Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Musical Interlude

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.


Jon M said...

I think it'd be a shame to stop the music. Surely the two pursuits compliment each other. It's time that is the enemy! Stop sleeping! Give up the day job...hmmm...maybe not!

Mike Wood said...

You're right - I couldn't give up the music, I just like to moan about it. Multi-tasking is the key - I even took my notebook into the pit with me. It's probably pushing it, though, if I try and fire-up the laptop during the 64 bar rests.