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Franz Marc: The Bewitched Mill (1913)

" … once existed forever."

Make The Best

"Make The Best of the curious choices
life brings you.
They won't always rhyme
and they won't always leave a reason behind them,
'cause this is a sloppy opera and a stupid ballet
and if it isn't for the best
at least it is forever."

I always use this song to end my performances.
It serves as the coda, the final and encapsulating thought. This one might properly summarize what it was that I was getting on about through the whole set. Listening being a fleeting experience, just like performing, I figure both the audience and I might benefit from a bit of a reminder of why we were here. Whether the performance ended up being perfect or something considerably less, it constituted The Best, which must be made out of whatever raw material presents itself and therefore remains a relative rather than an absolute. The Best arises from the making of curious choices, usually not the choices anyone would willingly choose to make, but ones made anyway if only because they needed making. This as opposed to the notion that the best somehow seeks one out or that another contributes the deciding factor. No, MakingTheBest might be mostly about the maker's mindset, and not really about besting at all.

"Take your time
to know what you're wanting, what you intend.
Don't go out of your way
to avoid what they'll probably say about you anyway.
Even if it were true, it still couldn't hurt you,
so just move toward the light,
knowing the rest are right beside you."

Producing this SetList and practicing out the songs has taken much longer than I'd imagined it taking. It becomes successively easier as preparation extends to believe that I might never get to the end of my aspiration. I might have bitten off an asymptotic urge, one without a natural resolution. I feel enjoined to continue working my way through this one, anyway. I won't know and, indeed, I cannot know what might manifest as best this time unless I work my way clear through to an end, however endless the preparation might seem. I must appear a fool (again). What must my friends think? This mantra reminds me not to go out of my way to avoid what they're probably already saying about me, anyway. And that whatever they might say, it's unlikely to hurt me. I might focus upon moving toward my light while believing everyone else engages in exactly the same activity. We're beside each other as well as beside ourselves.

"Take a hand
from the many, many offered you in your time.
Every inch of your way
was meant to be that way just for you.
You know we all wear the tutu in this stupid ballet
and if it isn't for The Best,
it never goes away."

None of even the least of us are ever really alone, it seems: each pursuing precisely the same thing; each remarkably vulnerable; each unimaginably powerful, arsonist firefighters. We set the fires we also extinguish, needing courage as well as our even harder-won vulnerabilities. Every inch of every way might just as well have been created expressly for your personal enjoyment, enlightenment, and/or entertainment. Your curious choice. My curious choice, too. We're each wearing our own personal tutu, ridiculous in this stupid ballet, not one of us exceptional unless each and every one of us are. We are.

"Make The Best,
Take your time,
and take a hand.
Make The Best!"

®1994 by David A. Schmaltz, all rights reserved

The final song of the evening might induce the recognition that the performance amounted to a collective creation. Yes, I might have written the tunes and performed them, but it would not have really been much of a performance at all had not an audience been involved. Entertained or disgusted or, very likely, some mix of both. Not every song could have possibly been everyone's favorite, not even for the performer and author of the event. The sum total of the experience might just as well get classified as perfect, The Best in functional form. Those assembled might acknowledge that they somehow produced The Best together that evening, and leave with a refreshed understanding that, whatever else they might be doing, however seemingly mundane, they're also MakingTheBest. The smattering of applause at the end extends both ways, toward whatever passes for a stage as well as back toward and well into the assembled audience, for this bit of conjured magic will shortly disperse into half-forgotten memories upon a snowy swirl, but once, just that once, existed forever.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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