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Spontaneity breeds truth - Greg Gelpi

There's a certain honesty in spontaneity.

Converging in front of my apartment complex in an impromptu going away party/garage sale/concert, my roommate, a singer/songwriter performed some of his songs, peddled some of his belongings and brought together neighbors.

Truth often lingers about and pops up like the jack-in-the-box ? when least expected. My neighbor invited a neighbor, although a stranger to us, to accompany his guitar playing and to show his freestyle rapping abilities.

"Cause I'm doin' what I wanna," the guy spoke off the top of his head and from the depths of his being.

Freestyling and gathering momentum with each line, no bars will cage him, nothing will lock him up, he said. The years of violence and hate are gone. He just wants to raise his son and do what he wanna.

Staying within the rules of poetry and keeping with the rhythm and rhyme, "Red" rattled off the thoughts in his head, more of a confession and declaration than the rehearsed and over-rehearsed lines of formalized songs.

The words poured from his mouth, no veiled messages or hidden agendas. The truth in his words apparent by the emotion in his face and the speed by which they welled up from within him.

The more than surreal scene sparked a memory from a few years ago. No, I wasn't a freestyle rapper in a past life, but I did experience the honesty of rapid no-time-to-think speaking.

Driving a van full of crew team members from my alma mater to a regatta, the rowers decided to play "Get to know Greg."

Amidst a rapid succession of questions, I fired back a rapid succession of answers.

My eyes locked on the road, the little mechanism in my brain that filters information went away for a moment.

From my favorite color to my views on abortion, the rowers asked an assortment of questions without allowing a pause for thought or reflection.

And then one asked, "What do you want to be?"

The word zipped past my lips before I could wrap my mind around the question or begin to digest my answer before spitting it out.

"Happy," I responded.

Obviously, in hindsight, she asked the question expecting to hear an answer such as doctor or lawyer or something of the sort. She wanted to know what career I had chosen to pursue in my life, but instead I provided the mindset and condition I wanted to pursue.

Painstakingly crafting every word of a speech or an answer reveals a certain truth, but the unfiltered and uninhibited free flow of thoughts and words provides a truth of a higher caliber and of a higher quality.

Give me the music of a singer/songwriter any day, but I must admit a newfound respect for improvisational and freestyle rap. There's something to be said about raw emotion, raw words, yet to be mulled over completely, yet to be filtered and processed.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.