Saxophonist extraordinaire Ornette Coleman dropped off the face of the earth in 1963. He had tremendous success with two trailblazing albums, The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959), and Change of the Century (1959). But for reasons that he’d never fully explain, but which you might intuit, he decided to go to the woodshed to re-tool himself, to update, to refresh, to experiment, to practice. And he stayed gone from the music scene for two years before he re-emerged.
I always admired Ornette, and I loved Ornette’s mustic. I loved his plastic saxophones. I loved that “free jazz” was, in fact, partially written. I loved the incessant repetitions of Dancing in Your Head (1976). I loved that later in his career his son played drums for him. But most of all, I admired his knowing that he’d benefit from pulling the plug in 1963 and his going to the woodshed without any fuss. For a while. Not forever. With the intention to return. Just for then. Just to attend to what he wanted to attend to. In 1963 I was in high school. The idea that a premiere musician and one of my favorites could just leave struck me. To me, it was as if Coleman were Henry David Thoreau, and the woodshed was Walden Pond. And I thought only good things could come from that.
I’ve toyed with leaving la blogosfera for the woodshed before. This past December, I tried to get myself banned from dKos. It didn’t work. In fact, it seemed to be some kind of lunatic performance art. All that happened was I lost my trusted user status briefly. I didn’t really go anywhere. I returned to write diaries despite my intentions to break free.
I’ve previously declared that I was on hiatus elsewhere. In September, 2005, I put my email group, dedicated to fighting state killing, on hiatus. That didn’t last very long. In less than 2 months, there were enormous injustices I felt compelled to talk about. The hiatus ended unceremoniously with the 1,000th execution in the US and California’s killing Tookie Williams.
All of which brings me to my decision to give myself a break. I’ve previously explained that if I left, I would just go. But that seems to me too abrupt, and also, I’m not really leaving. It’s not a GBCW. It’s not permanent in any way. I just wanted to say that I’m now taking a break from dd and GOS. I’ll continue to post at The Dream Antilles. And I’ll be back after I finish with the woodshed.
Before I left, I wanted to thank you all for being here, for reading, for carrying on.
Oh, and I will read the comments. And perhaps reply. And then I’m off.