This morning, listening to the brilliant Eddie Higgins and his infinite, intimate relationship with his piano, I can only think and write that Life…is a jazz piano improvisation.
Pure improv. Pure as pure. Unique and gorgeous.
Mysterious, complex, unexpected,, deep, rich, satisfying, scary, dark, deathly, melodic, ,expected, surprising, familiar, minor, major, fearsome, upscale, downscale, specific, soft, loud, majestic and proud, soft, insinuating, dramatic, rarely dull. often evocative of discomfort and emotion……..and we are each geniuses at our own keyboards…no one can play our Life like we can.
If I wanted , i could make this a fiction piece , because my capacity for imagination and stretching the boundaries of my own story have no bounds, which leads me to the question: what of our lives is fiction, and what is real? Where does this improvisation take us?
I propose: we make it all up….that there is no truth…that facts are all story, and our gift is that we expand the rubbery balloon of our storytelling impulses further than those who do not write on a regular basis. We writers open to our imaginations every moment we sit down to write, and often, as do actors and other artists, we live in our fantasies even when we are not immediately practicing our art. I admire fiction writers, but then, listening to a musician like Higgins, I’m reminded that I’m a fiction writer too, every time i put a word on a page. This somehow thrills me, enlarges me …takes me beyond assumed boundaries.
Disney and all that crowd call themselves Imagineers.
If it weren’t so packaged and perfect, i’d say that is what we are as well: Imagineers, like engineers, but more colorful..less disciplined…Disney does so much of our fantasizing for us, don’t they?
But true life (whatever that is) is far less neat, less well-packaged….living an actual life is far messier than a clean, highly regulated playground.
WE pay more to gain access too, because each one is a life, not a place in Florida or California.
We are precious real estate and we are not on any map.
WE are vast…..and I laugh as I type that because i once actually said that out loud to a young man I was having an affair with, who later became my young husband, and who is now older, but he will always be much younger than me. And i marvel at that particular improvisation every single day….an improvisation that has lasted over twenty years.
I mean, really….who would ever write such a thing?
Certainly not the Disney minions.
And i had the effrontery to say to this superb human, as we walked the meadow behind a country house i already owned, while he was still struggling to get auditions: I actually said: “I have too vast a life! This can never work! Never!!!”
And now, this dear husband will never let me live down that epic little scene…..we both laugh so much at it now, because we know: it does work, it has worked, and no one could have written this script in the way that we have written it….it is too far-fetched. Too….well…jazzy. A riotous keyboard of experiences.
And if we were to take apart each person’s life , layer by layer, intricacy by intricacy . it would feel and sound like some sort of chaos, some sort of beautiful confusion and bewilderment.
But, each life would fit to an exact size…as dictated by the impulses at the keyboard.
And there is something both reassuring and terrifying in that very notion.
I ask myself, can i surrender to it?
Am I that free?