Thursday, November 6, 2008
Rolling From Interest to Passion
Cooper is 5 years old and lives next door to us. "Is that an easel?" he asked as I was unloading one of Linda's one day. "Yep," I responded, pausing to gauge his interest. It was there. "Artists use them to hold their work while they're painting or drawing," was my See Spot Run description.
He turned nonchalant, bouncing his basketball. "I have an easel too. I use it every day. I'm going to be a professional illustrator when I grow up." I realized I was the one who was about to get the learning.
Cooper has a passion. Early. But some of us start with interest which might not go anywhere.
That would be my case with astronomy. Interest. If I see an interesting volume at a used book sale, I might buy it, might not. Might read it, might not. But I would read it with interest.
Linda and I met Will Witt some years ago at a BassQuake in the Bay Area. He was with his cousin, who is a demonstrative, enthusiastic musician who took to the Barker Bass right away. He ooohed and aaaahd and played it and backed away from it to view it from all angles. Will hung back.
As I write this today Will leaves California, with his Barker Bass, to play in Papua, New Guinea and eventually to Singapore. And doubtless some other places. The band is called Kokua, which means "to help or assist" in Hawaiian.
Will's interest in the Barker Bass, seemingly slow blooming at first, has turned to a passion.
He took bass lessons from Doug Mancini, another Barker player, in Santa Cruz.
In recent years he has grabbed every opportunity to play all sorts of music with lots of different musicians at a wide variety of venues.
He has become an anchorman in our NAMM booth, ready with the invitation to play, helpful with the explanation of the notions behind the design of the bass, and eager to demonstrate how easy it is to play.
And he hands out postcards. One year, after Gene Simmons had stopped by the booth with his son and a film crew, we were all standing around stunned while Will trekked off down the aisle and handed some Barker postcards to Mr. Simmons. That's passion.
It was Will who took the time a year ago to drive to the Barker Headquarters in Central Oregon to help us conceive and, humbly, to star in, some YouTube videos. And it was all his original music.
This is the young man who was hanging back while his effusive cousin took the spotlight.
When you meet Will you get a sense that his passions are deep and that, in his life, they will lead his decisionmaking.
We are grateful that part of his passion is expressed through his playing a Barker.
It's likely that Cooper will indeed become an illustrator, and that he will be as good in his calling as Will is in his. It is a privilege to be present to watch them both.