I just had lunch with a friend. You might know him (or know of him). You might not.

That doesn’t matter.

Even though we only live a few blocks apart, it’s been a while since we’ve last spoken. We were having one of those where are we heading? kind of discussions. The air of transition is pretty thick in both of our lives; it’s the reason we’ve not been connected lately.

Though he might be reticent to say it, my friend is an artist. He’s a tinkerer and and a creator and a passionate storyteller (in his own forms) and I admire his creativity and insight.

He mentioned that, at present, he’s not pursuing and gigs – any contract work or client projects.

He’s practicing.

A word I used to loathe with every fiber of my being.

Practicing.

Hours (OK, more like 15 minutes) at the piano as a schoolchild. Hours (at least half-hours) with a tuba or drums or electric bass in high school. And the actual hours with my double bass in college and grad school.

We talked about vision and point-of-view and voice and how technique can get in the way of that. Hinder or overshadow them.

He wants to (re)discover his voice and let the instrument be transparent.

I think that’s why I’ve been exploring different media lately. Concrete. Chalk. Sequins.

I don’t have any formal technique there to muffle my voice. It’s just me and the material and fewer pre-conceived notions than I might be used to. Granted, not having technique means things might be rougher around the edges, but it looks a whole lot more like me that way.

And I think what my friend is doing is so noble.

He’s removing clutter so he can grow. So he can speak clearly and be heard.

And later, when he wants to, he can open himself up to clients that call him for his perspective. Not for the last thing they saw on pinterest.

And it will make all of the practicing worthwhile.

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