These days, learning overload, to the point where I don’t know how to begin saying things. It is a theme, I am learning. I am so grateful for the people that surround me, that I learn from. This past week at school there was a celebration of Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic and so many things that came up from those discussions set sparks, but most beautifully I will remember, for awhile, a presentation by Tina Campt that came out of her encounter with four anonymous rejected passport photographs of black men, from decades ago, found in the archive of a photography studio in Birmingham, England. She spoke of how there is a way in which we can listen to the things that we see — how in photography there are “sonic frequencies of quiet,” comparable to a hum, an utterance made without words, often when words are unsayable. I was thinking of how, in Space is the Place, the first thing that Sun Ra does when he lands on the new planet, far from Earth, is hum. Then, he says, “the music is different here, the vibrations are different.” More and more I am thinking of how so often we are never quiet, always making sound at low frequency, never quite rested. And more and more I think of how quiet noise is a way of sounding – in the sense of, testing the air for its resonance, trying to learn what is permissible, with a small step, with your own immediate space, before reaching further. I am thinking of how we learn this through music. Loose thoughts, for now, though I am grateful that they come.
More loose thoughts. Articulation – I don’t know why I find this such a useful word, and I don’t think that it was through academic training. There was a point in which, several years ago, I became so hesitant to speak because I was afraid of not being articulate. This fear made me loathe my upbringing, made me think that I lacked the ability to function “correctly” in English – something I realized that I had been worried about for a long time before. When I think of “articulate” as an action instead of an adjective, I feel like I can begin to own it better.
Have I said this before? I find, more and more, that I have to repeat myself and make a little progress. I am learning, also, that this is the way I write, make things, learn things in general.
What does it mean to find resonance with something or someone that comes from such a different place from you? Is that something that I am allowed to ask out loud? I need to say it somewhere because I am trying to re-trace how it happened. Growing up where I did, in Alief, everyone was a little placeless in some away, and something about that made it home. A place where bonds that were unimaginable, in so many other places, didn’t make anyone blink. Sometimes the blinking happened, but your eyes always open quickly after. There are limits to a way in which an encounter can be theorized, you just have to find a way to be in the feeling. As with listening, as with music. When we hear it we are in it, there’s no leaving then. But I need to correct myself. Hearing is not listening; listening is a choice. In the grand scheme of things we inhabit the same room.
Repetition, coming full circle. All loose resonating. Loose thoughts, quick thoughts, necessary now because I am otherwise so deliberate. The more I say things again the more things move forward, slowly but surely.