives I was the stream the storm and the rocks.

I do not know why, but I do know it is part of who I am, and therefore, the effort and the smoothing no longer matter because they have become an identity, so it is a good thing I still like it, or life would be a real drag.