Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
…Way to make me remember certain things, WordPress…
Honestly, I’ve had many such moments, and they all had to do with one thing in common: risk. Each time, I was taking a risk, and each time, I had to make a choice: would I step forward and throw caution to the wind, or step back?
It’s a bit embarrassing for me to say it, but I’ve stepped back far more than taken the leap of faith at times like these, and usually, I regretted stepping back. Usually, it had to do with someone, rather than something. The one time I did decide to jump in with both feet and did not follow through, turned out that not following through was the best choice. It’s a bit of a pattern for me, unfortunately: when I feel an adrenaline rush, my immediate impulse is to take stock of all variable and possible outcomes, instantly, and decide on the safest course.
I tend to err on the side of caution, and sometimes, it’s to my detriment.
But the most recent moment of such nervousness came aboard the Capital Jazz Supercruise. Stanley Clarke Q&A. And Stanley Clarke in the world of music, especially among bassists, is kind of sort of synonymous with the Holy Grail. This was the man who played on Charles Mingus’s bass. Legend is a bit of an understatement for him.
And when the Q&A came around, I wanted to ask him something. He’s been around the world many times over, and looks it; his eyes speak volumes about what he’s seen, and me being a perpetual student, I wanted to learn something about his perspective.
You know how for some people, public speaking is a challenge? Their mouths dry up, they forget what they want to say, they stammer? I’ve not been one of those people…until that moment. All I knew was, when Angela Stribling handed me that mic, that here I was, a whippersnapper girl of 27, who’s got a knack with a DSLR camera…and I was standing across from a jazz legend who’s seen it all and I had no idea what to say. The noise of my blood in my brain was helping me very, very little. All I could think was, even though I want to know what I want to know, how in the universe can I possibly ask it of someone who has traveled the world over in such a way that my own mind can’t wrap around? It was, for the lack of words, a student-meet-teacher moment, but such was the school and such was the teacher that, for the first time since I had gotten entrenched in music, I truly felt how new I was in all of this. For the first time, I truly felt like a student getting schooled in perspective.
Later on in the cruise, though, at lunch, when I had another brief chance to converse with Mr. Clarke, I did not feel as nervous as before. But that original adrenaline rush, that feeling of absolute newness in all of it – and I’ve done a lot of traveling for the sake of jazz and music so far – that will stay with me for a while.