My friend Drake is a music lover. He enjoys everything from Bach to bluegrass. But like most people, he has his favorites. One day I asked him what it was that turned him on about music. I knew that he wasn’t really partial to any particular style or genre, that he enjoyed vocals as much as he did instrumentals. For him, hard-rock didn’t take a backseat to classical. He told me that he loved most every type of music. But his favorite selections all had one thing in common: the element of surprise. He said that he wanted to be surprised by the music and that he was always listening for the things that he was not expecting.
I had to think about his answer for a while. Me, I’m pretty simple. My choice of music is whatever makes me feel good at the time. I too like all sorts of sounds. But the element of surprise has never been a consideration in my appraisal of music. I think that for Drake, it’s that tinge of conflict that gives the music its substance. Music that follows the rules of convention doesn’t much interest him – “been there, heard that.” It all began to make sense when I realized that Drake himself didn’t follow the conventional path. He’s an artist who enjoys being out of kilter.
When I was a young boy my father would sometimes make me a “surprise sandwich.” He wouldn’t tell me what he was going to put on it. But he’d assure me that it’d be the best sandwich that I ever had. And usually it was. I tried many times to replicate his masterpiece, but mine never tasted quite the same. I think it must have been that element of surprise that made it taste so good.
Day 3 Guide
Today, be especially attentive to surprise. Sometimes the best ideas and the best plans are conceived by the least common modes of thought. Change a habit. Do something a little different. You might be surprised.
© 2006, Levi Hill