A report has arrived suggesting that the level of interest in the current GC diaries is getting out of hand, to the point that several current diarists had to withdraw from posting. Diary Readers include: parents (particularly Mothers), family members, loonies, "friends", landlord, teachers of children, tax office researchers (!), parents of friends of children, friends of children, employers, the supermarket lady, neighbors, promoters, audience characters, and the list goes on...
So, what is the aim of keeping an online diary? This is the information currently available on the GC site…
On November 7, 1999, Robert Fripp asked a number of long-time members of the Guitar Craft community if they would consider keeping and publishing diaries of their ongoing work, as well as other writing regarding the history of Guitar Craft. His observation from his own experience with the diary he maintains on the Discipline Global Mobile website was that "this exercise is powerful, and produces remarkable results."
The Aims Of The Diaries
- To engage the listening community at an earlier stage of the creative process than is commonly available.
- To inform the listening community of the practicalities of that process.
- To de-mystify the process which is, essentially, practical.
- To encourage the Diarist to recapitulate their experience.
- To provide the Diarist with a pointed stick.
- To expose the Diarist to public ridicule.
We continue to have a Romantic notion of the artist: a special creature set apart from common humanity, one favoured by the Muse.
These Diaries indicate the mundane nature of the lives of artists: their simple, human and practical concerns. These Diaries remove the mystification which we project onto the artists, their lives and activities. The creative process is shown as being straightforward, ordinary and practical.
At this point, with the commonplace nature of the artists' work revealed, the creative process may appear more remarkable than before: how can ordinary people like these give rise to work which moves and touches us?
Then, we find a new and deeper respect for the benevolence of the creative impulse: it succeeds despite these people, not because of them.
Much commentary on the lives and work of artists is projection: unfounded, uninformed, without data, without direct experience, based on what we believe the lives of artists to be. Most commentary by "fans" is based on ignorance, rooted in personal prejudice, like and dislike. This is commentary from the basement. The enthusiast is better informed, able to engage with the process in the moment, and suspend the immediate rush to judgment. This is the view from the garden floor.
The connoisseur understands: they know, feel and sense the currents at work in the creative process. They have themselves undergone a training, but in listening and "appreciation" rather than in performance. This is the view from the floor above the garden room.
The recapitulation of experience, in the form of diaryism, is a way to digest the impressions which life, and our living of it, naturally provides. The Diarist reviews their actions, feeling and thinking, and presents us with an overview of their life process.
Maintaining a diary is itself a process, of engagement with oneself. An ongoing diary presents a challenge which invites the Diarists to move beyond their natural lassitude, to go further than the merely comfortable.
Maintaining a public diary is also a process, and engagement with the listening community is the stage where diarism comes to life: the arrogance, foibles, pretensions, weaknesses and aspirations of Diarists are revealed to public gaze and scrutiny; even the attempt to hide is revealed. At this point, heat enters the process, and repercussions generated beyond the purely personal.
What differentiates a Journal from a Diary? This seems to be a central point, and I have been asked to clarify this.
Firstly, the aim in changing the name from diary to journal is to differentiate between the entries to this point and future postings;
Secondly, the aim for future postings is to raise the standard of contribution from the mainly personal and subjective, to the personal, impersonal, subjective and objective.
So, what is the aim of journalising? The prime aim, immediately, is to cultivate a practice of noticing.
In developing a discipline of effective action (such as playing a musical instrument in public) an important injunction is this:
before doing something, do nothing;
while doing nothing, watch with impartiality and without judgement.
Merely watching does by itself change what we are watching. When I notice, my watching comes to life: I am distinct from what is being seen, but I am seeing it as if for the first time. The quality of watching moves from looking, to observing, to seeing. Seeing is instantaneous. Whereas observing is an action which I undertake, seeing comes to me, and in such a way that I am not apart from what is being seen. This is rare, and in an instant, but conveys a taste & flavour of what a proper life might be.
Another way of expressing this: the primary aim in this next stage of journal writing is to develop The Observer, a construct in personality, that becomes a vehicle through which who-we-are may better know & act upon what-we-are.
Our journal records what we have noticed, whether in ourselves (our sensing, feeling and/or thinking); our functional activities; and what is occurring in the world around us. Our noticing of both inner processes and external activities brings about an engagement between the two. At this point, something more becomes possible for us.
Before we may move to intentional action, it is necessary to know the context in which we act, and our capacity to act within it. This is not possible without noticing. Without noticing, nearly everything that takes place in our lives is accidental, to a greater or lesser degree.
For now we watch and, with grace, we notice. We report, in our journal, on what we have noticed. This noticing may generate repercussions, although we might not be aware of them. And, over time, as we develop our practice of noticing, we might see repercussions and consequences which escaped us at the time.
Friday 11th. March, 2005