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Music: A Bit of an Explanation, Part Two

Back on November 1, I wrote of my now year-long hiatus from music performing, which was triggered by the end of the last open mic night where I was a regular. It has been a busy year, and it's not as if I had nothing better to do. But you will see at the end of that post I left a cliffhanger: "Except... that's not really the whole story, now, is it?"

I've spent the last three weeks trying to figure out what to say after such an intro. I still don't really know, and that's the problem. If I knew how to put it in words, I might be able to solve things. What's happened is, the amount of joy and satisfaction I've gotten out of playing music has diminished steadily over the last few years. I haven't figured out how to fix that, and it has simply felt better to not confront the issue so directly for a while. But I still haven't figured out what the exact problems are and how to fix them, so in a big way I'm still in the same position I was a year ago, or even five years ago.

I can point to several external things that I'm not all that pleased about. But they're things I could try to fix: I could ask for what I want or I could try something different. The fact that I haven't done either says more about me than about the external factors. For instance, I could have given feedback to the owner of the cafe mentioned prominently in the Nov. 1 post. Not that he would've changed anything, but he can't act on my unspoken suggestions. I could also have pursued other opportunities well before my limits were exceeded. I didn't do either.

It showed in the amount of rehearsal time I was putting in over the last few years. In a lot of weeks the guitar didn't get picked up except for open mic nights. Or I would try to rehearse, only to stop after 20 minutes, bored and more interested in a newspaper. The discipline hasn't been there, and it's hard to move forward without discipline. I know this, and yet the ability or desire to change it hasn't been there. Don't musicians like to play music even for just themselves? Don't songwriters write more than one song every two years or so?

There are bigger issues behind this, I suspect, personal sorts of things. I don't really want to get into them in LJ. (Yeah, great resolution to a cliffhanger, there.) The bottom line was, I just didn't want to keep doing what I was doing and getting less and less out of it. Even now, I'm still mostly at the stage where I wish I wanted to do more with music, but that's not the same as wanting to do more with music. I will not say that I have retired, because I don't really want to rule out some sort of reblooming later. I just don't see reblooming happening soon.

I'm pointedly not asking for help with this. The one answer I fear the most is "Well, you should do what you want to do." I don't know WHAT I want to do, that's the problem; and even if I did, that statement doesn't necessarily give one the courage or ability to do it. It's almost just a platitude. I know I have the good wishes of others, and I appreciate them. If only good wishes helped me figure things out and move forward, but unfortunately my brain doesn't really work that way.

So there ya go, a whole lot of words with a lot of vagueness. I wish the resolution of this was something easy and upliftinng, but if there is something easy and uplifting coming, it's taking its sweet time getting here.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
maxauburn
Nov. 22nd, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
I understand, for I have the same feelings
of ambivalence towards my writing and drawing abilities.

I used to derive a great deal of satisfaction from my creative abilities; but, alas, like Mick, "I can't get no satisfaction." anymore.

Sometimes when I write a particularly good chapter to a story I'm working on, or the rare
time when I draw, it does feel good, but the old feeling of "Hey! Look at what I just did!" seems to be gone forever.

No lecture here.. just -

*ULTRA-HUGS*
jjfmi
Nov. 23rd, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
Charlie, without spouting an opinion on what you should do, let me put forth an entirely selfish viewpoint:

I miss hearing your voice from a stage, and seeing the looks of "wow" on the faces of your audience as they listen. I miss hearing your friggin' brilliant guitar playing (and even miss envying the fact that your hands are big enough to fit around the neck sufficiently to play the low E string with your thumb, damn you. :-) )

I miss hearing you gently introduce a song like "Take The Picture" in your typical understated manner, and looking for my stash of Puffs by the time you finish. I miss singing harmony with your songs (onstage or off) - and hearing your voice do likewise on mine (onstage or off). I miss hearing you play mandolin - and learning a bit more about playing mine from watching you.

You're too damn good to be silent. And we'll all be at the point one day of not having a choice in the matter. Besides being a good friend, you're a musician whose works and talent I genuinely admire and respect - and I'm not alone in doing so. Whether or not it influences your future plans, I'm happy to remind you.

All that said, we all have situations in our lives to deal with. If making music isn't bringing you what you want out of it, then I completely understand you taking a break. You've had a lot on your plate this year. Hopefully, you have other outlets and interests to give you some relief from the stressful parts of life - take advantage of them. Enjoy them as you're able. If and when you're ready, there are all sorts of acoustic venues and open mic nights in the area (even some closer to your home than The Coffehouse That Shall Not Be Named). ;-) The music will be ready when you are.

Edited at 2011-11-23 03:32 am (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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