The Psychic Slate

A few days ago, I decided that my policy for this blog will be to post every other day.   Not every day, not twice a week, but every other day.   Somehow that frequency will ease my anxiety.

So this is today’s post (obviously), after which the next post will be on Wednesday, and the one after that on Friday.  I say this so that you’ll know what to expect.

I would have posted earlier but one of my anxieties had not yet been addressed, and it would unfortunately have kept me from posting.  That anxiety is the father’s anxiety concerning the welfare of his daughter, from whom he hadn’t heard for an uneasy period of time.  She did answer the phone just now, she does seem fine, and all it took was a brief phone conversation for my paternal anxiety to be assuaged.

So – now I can post.  As to what I shall post, I can only say that the psychological issues regarding anxieties, resentments, mania, frustrations, confusions and so forth have been predominant in my consciousness of late.   I might be able to create a blog post when hassled by these things, but I certainly can’t create a good Act 2, Scene 2.  Somehow, I feel as though my psychic slate needs to be cleared before I can proceed.

Case in point.  After I “finished” Act 2, Scene 1 on Thursday, I emailed the script to a friend of mine whose opinion I esteem.  I then remembered that people tend to look at the beginning and the end of something before deciding if it’s worth their time and energy to bother with it.  The ending sucked, but I was exhausted by the effort, and my own perfectionism was a deterrent, so I slapped it in place pretty sloppily and decided to move on.  Then, when I realized that she would probably look at the ending before reading much of what came before it, I couldn’t live with myself.

So, on Saturday, I sat in the same spot for six hours rewriting the lyrics to “Children of the Universe.”  Now, even if you know nothing whatsoever about Music, if you choose to indulge me with four minutes of your time and listen to this clip, I’m sure you will easily discern how difficult the process of creating all those lyrics could be.  Click here:

Children of the Universe

I wrote that piece about four years ago, wrote about half the words, and left it – knowing that one day I was going to have to finish the lyrics.   Due to the arduous nature of the task, I procrastinated.  But did I “let go?”  Of course not.   If I had, I’d have never come back to it — even though it took four years to get around to it.   I thought about it consistently.  I had to do it — I just kept stalling.

This time, I was through stalling.  I hammered it out until I truly was satisfied.  Then I let go.   But here’s my quandary: why do I not let go before I finish an arduous task?   Why did I have to sit in one spot for six hours without taking a break before I could reach any peace of mind about it?

It seems to me, now that I really stop to think about it, that the difficulty I have “letting go” of a task is psychologically akin to the difficulty I have in “letting go” of broken friendships, shattered hopes, and so forth.   I have a couple friends who haven’t talked with me for years now.  One of them even hung up on the phone the last time I called him, and I honestly can tell you that I have no idea why.  However, since then, he has not answered any emails or phone messages.  Try as I might to find out what I could have done to have deserved such disrespectful treatment, I will never know the answer unless he decides to tell me himself.  That was four years ago, and not one word has been spoken.  Therefore, I must “let go.”

Now, another person might more readily let go of such an unfortunate event.  Another person might just shrug his shoulders and say: “Who cares?”  Another person might let go of the entire friendship right of the bat, saying: “Well, I guess there goes that friendship!  Now – what’s for dinner, honey?”  To the point, another  person might have taken three or four breaks in the six hour period of time in which I insisted on not leaving my desk until the lyrics to Children of the Universe were complete.   But you know what?

Another person would not be about to finish the first musical in the history of American musical theatre that will depict classism in its most sordid form; and yet still engage, entertain, and even inspire the audience.  Another person would never have dared even begin trying to write a musical of such gargantuan scope, let alone finish it.  Another person would not have dreamed about writing Eden in Babylon. But I not only dreamed about writing it — I *am* writing it.

8 thoughts on “The Psychic Slate

  1. Hi Andy,

    I suppose you just had to get it sorted, your very soul needed to get it sorted, maybe it had plagued you for long enough, and as you say, there was no-one else to do it. I just listened to the piece, its uplifting and full of energy and I wouldn’t have a clue about lyrics. To be honest, I’ve often thought that writing music must be the most challenging of art forms, and for me, music has to be the highest art form of all in terms of impact, because it is so physical in nature.

    Just another point – I would never read the ending of something first, and anyone that did would be missing the journey and be unable to give real feedback. So i wouldnt worry about that issue.

    Yes, letting go…hard, isn’t it? I know that one! But yes, the right thing. Life’s too short, trite, but true.

    so long for now

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lynne –

    Thanks for stopping by – and especially for listening to the piece. It seems more difficult to get people to listen to music online than to read words, I guess because an extra couple “clicks” are involved. Plus, I suppose most of the music people put out isn’t very good, so people are loathe to investigate. With text, its display is placed directly before your eyes, so one can tell without as much effort whether it will interest them or not.

    I think that’s it, what you said. I had to get it “sorted” and it took a while. Also, of course, it’s not the only piece that I did this with. Writing music, for me, comes a lot faster than writing the lyrics. Sometimes I come up with music very quickly, in a matter of hours, and then take months to write the words.

    I’m glad you liked the piece. It does have a distinct energy. Also glad for what you said about my concern that she’d have looked at the beginning and ending first before deciding whether or not to read the whole thing. That was probably a totally irrational fear on my part – and like you said, if someone were to judge the work on that basis, they’d be missing the “journey” and thus their feedback would be pretty useless, if they even bothered. But, I suppose, if it motivated me to fix the lyrics finally, I guess my concern had a bright side.

    Then of course, about letting go. Life is indeed too short. I’d hate to be on my death bed still dwelling on some of the stuff I haven’t let go of. I think it probably relates to a perfectionism – wanting everything in life to be perfect – and it’s just not.

    So thanks again for stopping by. I really enjoy your writing on all aspects of the creative process. Yours is a very refreshing and thoroughly prepared blog.

    All for now –


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to how your concern for your daughter interferes with the muse. Same here. Like Lynne, I’d never read the end of something first. I think the journey is where all the beauty lies. Of course, the ending has to be brilliant, but art doesn’t start off that way. It’s an arduous process that takes time and sweat to shape the raw materials into something beautiful. If it didn’t, everyone would be doing it, right? Happy Creating :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for expressing that about our daughters. We have this agreement that she will call me every Sunday night, but the last two nights she’s skipped, and it had me especially concerned. But like I said, it only took a brief call one day later for me to discern that she’s all right.

    I’m beginning to understand that my fear that my friend would read the ending first and “judge” me was merely a reflection of my own awareness that I’d slopped the lyrics together haphazardly and that they needed careful adjustment. For me to have second-guessed what she’d really do when confronted with the script was, in a way, unfair to her. I’m sure she’s more professional than my paranoia.

    And you’ve hit the nail on the head. If the process of creating something beautiful from chaotic disarray were an easy thing, everybody would be doing it. I’m actually honored in a way that I’ve somehow been internally commissioned with such a great challenge.

    Very happy for your support, and that of other writers I’ve met on this site, as well as in my real-life Writer’s Guild. I’ve been isolated for so many years, I never dreamed I would actually be engaging with others of my ilk. It’s a true blessing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A great way, indeed. I feel you on the prospect for it taking me away from my Art, though. It’s sort of an art form in and of itself, which tends to arouse the same perfectionism that I often apply to my craft. This could take up horrendous amounts of time if I don’t watch out.

    Well – if I get a lot of readers, maybe they’ll all come on Opening Night and I’ll have a supportive “claque” in the audience. ;)


  6. You know what, reading how disrespectful people get at times,all I can say is that people are like that,nothing to wonder even if they are behaving in such a manner without any genuine reasons.However whether we want to feel anxious and create hurt about their way of treatment is definitely our choice.Mr.Pope,choose what will keep you happy and don’t worry about such people;they will certainly regret at some point of time.In hinduism,we are taught about the cycle of karma which keeps us at peace.Therefore I would like to remind you that whatever they are doing will come back to them in the very same form through some other person.They may or may not realize the reason then but since you and I know it,so we can be at peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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