(A steep learning curve)
Wet winter months. Covid-created lock down. Needing fresh stimuli. Writing music is a sort-of nag.
But a good nag. Being ‘told’ to do something that you want to do, have enjoyed doing in the past. When all’s said and done, it is mainly willpower that’s lacking. Willpower and faith. Years ago I used to be able to create music that, even now, I’m not embarrassed about. But that was then …
Adjust expectations. Writing again will be a steep learning curve, but I don’t have to hurry up it.
Early days in the rehab ward. Talking to one of the consultants. I can’t remember the details. I think he asked me my interests, I said about writing music, he encouraged me.
Some weeks later. Home at last. I couldn’t concentrate on anything for any amount of time. Things slowly, ever so slowly improved. After – I don’t know – some time, for a coping system I used to try and work to a timetable of 15 minute segments. I still resort to it some times. Some structure is better than none. Some structure is useful, however bizarre it seems to the outsider.
And in those first few months back home I tried to write music again. I can remember very little about it.
I know I have two bluntly, abruptly unfinished pieces. I don’t know the working title of one of them; whether it even had one.
The other was called ‘Today Will Be OK.’ I wanted to be positive. I wanted to be positive to myself, for myself. In parallel I was trying to write it for my partner, who’d been positive throughout it all. A small ‘thank you’.
But I don’t know which of the pieces is the one that I’d named. I’ve a handwritten note about the idea, and I’ve a titled photo for it, but I have no tie-up between that and the recorded fragments of music. So it goes.
And then? And then I don’t know what happened. I can’t remember. Nor can my partner. I guess all the other changes, all the other new realities I was grappling with, came to the fore. Writing music was left behind.
And now? Now I’m trying to find a way back into music again.
Learning the tools, skills, mind-set – it’s all a little daunting.
As a way in, I’ve the two roughs. As I write, I’ve been dithering about what to do with them for a few weeks. So to prevent myself from stalling indefinitely I’ve put one aside.
The one I’ve picked up, I was surprised in that it isn’t as disjointed as I feared it would be. I think I can hear how tentative I was, hear the uncertainty. Perhaps the repetition is a happy, comforting confinement. But perhaps I felt trapped. I can’t remember. Determination was there too. I think I hear that.
For a next step, my working plan is to take the piece, unvarnished, as abandoned, and let anyone who wants to hear it do so.
And with that root established (for all its flaws), I then want to re-work it, and finish it. I think that’s the only viable approach, in that how I was feeling/thinking isn’t as I feel/think now. I’d be a fool if I thought I’d could recapture that past.
Different things stimulate me, interest me, challenge me now; my own terms of reference have changed in the light of how my brain has changed and is changing. (I know, I know: ‘my brain’ doesn’t and can’t exist as an entity independent of ‘me’.)
With a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance, I might end up with an aural document of sorts. A brain’s recovery, from when I stopped writing music to some future point in time. We’ll see.
Arguably … Even something as ostensibly simple as a person writing some music holds layers of complexity. For as much as a writer strives for an awareness of all their intentions, it’s always wise to know that there’s the unknown.