Things I’ve Learned from Listening to Jazz (and Nora Ephron)

7 January 2014
10:49 PM


It’s a very good thing, improvisation. When I talked about it the other day, I meant that I missed a step, yes, and am improvising, because that’s what I know. A lot of things in my life I learned from listening to jazz, and improvisation is a big part of it. Also:

  • Diverging from the familiar can lead to happy discoveries. Whenever I feel I’ve gone off-tangent, I must not stop or hesitate. Instead, I must play on, perhaps even wing it–the results, often times, have been surprisingly pleasant.
  • It is quite important to surround myself with or find people who can jive well with me. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to have the same skills–sometimes recognising that each person has his or her own strength can lead to wonderful collaborations I never thought was possible.
  • There are many different ways of doing one thing. (After all, there are various versions of My Funny Valentine, and Moon River, and a lot of them are brilliant.)
  • Practice, practice, practice. Also, listen to others.
  • It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

Of course, my life doesn’t reflect this at the moment. Maybe that’s where Nora Ephron comes in:

I find myself telling that every now and then. I consider Nora Ephron to be one of my (imaginary) favourite godmothers. She taught me a lot about comedy. Being honest with writing about your life. Accepting and living with the faults of being a grown-up. Being a woman.

Be the heroine of your life, not the victim–a lesson for life, if you ask me. She taught me that tragedy can be shaped into comedy, if you know how to talk about it, and write about it. That gives me hope. Ha.

Perhaps I was being self-deprecating (which I am often guilty of). I guess what I was trying to say was–a lot of people I know seem to be following from an instruction manual (I mean–I may be wrong, of course, but that’s certainly what it feels like, these days), and it can be pretty alienating sometimes to be the only one in my situation. But here I am; I chose this. I may be behind, but I’m improvising, so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get there eventually.



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