I’m here in my bed blinking the sleep from my eyes and tapping away at my phone on virtual keys in an attempt to complete my 60th diary entry of this lockdown diary. It’s not only my eyes that are heavy, it feels like I’m cold pressing each individual character when in reality I’m simply tapping on a screen in what would appear a random pattern except the lower part of my screen is laid out as a qwerty keyboard.
I relayed to a friend that I feel my writing has become more fluent and natural in what she described as muscle memory. I’m seeing that in various aspects of my creativity. When I first began playing guitar my desire was to reproduce the sounds that John Denver, Don Maclean and Paul Simon produced in their finger picking styles. I spent 5 hours one morning (having got up at 5am) listening to Vincent on a record player. I copied it note by note, repeatedly lifting and dropping the stylus on the 45 disc and then finding the note on my guitar’s fretboard.
I’m stumbling into ordered schedules, ticking them off with little sense of satisfaction, just gratitude that the list isn’t endless
I’d taught myself how to play it, not properly understanding the technique and coming up with a style far more complicated than was necessary. I’d not seen him playing it so could only guess the fingering. I repeated this operation for several songs, reproducing the sound as faithfully as I could but in a very labour intensive way and using inefficient fingering techniques. It took some time for me to be able to hear a guitarist and know instinctively how they were playing it.
I now find myself listening to a piece and playing my own version in a few minutes. Not only does this free me up from having to labour over every note, it also allows me to make it more of my own. I see something similar happening now as I draw. The muscle memory comes from extensive repetition and going beyond the point where you would naturally stop as if you were pile driving the technique into your unconscious. Its vitally important in those aspects of our lives where overthinking is fatal and rewarding when what what you want to do is create rather than just render.
I have an advert that annoyingly plays when I click a video on YouTube. I don’t have a problem with the Australian accent…