Friday, June 1st, 2012

"The bar was so high- it had to be great to be good!"
- Johnny Mercer (commenting on songs written by his fellow Tin Pan Alley Songwriters.)

Have you reached your goals? Are you satisfied with your songwriting? Are you okay with writing in a specific style or genre most often? Is your knowledge of chord choices sufficient? Are you content with not knowing how you do what you do? Are you not slightly uncomfortable when someone introduces you as a "great" songwriter or "amazing" guitar player? If the answer is "yes" chances are you've reached the level of your own ignorance; meaning, the level of your self-imposed limitations. But what usually happens..

"If one has no ability or inclination to scrutinize what he or she does in terms of greater goals, to be over-praised can be, and usually is, stultifying- in the sense of inhibiting progress. A career must have long-range technical and philosophic goals. Without these goals one does not have the strength or the distance for honest self-criticism. Those who take no responsibility for understanding what it is that they do are not happy. They are confused by success and humiliated by failure. They make themselves unhappy by denying themselves the comfort of anything greater than themselves." -David Mamet "On Theatre"

What are these greater goals if not the effort to understand and assimilate the best of what came before us? The accomplishments of the past are the ropes that tether us to our future aspirations. We'll never see the seemingly unending mountain range until we're willing to reach a point where assessment is even possible. The resulting paradox of this perspective is freedom; freedom from self-consciousness, and the self-satisfaction of the ego; ultimately, the greatest goal of all.
"In this world of over-rated pleasures, and under-rated treasures, I'm glad there is you." ("I'm Glad There Is You" - Jimmy Dorsey/Paul Madeira)

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