I had a recent moment of revelation when watching the documentary, I Called Him Morgan, about jazz trumpeter and composer Lee Morgan. The moment occurred during an interview with composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Recounting his time with Morgan while in the studio for a series of quintessential recordings for Blue Note Records, Shorter describes their approach:
“We were recording, knowing that what we were making would last forever.”
Forever. That’s a long time.
I wondered, “Is there anything that I do right now that I believe will last forever?” I quickly realized that a few things have conspired to severely minimize the extent to which I approach things with the idea permanence. I remember it being different. I used to think about things that would last a long time. What changed? Consumerism? The impermanence of technology? A hi focus on process? Is this just part of growing older?
It might take a while for me to find the answer to that question. In the meantime I’m thankful for Wayne’s reminder. Thinking in the long term is thinking across the generations. It’s thinking about the effect of what your making. It will change the way you make things, and what you make. It already has for me.