One of the men in my writers’ group writes about spirit journeys. It was a shock to first hear. Not what I was expecting on first judgement of appearance (bad me, I know). After listening to him, I decided this was the group for me. Yes, I was debating beforehand. Many mystery writers, a few fiction, a couple non-fiction, my fantasy, and another man who writes space fantasy. Listening to our variety again yesterday, I couldn’t help but think: We are pretty awesome. And I do not want a group where everyone writes fantasy.
Part of spirit journeying is drumming, and he and another woman were trying to explain the importance of drumming sounds before journeying (or meditating, if that’s what you do) to the rest of the group. In my understanding, the drums are something abstract your brain can hold onto without getting pulled away by random thoughts. It also trains your brain. You hear this beat, you take your breaths, and then you go. It gets easier and easier, I’d think, to reach that required state.
So today I watched the Chinese movie Drummer, with Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee. I’m trying out Amazon Prime, so I just can. I saved it sometime during the week, and at the remembrance of drums, I wanted to see it. To hear it. The beginning talks about the first sound we’re aware of- the drumming beat of our mothers’ hearts. Huh. I might have mentioned that in RMOS! How drums are the first instrument mentioned in ancient writings. The movie had an actual group perform the ancient drums Jaycee’s ganster character tries to take refuge with. I wanted more drums, honestly.
Last year got me completely hooked and craving the sound. I’m pretty sure I told you about the Pow Wow I went to, where I wrote a small 1.5 page story for a Facebook writing competition while listening to them drum and sing, which has since exploded into a major new Steampunk book. I’ve been streaming a modern Native American group called A Tribe Called Red to have access to the sound. Now I may be adding some Chinese drumming.
It’s interesting, though, to think about the very different beats that grab us, that hold us, that we crave. Beats of music, beats of writing, beats of genres. How what is comforting to one is nauseating to another. And it all starts with a heartbeat.