(Part of Think Kit!)
I remember very distinctly the first time I heard the motorik backing beat of NEU! From a young age, I had been a finger-tapper, pencil-drummer, leg-shaker – I was generally vibrating, due to some internally-combusted mix of anxiety, energy, and nervous compulsion. Though I never really listened to much music growing up (or played anything beyond the dried-saliva smelling beige recorder), somehow the 4/4 beat was in my blood. "Hallogallo" resonated with my insides, and I can still listen to it over and over without being sated.
When it comes to personal mantras, I also tend towards repetition. My friends and I, a couple years back, began to write songs, and in a fit of 5:00am-inspiration, decided that a few years back would be the Year of Doing "Stuff" (stuff, while replacing something less couth, meant actually creating), and the following year became the Year of Doing Better "Stuff".
And now life's 4/4 beat has turned the corner again – 2014 has snuck up like the gray hairs poking out of my temples. I've decided that the mantra I'll repeat this year is less wordy, but more complex:
(Photo taken at DFW.)
I am at heart a conservatively-behaving person (not politically – there'll you'll find me...quite left); whether a Lutheran upbringing in an auto-town is to blame, or my 20th-century genetic mish-mash, or some inner alarm that urges caution, whatever it is, I'm not prone to risk.
In 2014, I'm still going to use judgment, still will assess the scenario and take stock and size things up...but I will make a conscious effort toward chance, toward the road less travelled, toward the difficult, the labor-intensive, the creative epicenter of self, and other parts unknown.
...I am a writer, after all, or at least I call myself one. And each writer needs fertile material. Time to put the plow down and see what I can dig up.