Tuesday, July 28, 2009

inspiration wednesday



the weaver - self-described as; "a farmer's wife living on the eastern edge of the yorkshire dales with my husband and a young border terrier..." (and you know, she's so much more than that!!) proposed a theme wednesday based on who we are inspired by and why. it's a rich opportunity because unpacking the various areas of my life, i find several people inspire and inform my thinking, my aspirations, even to some degree my motivation.

my friends and certainly my family have each provided me with ample amounts of inspiration.

so the challenge for me in writing this piece was to find someone
whose inspiration appears in some way, shape or form across my life.


i'd have to say that the english musician robert fripp would be that person. in part because of his music, which often fills my home, but in a larger sense because of the way in which he has used his life.

a beautiful little town i visited almost a quarter century ago.

he received his first guitar as a christmas present when he was eleven years old.

despite being an extraordinarily gifted musician, he acknowledges that through the course of his life, he has needed to take a number of disadvantages and turn them into advantages. one small example of this can be found in robert's biography in which he mentions that he was tone deaf with no sense of rhythm when he started playing guitar. he is famously quoted when having disclosed this that "music so wishes to be heard that it sometimes calls on unlikely characters to give it voice."

his career as the one consistent element of the band king crimson, not to mention the various side-projects and individual efforts he has produced and or created have all been characterized by a distinctive perception of his role in being a player of music, a unique and often challenging sense of the role of the audience in the creation of music, and the understanding that when properly fulfilled, those roles could lead to the possibility that something extraordinary might take place. something beyond the people involved.

i admire him for his service to music as something far removed from the commercial culture in which it is currently mired. as he brings music into this world it is subject to the expectations of audiences, critics, and those people for whom music is a commodity, "a product", and not an expression of the creative force that binds this universe together. reconciling those disparate world-views has resulted in him spending an inordinate amount of time unpacking the financial abuse that he (as so many musicians) have experienced instead of allowing his music to flow unimpeded.

i respect him for taking his own spiritual essence and placing it in the way of affording common yobs like myself an opportunity to address the more salient concerns of our presence here in this unlikely place. from robert i have learned about a range of seekers and thinkers who have had an enormous impact on my own internal dialogue with which i engage the many worlds of which i am but a small part.

robert is extraordinarily well-read and a terrific writer. more recently he and his sister have shared public speaking platforms in which guise they provide people with a sense of direction in taking their own lives from whatever spot they are in and establishing a discipline from which can grow a deeper understanding of themselves in relation to their own aspirations. i admire him for sharing his own understanding with people who are perhaps looking for a sense of direction and possibly even purpose.

i'm not sure that i can be any more admiring of this person than i have been here, but his impact and effect on me as a human being has been pronounced and is ongoing. if you're intrigued by some of what i've shared and wish to know more then you should know that there's much been said about robert fripp. some of the stronger more useful pieces include zen and the art of fripp's guitar. an excellent book was written by my bloggy mate sid the smith (see my sidebar for a link to his excellent blog) up on the east coast of england entitled "in the court of king crimson" which is well worth sourcing out!!! eric tamm's book on robert (although fairly out of date) contains some compelling and informative perspectives and can be read for free online right here.

i'll end off with a beautiful grace that robert learned while he was in retreat with j.g. bennett in 1974.

all life is one and everything that lives is holy.

plants, animals and people all must eat to live and nourish one another.

we bless the life that has died to give us food.

let us eat consciously, resolving by our labors to pay the debt of our existence.


as a point of departure for reflection, i modify the last line to say;

"let me live consciously to resolve by my labor the debt of my existence."

36 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

Robert Fripp is an amazing character - definitely inspirational.

I am inspired by you, Steven, by your open mind and truly positive outlook on life. You see the best in the world and in people, and in so doing, you bring out the best in your life and I'm sure in others, also. Thank you!

steven said...

hi reya. thanks for this very generous thought. i've been blessed in many ways during the course of my life. sometimes those blessings have been very ugly, sometimes they've been indescribably beautiful. either way this life and all its details has been a gift.
this morning when you posted about vince i wrote "you amaze me" and then blew it off because in my experience, pixillated text is as open to misunderstanding as the telephone. however, i will say it here. you amaze me. i hope that the sunset that has just unfolded here comes your way. it's unbelievable.
steven

willow said...

I'm always fascinated by who and what inspires a person and why. Excellent post on Robert Fripp.

steven said...

thankyou willow. i could have posted about several other people as well!!!! i'm looking forward to reading all the other posts as well! have a peaceful day. steven

ellen abbott said...

I'm going to admit that I read only the first paragraph (so far, it is late and I meant to shut off the computer) and then skipped down to the grace at the bottom. Several paragraphs of thought and belief have jumped into my head but again it is late.

This grace alone, well, I shall just remain speechless for now.

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

our home was filled with King crimson in our student days in the 70s but I don't know anything about your mentor so it was doubly interesting to see who inspired you and why and learn a little about him.

thanks for the good story today...

Happy days

Dan Gurney said...

Interesting post! In kindergarten I play guitar all the time now, but your post prompted me to think back to the time I first picked one up.

I believe it would be fair to say I was all but tone deaf and had no rhythm, too. Musical ability can be developed if one is motivated to bring it out into the world.

Fripp is an inspiration!

steven said...

hi ellen, the grace is really beautiful and powerful. it has so much more truth about it than the ones i remember as a child which were well-intentioned and meaningful in their own right but which didn't have that quality of presence about them. have a lovely day!! steven

steven said...

hi delwyn, i was in university when i first heard king crimson. nowadays, i much favour robert's solo work over his work with crimson for the simple reason that he creates beautiful soundscapes as opposed to the rock of crimson. having said that, when my wife is out of the house i do occasionally throw on some of the raucous stuff for the sake of my guitar loving son!!!! have a peaceful day by the river. steven

steven said...

hi dan, it's intriguing to go back to the source of the place we now locate our creative expression to see who and what was behind the moment when that door opened. i think that creativity is available as field of energy that will flow through any person who makes themselves available to it. singing and music in school is more important now than ever. enjoy this beautiful day dan!!! steven

Titus said...

Wow Steven. My knowledge began and ended In the Court of the Crimson King. Really well written on post on someone I knew very little about - thanks!

steven said...

hi titus, thanks. there's lots happened since the court of the crimson king! lots!! i hope you are motivated to have a listen to some of it! have a great day. steven

jinksy said...

Your last line is a corker...and how could I resist a blog with the wonderful name of 'Golden Fish' ?

steven said...

hello jinksy! i don't know how anyone could resist!!! i'm glad you stopped resisting! see you again, steven

Eryl Shields said...

This is great, I've never heard of Robert Fripp, but now I'm desperate to hear some if his music, do you have a particular album to recommend for a novice?

steven said...

hi eryl, nice to meet you! i would recommend the churchscapes disc which is on display on my sidebar. i think i linked it to robert's website where you can buy it or you can get it at the usual spots. if you'd like to hear some of his music before you spend your hard-earned money then nip over to ars divina where an older soundscape is posted. here you go . . . http://www.arsdivina.com/RobertFripp/Refraction.mp3
it's all electric guitar through processors. have a lovely day! steven

Jenn Jilks said...

Thanks for visiting My Reflections inspiration post.

I am a retired teacher, and have a blog about that, too!
I moved to Muskoka to write a book about teaching, then ended up writing a book about dying. We are sometimes inspired by things to which we do not aspire!

Linda said...

The constant uphill struggles of mentors can be very motiviating and inspirational. Music does wish to be heard and sometimes calls on unlikely characters, for example Susan Boyle. I will follow your post to eryl so I can hear Robert Fripp at 'arsdivina'. Music should always be an expression and not manufactured for the purpose of selling a product. Thank you for posting and the words in Robert's grace are very inspiring.

steven said...

hi jenn, thanks for dropping by.
yes, inspiration calls on us in the most unexpected ways. steven

Derrick said...

Hello Steven,

Thanks for visiting.Not being a rock kinda person, I'm not familiar with Mr Fripp but it is interesting to see how he has influenced you.

I love the colours in your header!

steven said...

hello derrick, i'm not much of a rock person myself anymore. to hear what mr fripp sounds like nowadays you should visit the link i popped in my comment to eryl up above.thanks for your nice comment about the header picture. i took that photograph a couple of years ago. we have little piles of rocks, dried flowers, honeycombs, you name it all over this house! that's one of them. have a great day! steven

acornmoon said...

Hi Derrick, nice to meet you. Your post about Robert Fripp took me back to my student days.

I also enjoyed reading the grace, it was new to me.

acornmoon said...

OOPs, sorry I got your name wrong. It is a very bad habit of mine I am afraid.

steven said...

hello acornmoon, no trouble. derrick is a very nice name and he seems like a very nice person but i'll be steven for now!!! welcome! it's interesting how many people associate robert and king crimson with their student days. i have a similar association but i chose to continue listening to robert's music because it has changed (as has he) in so many ways. have a peaceful day. steven

Elizabeth said...

The first line of the grace said everything, I think.
I sort of hate the almost cliched word 'mindfullness'
except it reminds us to be aware and open
to existence and all its little miricles.

I'm sure I should be familiar with Robert Fripp but I'm afraid I'm not......yet.

Butternut Squash said...

Music so wishes to be heard, beauty to be acknowledge. I love your inspiration. I will have to listen more. Peace.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for such an interesting post steven. I had never heard of him but I just love that grace at the end - and the fact that he has so inspired you makes me all the keener to look into his work. Hasn't it all been an interesting exercise? Many thanks for taking part and entering into the spirit of things so thoroughly.

steven said...

hi elizabeth, i think grace is a little like a story and so like stories it needs the odd detail to frame it in. that's where i think the "mindfullness" reminder comes in. just to as you say "remind us to be aware and open".
fripp's not quite a household name which might be a big reason why he's not known to you. thanks for visiting! have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hello butternut, yes, music finds the most unlikely people to be let it be heard. i think that's true of all creative expression. to hear robert's music there's a link up in my comment to eryl. enjoy!! have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hello weaver, well thanks to this idea of yours i've met a whole pile of people who are truly amazing. so thankyou for that. thankyou also for hosting this blogparty!! it was really amazing to see what everyone had to say - and how!!! have a peaceful evening.
steven

Coastcard said...

Well, Steven, I have really enjoyed your post, particularly because I know Wimborne (& the Minster) well. Relations of mine used to live there - and friends still do.

Really love your colourful blogskin. I was gripped early on by the designer Kaffe Fassett (I used to do a lot of tapestry). Perhaps I should have mentioned him in my post! What a good grace, too - and I love the Celtic design. Greetings from Wales, UK.

steven said...

hello coastcard and welcome!!! i walked to wimborne from cranborne when i was there. walked back the same night in the pitch black!!! it's lovely to have a guest from wales. as a boy we used to go down to chester and then into wales. there was something very magical to me about wales. have a peaceful day! steven

gleaner said...

Fascinating - I've never heard of Robert Fripp but love how one takes on a profound understanding of their inspirations. I'm going to see if there is a clip of his on u-tube.
This has certainly been a fascinating journey into Inspiration Wednesday.

steven said...

hello gleaner - i've had the best busiest blogging day in ages as i've followed this meme and the many amazing people it has revealed!!! if you'd like to hear some fripp then nip up in my comments to the one i wrote to eryl shields. i put a link to a piece of music by robert that i think is really representative of what he's doing. have a peaceful day. steven

Golden West said...

Music is indeed a language all its own, perhaps because it expresses emotions we sometimes find so difficult to verbalize. I'm thankful for all the current technologies that make it possible for music to make its way around the world and into our homes and lives!

steven said...

hello golden west!! it's an amazing time to be alive for a lot of reason not the least of which is the unprecedented access to music from all over the world. i listen to all kinds of music that i wouldn't be able to hear if it weren't for technology. thanks for visiting. steven