One of the things that has been nice (and I have to work hard to find them) about the current situation in the world is that I’m finding that I have to be much more purposeful about seeing people and doing things.

A week or two ago I went to a gallery show that was featuring the work of my friend Ryan Miller. Ryan is a world-class musician who was a couple of years ahead of me at NIU back in the day and has since made a very good life for himself working in various circles in Chicago. He has recently added painting to his portfolio and the results have been beautiful. I first saw his work at a musician’s new year’s party in January of this year and I was really taken aback at the beauty and depth. When I heard about his show at The Andersonville Galleria I made it a point to go.

Shortly after the show I saw that he was lending some of his work to the Quiet Pterodactyl project to support independent music venues in Chicago, so I bought a coffee cup.

This is a long prologue to say that in doing these things it led to a very meaningful conversation with Ryan about the idea of resetting.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with during the pandemic is resolving the way things currently are with the way I want to be or the way I think they should be based on the past. Both my therapist and my Zen teacher get a kick out of this and this way of thinking keeps both of them quite busy.

Speaking to Ryan, we discussed the idea of using this time to do a “hard reset” of our artistic realities. What if, instead of laboring against the current reality, we accepted it and learned to work within it?

I think if you spoke to 100 jazz musicians they would all have a version of a dream that mimicked Sonny Rollins’ bridge sabbatical. It seems to me that if we can quiet our ego and desire for the past enough that we all kind of have that right now.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what an artistic reset would look like for me. I have some vague ideas and some concrete…it’s both frightening and invigorating.

Right now I’m going to enjoy some more coffee (roasted by Ryan!) in his cup and keep watching the squirrel on my front sidewalk.

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