A Drifting Up: thoughts on intensity and shifting focus

driftingup.jpgAs I contemplate my blank screen… I hear the lovely tones of the piano drifting up the stairs from the basement.  Craig The Amazing is working out a few chords for a piece he is transcribing. He is a jazz percussionist – mostly he plays drums – but he has been working on transcribing pieces for the vibes, like ‘Killer Joe’, that he will play, amongst other works, as a part of a second tribute to Milt Jackson and Ray Brown later this month.

Craig is gifted with music. As he works… I hear the piano.  I hear the runs – and then the breaks as he pencils in the notes. A brief silence… then more beauty drifting up to me.

I lift my focus from my writing.

I listen more closely and am awed at the intricacy of what he is able to do – seemingly so effortlessly. The feeling in the music… the tone… the movement… drifts up to me and I feel the need to breathe it in and appreciate this wonderful man. I am grateful for his music. To me it embodies the beauty of who he is as a person.

Later he is working more… but this time upstairs on the computer. Now… he is transcribing Dizzy Gillespie’s ‘Birks Works’. At the keyboard – I hear the clicking of the keys and the sometimes-sigh of his concentration.

Cellargigposter.jpgI occasionally talk to him when he is there – in that place – but I shouldn’t. He is deeply focused, and if I interrupt his thought, I will only get a slightly unfocused response to a half-listened-to query.

It is like a stop-gap measure to brush away an annoying bug.  I get that!

Craig and I are the same in so many ways…

When I am deeply engaged in my own thoughts or favourite activities – I do not want to be pulled to the surface for either air or conversation. I am deeply absorbed – and then it takes me a while to bury myself back into that place or thought: the sweet spot of my focus or processing.

I was describing this to Craig:

“It is like diving for a shiny stone: taking a deep breath and swimming down… and if you can just reach it… you can get it. But if you have to swim to the surface for another breath – or a conversation – you have to sink back down to search again for that stone – and having shifted your gaze – you may never find it again…”

Sometimes the drifting up is hard indeed…

The splitting of attention…

The shifting of gaze…

The alteration of focus…

Today – however – this drifting up fills my world with beauty and appreciation in real-time for this home of mine and my wonderful family.

And I am breathing it in… and I am grateful.

Related Posts and Links:
CBC Hot Air – Featuring The Ross Taggart Sextet – Craig Scott on Drums

30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2013)

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
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3 Responses to A Drifting Up: thoughts on intensity and shifting focus

  1. The deep focus on specialized subjects, and all of our tendencies to become so absorbed in subjects that we dislike being interrupted, is so helpful in understanding our loved ones with ASD, and respecting their need for gradual transition.


  2. Leah Kelley says:

    Yes… I agree! Yes!


  3. colinb897 says:



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