K is for “Kara Kum”

K

It seems that I’m becoming more comfortable with embracing challenges these days. With that in mind, I’m embracing the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, by writing about the things that I most closely associate with being alive, when I show up and engage with life as fully as possible.

And with that, I give you:

KARA KUM

Dave Beegle is one of the most amazing guitarists I’ve ever had the privilege of performing live. He has a playful stage presence that belies his incredible virtuosity and is genuinely one of the most humble artists I’ve met. He’s local to the Colorado Front Range area, and although he doesn’t perform as often as he once did (something about having kids will do that to you, or so I’m told) there are plenty of his recordings I return to time and time again just so my heart can soar. This is one of those pieces.

Keep in mind that although parts of this song sound like he’s playing an electric guitar (and in its original incarnation it was played on an electric) this is all played on an acoustic guitar. All those whole step and minor third string bends, that finger dexterity? Not easy to pull off. Not at all. Frankly, it makes my hands hurt just watching him play, but I digress.

Dave auditioned to replace Ace Frehley in Kiss back in the day (check out “Flight of the Bumble Beegle” for an idea why) but eventually decided his music was going in a different direction. He studied Flamenco and started to leave the progressive rock roots of Fourth Estate and venture into an area frequently referred to as “world” music. He distilled Flamenco, jazz and rock into something other worldly and fascinating, something that catches my attention and frequently makes me hold my breath.

I received my first lessons on the power of tension from listening to “Kara Kum” and from watching Dave Beegle perform it live several times.  Tension makes me stand on tip-toes, straining, aching for some kind of release. Just when I think it won’t come, just when I think that I will be forever left unsatisfied, the chord modulates, the rhythm changes and the dance begins again. It’s a little bit different, but somehow it feels like there was no other way for the music to go. The breath I did not realize I was holding escapes me and tension builds again.

I also began to learn that it’s possible to could build on what has come before, that I didn’t have to completely reinvent the wheel each time. I could infuse my writing with different genres, different perspectives, even different styles and still be uniquely “me.” I’ll be forever grateful to a friend of mine who challenged me to write a short piece that made spreadsheets sexy. I’m still shaking my head over that one, but it worked and I never thought I could write like that.

That’s the kind of writer I would love to be: to be able to leave my reader teetering on the edge of complete oblivion and just when they think I’ve gone an blown the whole thing up, gently ease her into a new story, a new part of the tale to be told. To be able to weave stories that take a smattering of this genre’s conventions, infusing it with my own imagery and maybe borrowing the form of a completely different kind of writing. To make something uniquely mine. Not muddied, not confused but strong, independent, joyous.

Honestly, that’s the kind of life I would like to live. I want to become comfortable with the tension. I want to lean into those places where it feels like there will be no release, no way out, nothing but suspense and trust that the release will come, that there will be another part of the story to come, that this is not the way the story ends. I guess all I want is to learn how to live life well.

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