Music Is Fun!
When I was at VCCA, I had a conversation with a very fine writer, Randon Billings Noble, about our pasts as musicians and our presents as something other than musicians. Randon played violin, practiced 6-8 hours a day, and from our conversation I could tell she must have been a very good one, though she was modest about this. We both confessed that though we still play music, and at a level that some nonmusicians might find impressive, we don’t think of ourselves as musicians.
“I’m musical, but I’m not a musician,” Randon said. Neither of us thought of playing music as a hobby, though; so it was something more than an avocation, but not quite our vocation, either.
Last week I was catching up with one of my guitar students, L.C., also a very fine writer. We spoke about the frustration that comes with being a writer, the impossibility of setting down in words the ideas, characters, events, etc., that reside so perfectly in our heads. We talked about the drive to get the work out there, to have it published, read, and appreciated, and how when that doesn’t happen, we feel miserable. I mentioned that once I felt that way about music, but I didn’t anymore, even though I practice (play!) for an hour or so a day. And though I do “perform” for people, for friends and others, it is without the expectation that comes with a professional performance. Now I do because it’s fun.
Writing Is Fun?
And then cinematographer Andy Bowley emailed me a link to David Foster Wallace’s essay, The Nature of Fun, about perfection and imperfection and the “fun” of writing (or whatever it is one creates), how when we begin as writers, we do it for fun, to get ourselves off. And then we achieve or long for some kind of idea of success and writing becomes something we do to seduce other people, and it becomes less fun. And then, if we’re lucky, we realize this and return to it for that initial sense of fun, and then when we do write it becomes a deeper, more profound kind of fun because we have new knowledge.
Something is in the ether.
For a related post, read Why Do I Keep This in My Wallet?