My eleven year old daughter, who, not ten minutes ago, was riding a wave of euphoria while singing her new song, is now angry and in tears because that same song “is actually trash.” I’ve been writing (as a career) for twenty one years now, and I still do the same thing.
I’m more tolerant of the process than I used to be. I’ve learned to embrace (and even to enjoy) the fine opponent that my muse can be. I wrestle her into words and melody until, as an interior designer put it, my eyes don’t snag on a thing in the room.
But it’s never a given, the faith that it’s worthwhile. That the end result, and even the process itself, has any value. We write because we have to. Don’t we say that sometimes? In between our searches for real jobs? But we don’t really have to. We could spend our wakefulness on… And we certainly don’t have to try to craft anything transcendent or abiding.
My son gets it. He worked on that orca drawing until he was pleased, and then offered it to me saying, “Take three seconds, and enjoy.”
One time, after a concert, a man told me that my songs make him want to love his wife better. I wonder if I’d still be writing if people didn’t take the time to tell me things like that.
We should have a special bin for ‘testimonials,’ so that when we we’re tempted to despair, we can draw them out, and say, “but this…” What are some of yours?