The writing has suffered for the last few weeks. I’ve been busy with music: two shows under two different MDs, each running for a week, and two band gigs with two different bands; it all gets in the way of the writing. I should stop. I should put the music on a shelf and concentrate on the writing. The trouble is I like music. I like doing shows. I’m not willing to specialise and sacrifice, we’re only here once so damn it, I want to do it all. It boils down to this: I like to perform; I like to show-off.
Music and writing are so similar and so different. They are like pieces of a jigsaw. When I write I can lose myself in another world, a world of my own creation. But there is no feedback (apart from weeks later when the rejection slips arrive). Even the odd story that’s been published, I think, okay the editor liked it, and there’s sometimes the odd review on the internet. But did people enjoy it, really? When I play music the feedback, the audience reaction is immediate – they either like what they hear… or not. Either way, you know the result straight away.
But then it’s gone.
When I play a solo that I’m particularly pleased with it is fleeting and immediately lost (unless it’s being recorded, and that’s rare.) I don’t even get to hear it myself; not properly; not in a put-my-feet-up, close-my-eyes and listen kind of way.
So writing fills that gap. It has permanence. Once it’s down on paper it is captured and can be wheeled out as often as I like. I can recycle a story; I can use the ideas to build a world that may grow for years. But I rarely get to know what people think of it. Even editors don’t let you know, at least not often. A printed rejection slip tells you only one thing, that they have decided not to take the story, for whatever reason, and that reason need not be because it was a crap story. Maybe that would be better. Maybe if the rejections said things like: Mr Wood, we have decided not to take your story because it was crap and you have a singular lack of talent – maybe it would save me a few bob on stamps and stationery. (But I hope that never happens because there is much comfort to be had in delusion.)
So two things, words and music, can co-exist; each getting in the way of the other; each complimenting the other. I can moan about the situation but I’m not going to change it.