Like Riding a Bike

“Great things are not something accidental, but most certainly be willed.”

- Vincent Van Gogh

The floor had barely dried from cleaning up the Resident Feline’s opinion on the matter of my returning to work, when an email popped onto the screen, a gentle nudge from a writer friend hinting that I should have titled the last blog post “Back to a Different Form of Work.” Of course, she’s right. I’m almost ashamed that I needed reminding.

Funny how the idea of a paycheque shapes the notion of “work”:

I get paid to sit in an orchestra and play music =  work.

I do not get paid to sit at my desk and make stuff up = … guess what?

It equals work.

While there was a certain amount of staring out the window and counting the dust elephants during my writing sabbatical, there was also a lot of writing going on, both on the page and off. It’s a very different sort of work from what I do while playing the viola in an orchestra, and I daresay writing full-time is in some ways much more difficult than playing the viola full-time. As a writer, you sit alone with a blank piece of paper in front of you and pluck things out of thin air to put on the page. As a musician, you’re given pages filled with notation that you follow, along with 36 other musicians. Neither is easy, but when done well, both are immensely rewarding.

I love doing both.

How lovely it was to sit in the middle of an orchestra again. It took me a few minutes to find my way back, in that at first, I could only hear myself and the orchestra as two separate things. And then I belonged again. Quite strange, but I was expecting strange after more than a year away from something I’ve been doing for most of my life.

At the end of the day, a colleague checked in with me to see how I’d managed my first day back.

“Like riding a bike,” I replied.

I packed away my viola and went home and scritched the cat.

 

Coming Event:

- Sunday, September 27, Word on the Street, Halifax: I’ll be playing and reading (string quartets at 11:00 and reading from Harbour View at 3:30, both on the Flavour of the Maritimes stage).

September 24, 2009

Like Riding a Bike

“Great things are not something accidental, but most certainly be willed.”

- Vincent Van Gogh

The floor had barely dried from cleaning up the Resident Feline’s opinion on the matter of my returning to work, when an email popped onto the screen, a gentle nudge from a writer friend hinting that I should have titled the last blog post “Back to a Different Form of Work.” Of course, she’s right. I’m almost ashamed that I needed reminding.

Funny how the idea of a paycheque shapes the notion of “work”:

I get paid to sit in an orchestra and play music =  work.

I do not get paid to sit at my desk and make stuff up = … guess what?

It equals work.

While there was a certain amount of staring out the window and counting the dust elephants during my writing sabbatical, there was also a lot of writing going on, both on the page and off. It’s a very different sort of work from what I do while playing the viola in an orchestra, and I daresay writing full-time is in some ways much more difficult than playing the viola full-time. As a writer, you sit alone with a blank piece of paper in front of you and pluck things out of thin air to put on the page. As a musician, you’re given pages filled with notation that you follow, along with 36 other musicians. Neither is easy, but when done well, both are immensely rewarding.

I love doing both.

How lovely it was to sit in the middle of an orchestra again. It took me a few minutes to find my way back, in that at first, I could only hear myself and the orchestra as two separate things. And then I belonged again. Quite strange, but I was expecting strange after more than a year away from something I’ve been doing for most of my life.

At the end of the day, a colleague checked in with me to see how I’d managed my first day back.

“Like riding a bike,” I replied.

I packed away my viola and went home and scritched the cat.

 

Coming Event:

- Sunday, September 27, Word on the Street, Halifax: I’ll be playing and reading (string quartets at 11:00 and reading from Harbour View at 3:30, both on the Flavour of the Maritimes stage).

Categories: General.