I Want To Talk...

An announcement….
I’M RECORDING A NEW EP!!! I am BEYOND excited about it. I started recording with SF producer/musician extraordinaire Scott Mickelson last week and I’m loving how it’s turning out. I am thrilled to share with you what we’re creating.

Stay tuned for more...
And now…onto some some less chipper thoughts:
Outside I hear construction. The clanging and scraping of metal. I hear the release of exhaust from the downtown bus on 6th, the hum of the air conditioner, the honking of drivers going somewhere that is obviously much more pressing than their fellow drivers.
When I was teenager and I’d go into San Francisco, these were hopeful sounds. They meant the world was alive and vibrant and moving. They were a future I wanted to have. They meant Broadway plays, art and crafts fairs with gallery-worthy hopefuls, saxophone buskers and the best damn sushi you could find in some hole in the wall under a neon light trying inefficiently to keep time. It meant a community with a spirit, a community of causes, of meaning, of emotion, of progress forward and upward and outward.
I would like to say that stayed the same for me. As I write this, I want it to have stayed the same for me. But as I sit here now, the air feels thick and sour. I see the rags and dirt and distortion and greed. I think of my country divided, of the threat of withering crops, imminent warfare, and, of course, the dispassionate A.I. overlords from sci-fi novels that seem increasingly like an inevitability. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I see a problem here that is not just my own world-weariness.
I want to talk about this.
I’m not saying this apocalyptic outlook is new. I’m sure on the precipice of any monumental shift in the world people felt like this. In fact, I believe quite strongly that gravitation toward a feeling of controversy is one of the tried-and-true hallmarks of our species. I maintain that were we to end our days and go to a heaven where we sat eternally basking in love we would, eventually by our natures, create a sense of struggle.
In other words, I’m with Billy Joel on this one.
We are contradictory creatures. Lurking always in front of us is that mirror image of ourselves. We fight for peace. We pray for freedom. And we give our power away in the hopes of gaining more.
That said, I do not believe that it is bad to have this contradictory nature. I believe it is what drives us forward. However, I do believe there’s a balance that needs to be maintained. Challenge enough to improve our world and move forward without ever entering a complete sense of hopelessness.
So why am I concerned about it now? We are not, after all, in the middle of a World War. I am not in a concentration camp. Nor has another bubonic plague broken out. Nor is an unavoidable meteor heading toward us.
And yet…
Well, it really comes down to community. When I think of the Orwell-esque literature, one of the tenants of a totalitarian takeover is a sense of isolation each individual has from each other. There is no community. It is people controlled by isolation. It is hopelessness through isolation. And, worst of all, the people don't even realize they are alone. I worry about this with our increasing reliance on technology, our divisive politics, and our overload of information. Information overload in particular. I listened to this podcast episode of The Unmistakable Creative featuring Amanda Stern and she brought up this point that information does not always equal intelligence. Sometimes too much information is too much noise and it leaves little room for our own discernment, for critical thinking, for our own connections. A society without that is a very dangerous thing. It feels more threatening than any of the aforementioned examples because it is slow. A molasses-paced threat. It is not, comparatively, immediate and it can therefore overtake us without us knowing. Like age. Like depression. Like falling out of love. Like loneliness. We do not treat it as an immediate threat. But maybe we should be.
That said, what do I know, really?
There’s still groups of people rallying for good causes. There’s still love and generosity and kindness and taking care of each other. There’s still nature. And there are still moments of connection. I go back to a moment I had at WoodyFest a couple years ago. I was sitting outside of the local coffee shop. The air then was hot and humid, but not oppressively so. The sun was going down and the cicadas were buzzing and I sat in companionable silence with the stranger beside me, both of us rocking slowly back and forth in our chairs. No words needed.
There are moments still like those.
There’s hope yet.
Let’s run with that.

Katie Anne Mitchell