Sunday, May 17, 2015

The thrill is gone

BB King died two days ago. He, Fats Domino, and Bo Diddley introduced me to the blues.  The music originated in the Mississippi Delta where black musicians played in the juke joints after working in the cotten fields (from sun-up to sun-down for 50 cents a day) back in the last century.

I love the blues; I love the way the music moves me. The mind empties and the body moves to the beat. The lyrics are simple, repetitive, and earthy, speaking to the soul rather than the intellect.

Raw, rough, and real, baby.

BB King earned many awards and accolades during his life and inspired countless blues players. But he warned young blues guitarists not to aspire to be the next BB King or the next Eric Clapton. He said, "Don't mimic; be yourself." He said it is important to find your own style, your own sound. I think that's brillant advice for anyone in the creative arts, and it's advice I need to remember as I tackle the next draft of my novel.

He's right, you know. I don't want to sound like someone else. The real reason I'm a writer is because I want people to hear me, not the echo of someone I might try to imitate. And so while I may have my idols, I need to be true to my voice.

RIP, BB. Thank you for the music and the advice. I hear you, man. I really do hear you.