From Blueberry Pie to Brain Surgery
So I read today's post like 100 times. It flowed out onto the keyboard pretty easily last night. I accepted its imperfect origins---until I started picking it apart. Then I corrected a bunch of stuff--tenses, person, etc. Then I uncorrected it. Then I erased a bunch of paragraphs and then put them back. Exhausted and sick of the damn thing, I hit the publish button. It made me nauseous. I wanted to punch the computer.
My brother Michael told me of similar struggles with songs that he's written. He'd write it and really feel it and love it. Then he'd record it. Then he'd go into the studio and tweak it until he wanted to smash the mixing board with a ball-peen hammer.
I like to call this acute second-guessing "The Annihilation of Analysis." Songs, like love, are not digital. They're analog--at least the kind that Michael writes. My writing is not Shakespeare or even readable half the time. But it's something. It's mine. It would be like me making a beautiful lattice crusted blueberry peach pie and then taking after it with a chainsaw because some of the juice bubbled over the side. That ain't right. It's a pie, for God's sake. It's not a precision instrument for excising brain tumors measured in the nanometers: It's a pie. We make songs, pies and blogposts here at the Feeney/Mason house. We don't make precision medical instruments. I mean how would you serve that? Ice cream or whipped cream? Yeah, not tasty. Helpful if you happen to have a brain tumor, yes. Delicious after some barbecue? No.
Maybe somebody relates. Maybe not. Maybe somebody's pissed. Maybe somebody sings along. Maybe you're singing to yourself in the Royal Albert Hall. Maybe I'm writing for the emptiness of cyberspace and the only reverb I get is the echo of my own ill-executed unread sentences. But who doesn't love a damn blueberry peach pie in the middle of the summer? We may not be removing brain tumors with our work.
But I would venture to say that we have solved a few heart problems.
Ps. Apologies to my wonderful brother for hitching my wagon to his beautiful song. I'd be a dumbass if I didn't.