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Monday, March 12, 2012

Words and Music

It is strange how my passion for writing slips so easily between words and notes. I don't plan it, but when I feel like I am getting somewhere with either I walk away from one and pursue the other.

For the past month, I have spent most of my spare time composing. I have started in earnest on a new work but I can't talk about it yet. The concept of this large project has lit a fire under me, though. I have no time to write words.

It is the same when it is the other way around, too. Words excite me so much I wonder if I will ever compose another note.

I wonder if it is because my brain can't handle it. I don't mean how this relates to my tumor, but rather how I have felt my entire life. The card catalog of a memory I have, earmarking every day in a way I can zoom back and access just about any point in my life. When I compose or write, the notes or phrases get etched inside me so deeply I lose perspective. I feel physical pain—headaches—when it gets to be too much with the endless patterns of notes in my head never stopping.

I believe I use written words to stop the music's repetition, and I savor the refreshing quality of prose when I come back to it. Likewise (and to a lesser extent) I go back to composing music when sentences I have written reach the stage where they repeat and repeat thousands of times in my head.

Honestly, this is what it feels like. I delve deeply into something until I am almost crazy, then I take an escape hatch to a parallel world. It is the only way I can cope.


  1. Does your brain ever allow you to take leave of either one - I mean, both - for any amount of time? How does it feel when you do neither? Or, has that ever happened? Though our "passions" or, perhaps, compulsions are different, I tend to be the same way. When I remove myself, or my thoughts, from one thing, I soon find myself obsessed with another. It seems to be a circuit for me. Eventually I'll come back to each one and pick up where I left off. I'm never totally free of "something" though. Just weird I guess.

  2. Donna, I find it very difficult to recuse myself from any kind of perpetual behavior. I think, over time, I have learned how to channel it so I can put it to good use (composing, writing, attending monster truck rallies) but I can never make it stop. Honestly, I envy people who can just chill out. What a gift that would be. There is always that "tape loop" going, and as long as I put the right things on it I can envision large abstract ideas, like an entire piece of music not yet composed. But there is also always a breaking point where it becomes too much, and in these cases I need to "flush it out" and embrace all new things, words for music, music for words, etc..