Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ramble in the Age of Musical Invisibilia

I haven't made many posts recently. The workings of the world (and some of my favorite people who no longer live in it) slip by fast. Sometimes it is a struggle to find something real to hold on to.

It seems that any time I get an idea about something to post, it is either too personal (musically or otherwise), or I become too distracted, and forget what I was thinking about.

Here at the rural Illinois homestead, all is going swimmingly. The insane cold weather that dipped into our temperate world from the arctic has gone elsewhere, the sun is shining, and I even hear birds singing. Life in our house is a series of books, meals, walks, household projects, writing projects, practicing, watching movies, and watching our granddaughter grow day by day through FaceTime. It is very pleasant. I teach a very nice handful of students, rehearse and perform with a terrific pianist, and play chamber music (it's never enough). Orchestral life for me has been sleeping since the first week of December, and this season (so far) has had little in the way of stimulating orchestral repertoire.

When I spy the workings of the "outside" world through Facebook, I feel really removed. I suppose that musicians tend to use Facebook as a way to keep themselves in the world's eye. They have to, I guess. I see photo after photo of happy people having great success and playing in happy ensembles with their friends. Every time I see those photos I think about how much I wish I were "there," playing with my old friends. And they live everywhere else. At the same time.

But then I wouldn't be here, doing what I do, and living the good life where I am free to do as I please. And I really do like it here.

I love to work. I love to practice. I love to write music, and I hope that the music that I have written is useful. I hope that the music that I will continue to write will be useful. People say nice things, but it seems that unless I keep dangling music in front of people's faces or forcing it into their hands, the work that I do adds little to the swirling din that I glimpse through my Facebook app.

I don't have it in me to do more than make my catalog and my music available to people who are interested, and I get tired of the Facebook "bot" trying to get me to boost my posts (with money, of course) so that I can have my activities reach more people's phones, as they are scrolling through their feeds.

This personal funk will pass, but I fear that if I do not tickle and feed the cyber beast, whoever I am and whatever I do will grow more and more invisible.


ksh said...

Lovely. I understand completely. Thank you for the music and the words. Your work is more than useful. It's beautiful.

Elaine Fine said...

Thank you, Kevin.

Laura S. said...

An artist ought to frequently retreat from noise in order to fill her soul with silence and with the good or else lose her vision. This is a paraphrase and a personal interpretation of Maritain. I think a periodic distance from noise is healthy and will only improve your artistic output. Many thanks for writing this, I understand how you feel.

Anonymous said...

Emily Dickinson was not published in her lifetime. Somehow the work has made it through, hasn't it? So the answer remains, as ever, persevere. Feeling invisible is a subjective state of feeling, while your work -- all of it -- proves you are far from invisible, even if you don't always "tickle and feed the cyber beast." Persevere.