Friday, January 20, 2012
1/12 of the way to forever
well... february. it's officially a month. technically a bit more since i started before xmas. i'm not sure what the longest period i've ever played only one yo-yo has been, but i'm certain i've eclipsed it.
i'm very excited about yo-yoing. i feel as though i'm closer to the core of how i "mean to play" than i ever have been. i was a little nervous about just doing the same tricks over and over, but i LIKE to play so much that i'm coming up with things that amp me by accident. that's the way it should be. i blame part of that increased sense-of-stoke on 365yoyotricks.com. watching my pals throw down big tricks every day (and no lack of them fixed axle) makes yo-yo doldrums incomprehensible.
i'm struck by the fact that i really haven't had a reason to touch or even look at other yo-yo's during this time. i compared my 'eh' and its developing patina (do you call it 'patina' if it's wood?) with my backup (which sits idly on a rack). it's amazing the dirt and joy that just a month of play can enclose within porous oak. i am not a delicate person, and i do not always treat my 'nice things' with appropriate care. i asked steve for this yo-yo knowing it would have to become an extension of my body, and i'm not really happy if my body isn't being beat up a bit. as such, the 'eh' has seen its share of spills and tumbles, caroming off of concrete and brick... occasionally running into an oblivious passer-by ("i never hit anyone accidentally" - great 'quarter trick' line).
lately, i've shifted back to my old type 10 'cones to balls' string. the cone, given to me by steve brown, still has some heft, and the string encircling it retains all of the spring and snap it must have had when it was originally wound in some lost age. i've scorched through a few axles, and snapped a few strings. i'm feeling good about how i've dialed the gap and response into reluctant harmony.
my kids at school do not understand, and i'm kind of glad of it. they ask me why the same yo-yo every day, and why wood, and why no bearing. my best answer is that i wanted a challenge (the more complicated truth that 'it's the path toward how i want to play' is not how you answer a 10 year-old asking about a yo-yo). to them, triple or nothing is a challenge. a single, staccato eli-hop is a challenge. a decent, stable sleeper is a challenge.
somewhere, deep inside each of those things, there is a challenge for me too. the challenge of throwing a sleeper and really living within the ephemeral friction... embracing the anxious reality that every eli hop could impotently miss the string... the challenge of really BEING THERE as the yoyo revolves in sacred ellipses, falling toward the string on triple or nothing. i want to hit hard tricks. i want to make up hard tricks. but what i'm noticing is that with bearings, i tend to miss the simple stuff. not that i fail to hit the tricks, but i fail to take notice of them. the simple beauty of a well-executed ripcord or the thwack of a flyaway. the smell of an axle you've set smoking and the feel of wood chastising lackadaisical knuckles. it just feels more real and contiguous than ever to me right now.
living and playing in this way, a month kind of snuck up on me. will a year do the same? and then what? if tomorrow were 12/31/12, i would have no desire to go back to ball bearings. i don't care for how they sound. i don't care for how they feel. i don't care for the complacent, take-it-for-granted way that i find myself playing them by comparison. my friends pull it off, but it makes me feel like a phony. i'm not a big proponent of 'forever'. i think 'right now' is the real commitment, the ultimate challenge, and the greater underlying purpose to this exercise in indulgent self-exploration...
but so far... so very good.