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3rd June

To possess other eyes

The jazz pianist Keith Jarrett once said: “I connect every music-making experience I have with a great power, and if I do not surrender to it nothing happens.”

I wish I could do that too when writing, but I sometimes find it difficult to let go. 


When it comes to my art projects, I have no problem surrendering. In fact, my work consists of letting go—the art institutions select the candidates for our grants. I’ve chosen not to have a say in this and limit my role to being a facilitator. The video works that are produced go to the art institutions we collaborate with, my foundation only keeps a viewing copy, and we do not own a collection.

All of this points to my confidence in the people we work with.


When it comes to writing though, I notice that it takes more effort. Often there’s a voice in my head cutting my thoughts short just as they form. The tension between what I want to write and what I allow myself to write can lead to a deadlock that leaves the paper blank.


Why do I feel I have to hold back? Is it because certain thoughts are not suitable to be shared? Or is it another fear altogether? Not everything I write must be published. I can keep it for myself or delete it. But perhaps there are things I would rather not face.


If I were to stop asking questions and simply connect with the force within myself, would that be the surrendering Keith Jarret talks about? 


After reading the quote I started to listen to his music again and I was immediately drawn in. It was as though Keith Jarret took me by the hand and together, we drifted along. Without knowing where I’d end up, I merged with the tones and melodies and was captivated by the often-unexpected transitions. 


Listening back, I think I’d like to write the way Keith Jarret plays the piano. I want to be surprised by what appears on the page.

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