The Mark Hastings Experience – The Inspiration Mixtape: Episode #3

‘Me and My Ukulele’ by Mark Hastings

There are times when I am in my room, thinking about what I am going to write about next, when I just reach for the hand-built DIY ukulele that I bought and I put together piece by piece, and just start strumming and creating whatever music I am inspired to play. It’s so invigorating! It’s so captivating! I never thought that I would get so attached to a musical instrument, but from the moment I built my ukulele, and I started plucking away at the strings, I began to feel this connection with it and with the music that I could produce… and I absolutely love playing my ukulele whenever I can, just for fun, just so that I can make some kind of music – music that I can feel on a subconscious level, and music that means something profound to me! 😊🤟🪕🎶🎵

My Poem “Vox”

Who knew that there were
so many people with a story
to tell and with a voice
able to express itself
so easily and so effectively?
Who knew that there were
so many people who had this drive
to want to let people into their life
when they do not need to?
Who knew that there were
so many people with a dream
to be able to reach as many
people as possible?
Who knew that there were
so many people who would want to
listen to other people talk about
what interests them and what inspires them?

I have always known that I liked
expressing the joy and the energy
that I felt within me
ever since I was a child,
and I have always known that
I enjoy past times like sitting and listening
to the music that is being played
and being broadcast on the normal
F.M. radio stations that people listen to,
that have “Disc Jockeys” on them
who people think they know
because they are used to listening to
their particular voice on a regular basis;
however, these days fewer people
listen to the radio than they used to –
unless they are driving down
a long stretch of highway
with nothing else to do.

So many people these days frequently listen
to music and to podcasts via streaming
services and apps that deliver content
to people all around the world,
simultaneously, over the internet…
these days there are even podcasts
and interviews recorded and shared
visually as well as vocally
which add a greater depth of expression
than can be enjoyed if something
is merely a disembodied voice;
however, there is still something amazing,
evoking, wonderful, and personal
about the experience of just listening
to someone’s voice and being told
a story in one of the fastest ways
to capture and process an idea:
by closing your eyes, by pressing play,
and by seemingly being taken away
to another place – like being entranced
into a dream state – by one of the most
powerful gifts that each of us
have at our disposal:
a one of a kind voice with which
we can articulate.

My Poem “Strum”

I am not exactly sure what
it was that overcame me,
but from the moment that
I first saw and I first heard
someone playing a ukulele
I was immediately entranced
and fascinated by this
stringed instrument,
that looks like a miniature guitar,
that naturally seems to have this
calming tone to it when a player
strums its cords that range G C E A…
I am not exact sure why
I was compelled to buy my D.I.Y.
ukulele from the bookstore I found it in –
so that I could leisurely learn
how to play an instrument of my own choosing?
To feel a wave of emotional connection
and a sense of fun when driving
my fingers over the four strings
that I physically tied
from the bridge to the pegs of the headstock?
I’m not sure, but that is exactly what happened:
because as soon as I began to innocently
move my fingers over the four strings
of the ukulele that I had to glue, screw, and attach all the separate
components of, I felt this instant
and emotionally charged feedback
from the sounds that I created,
and I felt a rush of instant creative inspiration.

There is something special about
making things with your own two hands…
there is something about having
a project in front of you
to put your heart and your mind to…
there is something about the visceral
connection that a lot of people feel
when they handle a piece of wood
that has been crafted into the vital
parts of an instrument…
there is something almost spiritual
about holding something
and feeling as if what you have
in your hands has its own identity,
its own story, its own voice, its own soul…
there is something wonderful about
finding something brand new
that you never could have imagined
that you would ever discover
that would give you the gift
of grasping something profound.

I have always been in awe
of those naturally gifted artists
who can pick up an instrument
and instinctually know how to play
something in such a way that they
can illicit an emotional response
from their audience and immediately
generate a continuum of connection
without even knowing that they are doing so…
I have always wanted to learn how
to play a musical instrument
and to be good enough to be able
to capture and to sustain someone’s,
anyone’s, attention, in a good way –
and hopefully not bore them to tears…
I have known some singers, some song-writers,
and some instrumentalists over my life,
and I have had many moments of feeling
this heartfelt bond with several voices,
sounds, songs – and when I write my own poetry
I attempt to write in such a way
that my words can be interpreted lyrically,
as if they were songs in and of themselves;
however, now I believe that I have found
something that I will use in the future
as an accompaniment to what I write,
and perhaps I will get inspiration for
the poetry that I will write to come
just by strumming upon the strings
of my new ukulele.