And one more thing...

There might be some personal nonsense in here, too...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin'...

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.

The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia.

My life is a monument to procrastination, to the art of putting things off until later, or much later, or possibly never.

There's tons of creative people in television that have one failure after another, and they just step up higher.  I could never get over that.  When I had a failure, there was no such thing as just getting over it.

Turning pro is a mindset.  If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we're thinking like amateurs.  Amateurs don't show up.  Amateurs crap out.  Amateurs let adversity defeat them.  The pro thinks differently.  He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin', no matter what.


Despite numerous promises to myself that putting aside the libretto would mean progress, freeing me to look at the music and get some concrete thoughts down on paper (yes, I said paper)... it didn't happen in the past (mumble) weeks.  And I don't mean that I tried yet made no progress.  I mean I didn't try.  Not really.  Sure, I had some things going on — work; several home improvement contractor projects; someone bought my car; a 2-week vacation in beautiful St. John's, greater Newfoundland, and St. Pierre; humanely trapping raccoons and groundhogs living under my deck; writing up some gaming material for my friends interested in playing an old-school superhero RPG — but there was no reason for the procrastination.  Rather, there was no emotionally healthy reason.  It's fear: fear of writing crap, and especially crap lacking context.
 I have the same failing when composing as I have when writing fiction: the editing and criticism begin as soon as the writing starts.  Most authors advise that one "just write", even if it's junk, and save the editing for later.  Get the thoughts out, let the creativity and inspiration flow unhindered, like a cool mountain stream or erupting volcano or the tears when your pet snake eats your pet hamster.  It seems like solid advice, but I've yet to master this approach.
 I know the Usher story backward and forward, and have a fair notion of Roderick's character and mental state in each scene.  I have a few thematic and timbral ideas I'd like to explore.  Yet I find myself hung up on the lack of text, as though sketching music without it will prove a waste of time because that eventual text won't fit with the music, and I'll have to scrap it all and start anew.  Not to mention the assumption that non-contextual music will suck.
 I don't know when this started.  In my youth I wrote with abandon, trashing more than was ever seen or heard by anyone else, and sometimes I deliberately let terrible, terrible music slip through just to meet a deadline.  Now the thought of throwing notes at a page to see what sticks makes me sick, and a little angry, and the thought of anyone hearing work that isn't my best and "perfect" is, well, unthinkable.
 Virtually every artist in every medium has created shyte, even when mature and experienced.  Sometimes that shyte even gets seen/heard/read and subsequently criticized and remembered.  Some of those artists shrug it off, others lament these "failures" for the rest of their lives.  I would fall into the latter camp.  Failure of virtually any sort feels like an indictment of my overall value as a person, a stain on my soul, especially when the medium is a creative one and/or one I care about.  Such failure comes in two stripes — the doing badly, and the not doing at all.  Of the two, the second is not only easier but less traumatic, as it only exposes itself to those who knew I was considering the project, and even then it allows the wriggle room to believe (or claim) that the results probably would've been awesome.

If it seems I post often about procrastination, fear, and failure, it's probably because I do, they're so central to my creative world.  Writing about it doesn't seem to induce change, nor does talking about it, nor keeping it to myself.  Hmm.

The good news is that yesterday I started up again.  Haltingly, minimally, but a few notes went to paper, of which several I find don't suck.  Today, a few more will be penciled in.  I still have other work, responsibilities, and projects on the plate, but damn if that ain't the most productive I've been on this since June.

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