Friday, July 3, 2009


One of the things you learn very quickly when you have MS is that you only have so much energy; best you should spend it on things that matter.

I used to write music. A lot of it. And, if I do say so myself, pretty good stuff.

I still can. But somehow, I don't.

I was at an orchestration conference earlier this year, and I was struck by a very clear rushing realization that this was where I belonged: making music.

I like to think that I still can. But somehow, I don't.

A quote from Babylon 5: "Working. Yes, I can see... the geometries that circumscribe your waking life, drawn narrower and narrower until nothing fits inside them anymore."

There are certain things we have to do to provide what the Buddhists call the Four Necessities: Food, clothing, shelter, medicine. But there are also things we have to do to be fully alive.

And I seem to be spending an awful lot of time and energy, neither of which I can ever get back again, on what my herbalist calls "Send the monkey up the tree."

Just what the hell to I have to do in order to do the things that I have to do? Not just to function, to exist, but to truly live?


Andy Chen said...

This post reminds me of the Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie The Bucket List. While I wouldn't call it a great movie (and Ebert hated it), one of the take-away lessons is that the key to happiness is to stop planning and to start doing.

That's obviously a lot easier said than done, but maybe the key to truly living is just to live -- or in your case, just to make music -- without considering the possible consequences that making process might have. There's something liberating about divorcing ideas about what you are making from the process of creation itself -- a luxury that we designers (and I'm sure most musicians) rarely get to experience.

Denver Refashionista said...

It's funny that Anne mentions the "bucket list" here because a few months back I was feeling a lot like you are feeling now and my husband talked to me about the bucket list. At the time, there was nothing on my list and it really got me down. Now my list is still very incomplete but when I wake up in the morning, I am charmed by the possibilities rather than overwhelmed by a vast tract of time I can't fill.

One thing that has helped me is letting go of a few of the tasks I felt I must always be doing. I used to clean and cook like a maniac in the summer. Now I make simple foods and only clean a little here and there. My house is much dirtier, but I'm much happier. Sometimes I write a small to do list but then I give myself time to complete the tasks. I am making enjoying myself a priority.

Set aside time to sit down and play music even if it is not your own. In time, I think you will find yourself writing again. As I said the other day, "don't worry if it is any good." In time you will write something you like. Also keep talking to other musicians and listening to music. I can relate to writer's block. Sometimes it lasts a long time but it will pass.