Sunday, September 29, 2013

When writing is like playing the piano

When you are working on writing something it is a lot like working on playing the piano.

For one thing you are sitting by yourself hour after hour, working away and loving it.

Also there is this other thing.

I was just sketching out an intro to what I plan on being Leonard Pennario's discography. Pennario's discography is not like other discographies. It is like the Iliad! Luckily there is a world-renowned mega-scholar who has promised me assistance, otherwise I will tell you this, there would be no discography.

Anyway. I have something special to say in this one paragraph and I am rearranging it, looking at it, changing a sentence, looking at it again. I do this at work, too. Sometimes I actually step back and look at a story like a painting. When I am happy with what I see I might hold up my hands as if to say, OK.

Just now I was not quite happy. But I was happy with what I had sketched out.

So I said, out loud: "Something like that." And I moved on.

And I laugh when I think about that. I got that phrase from my piano lessons!

It did not happen often, me being the superb pianist that I am, but try to visualize this, that once in a while, as I worked away at music including the Ravel that Pennario is playing in today's link, there would be a passage giving me trouble. I would try it a few times but still not get it quite right. And my teacher, Stephen Manes, he would work with me a little, listening to me and offering advice as captured in this candid photograph.

Finally he would say, "Something like that." And we would move on.

Sometimes in life you have to do that, say "Something like that."

Let it percolate!

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