“I try all things, I achieve what I can.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or The Whale
Jon Berz is doing it. He just did it. It’s done. Trying something else, next.
He needs to sleep.
Jon: "I think I need to get another cup of coffee..."
Jon plays a lot of different types of music. He writes poetry. He writes prose. He collages.
He is a collage.
He is a collage.
Jon: "Sure! Whatever comes. Whatever it is. Whatever you want."
His band is called Songs From The Moon... They just just made a video for this song of theirs':
Jon's got a blog and he's got his own record label / publishing company (co-operated by SFTM guitarist Shaun Wisniewski).
"I'm always learning," says Berz, who splits his time between tutoring English at Oakland Community College, pursuing his Masters' (in English) at Wayne, helping his landlord with odd-jobs around the house, delivering pizzas...and then, yes, also playing in bands (also including, now, The Walking Beat). "And I'm always getting better."
Local music scenesters will recall Jon as "the rhythm guy," meshed into the pop-raucousness of now-defunct Blase Splee. Being in that band, getting able to chip in a few signature strokes into the songwriting processes for their handful of releases, edified the guy's confidence. After a dozen years always being in one, if not two (or more) bands while eking along any old job that could provide a roof over his head, he came to the realization that he had to start breaking ground on something of his own - and the path to that began with his first few pages of personal writing, something he hadn't really done in his life until his mid-20's.
But he's getting more and more confident. Confident... "in my abilities to come up with something new and just to do it. Just, to make it, whatever I'm thinking. I just do it."
He has a 7"x4" flipped-up notebook, stressed with bend marks and grayed by pencil lead, filled with song ideas, chord progressions, half-finished/false-started/fleshed-out poems and essays.
"I just do it. That's it. To me...I wake up, I do it and I go to bed."
And maybe he doesn't go to bed until 4 a.m. -the tumbleweed cliff-dive at the edge of some ungodly tear through 39-straight-hours of consciousness and bustling. Yeah, he admits he might over-do it sometimes - but that allows him to pick and choose over the material he's poured-forth. If he hadn't stayed up for 40 hours, hadn't shunted his soul straight to that 4:01 a.m. mark, then he wouldn't have gotten that perfect song cinched.
"I've never been a perfectionist, I don't consider myself one. More a completion-ist. I love to work, but more so, I like to get it done and get it done right. I just do it. Put it out there. I don't wait back for any response. I just move onto the next idea, the next thing. The flood gates are open."
And then he passes me his copy of "Spring and All" by William Carlos Williams.
And, really, I've been writing almost-compulsively ever since.
~~Is what I have written prose? The only answer is that form in prose
ends with the end of that which is being communicated--If the power to
go on falters in the middle of a sentence--that is the end of the
sentence--Or if a new phase enters at that point it is only stupidity to go on.
There is no confusion--only difficulties.
--William Carlos Williams, from Spring and All, (1923).
"I feel like there's a lot of competition out there," Berz says, "I ..." he shakes his head and waves both hands, "...don't want any part of that. But, I do want to compete with myself -to always challenge myself and do things better than I did last week..."
And that's been the whole thing... Is part of me has become frustrated and anxious to break out. Part of me wants to test my legs of language when they're applied to different terrains - invented terrains - terrains beyond music. That part of me is breaking out and poking at Music-Milo to run along, try to keep up. That's why I've been dancing around this whole idea of either killing this blog (or, at the very least, putting it on hold for a bit...) ((or, at the very-very-least-least, killing it melodramatically and then shamelessly default on that and come back ala Doyle resurrecting Holmes))
But - my writing on Detroit music will never cease (sheesh, from how many other outlets do I spew my spastic rants now?), because, damn it, I'm still wholeheartedly inspired by all the glorious noise of my neighbors.
As Faulkner said... “Don't be 'a writer'. Be writing.”
Is what I have written prose?
And what about the next piece?
(More posts to come...or, at least one...)