Dear everyone reading this:
I am currently writing this post from the trenches. That is, I am deep in the middle of a composition that I’m having a really hard time with.
I don’t communicate from the trenches very often. Sure, I have gotten better about sharing my struggles, but I tend to write about them in retrospect. After I have already finished the piece or “overcome” the hard thing. When I’ve supposedly reached a wise and better place from which to tell a neat story. You'll hear that I was once vulnerable but do not hear when I am still actively vulnerable.
Today, I feel scattered. I am overwhelmed. I have notes spread out in more places than I can count, and not enough time to collect, assess, notate, and curate them all in an organizationally rigorous fashion. I have digital notes (typed in Evernote), handwritten notes (in my Moleskin journal), audio snippets (on my Zoom recorder), more audio snippets (in Garage Band), handwritten music (on staff paper), a drawing of caterpillars climbing a tower (also in my journal), and one hellish-looking Sibelius project containing a multitude of independent ideas separated by empty measures. Furthermore, instead of reviewing, refining, and committing to my ideas, I feel a desperate urge to come up with just one more, for certainly my last idea will be the idea to end all ideas, and it will be so beautiful and perfect that I can scrap all of the previous nuggets and finally focus on this clear path, right?
For someone who thrives on structure, regularity, organization, knowing where everything exists and how to access it, this point in any given composition is a nightmare.
I don’t normally speak from the trenches, because whenever I am here, I am not sure how I will escape, if it will be graceful, even if my current ideas will survive the inevitable developments. I extol the virtues of “sharing one’s work” and “process over product” (hell, the name of my blog is Process Report), but these things are easier to contemplate than do.
But today, I will share this. The piece I’m writing is a duo for cello and violin, and it is inspired by an illustrated book called Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus. It is allegorical tale about two caterpillars that set forth on a journey to the top of a caterpillar pillar, unsure of what lies at the top. Thousands of other caterpillars concurrently pursue this journey, not a single one certain of the destination. Suffice to say, the tale has always been meaningful to me. But as I type these words at this very moment, I wonder if Hope for the Flowers will even make it to the final iteration of my composition. If it doesn't, will I look back on this naive blog entry and judge myself for changing my mind, feeling silly for having introduced the story so lovingly to you in the first place?
In the past, the answer certainly would have been yes, but with practice, I hope in the present and future, it will be no.