rehearsing spontaneity

Photo by Daniel Josef on Unsplash

Unpolished Thoughts 12/16/2018

It’s entirely different to sit down and write with the expectation that what I write will soon be available for anyone to see.

For three days now, I have been publishing “unpolished thoughts” that begin with my daily exercise of writing spontaneously for 20 minutes.

I began to publish these writings a few days ago when the idea came to a head while writing and I described the desire to share these thoughts beyond the walls of my own head.

And so I did.

And now it’s entirely different.

What is spontaneity anyways?!

Whatever it is, it is one component of what makes it so exciting to create when you have no worry about the opinions of an audience.

What about when you do have an audience?

Well – perhaps you will do what I did one moment ago, something you wouldn’t know about unless I chose, as I’m doing now, to tell you that I did.

I started. Stopped. Changed my mind. Backed up and started over – invisibly.

You can’t see all the words I’ve written that I chose to erase.

I am editing as I go, even though I have had the idea of writing each morning “spontaneously”.

But then the thought comes, “Wait – someone might read this!”

The internal judge, the anxious advisor.

It’s no different than the one who lives inside me when I talk to you face-to-face. Except in this situation, the internal voice is empowered. There is a delay between the moment that my fingers strike these keys and the moment when your eyes will see these words.

The internal voice doesn’t have this advantage in verbal conversation.

Years ago, when I performed in creative musical ensembles, we improvised as a group with all eyes and ears upon us. No time to stop, erase and try again.

Once my ensemble, The String Army, performed as the opening act at a “string summit” in New York City. A reviewer later said that our inclusion, and the decision for us to play first “was probably a mistake.”

It’s live. It’s happening now – and they don’t like it!

What would I have missed out on if I had never had that opportunity to be disliked without filters?

The filters are still here with me now. Actually, I can feel myself fighting them with each key stroke. In the momentary pauses, before subsequent words form and the next burst of typing takes place, what is really happening inside of me?

Inspiration? Self-censorship? Putting on a mask? Taking it off?

Even the meditation that precedes my morning writing is different.

“This is meditation time. Don’t think! . . . Ah, I know, maybe today I could write about not thinking while I’m meditating – would they find that interesting! Hey! Pay attention to your freaking breath!”

In fact, even before allowing these words to be exposed to the outside world, in search of spontaneity, I had a rule that I tried to follow: If I thought about what to write as I got out of my head, brushed my teeth, made coffee, ate breakfast, or in meditation – I shouldn’t write about that.

Why not?

Because as soon as I decide what to write about I begin to rehearse, to collect arguments, to imagine clever phrases.

(Just like I used to do when I imagined what to say when I was going to see my high school crush, or have to explain my report card to my parents, or if I was called upon during a group discussion, or if that person finished talking and I managed to get a word in edgewise.)

How often are we truly spontaneous? When do we ever truly act alone, without the scripts, the internal judges and advisors? When are we completely uncensored, unconcerned, unclothed?

Is the pursuit of spontaneity just an act?

Why am I trying so hard to appear that I’m not?