Monday Motivator: First We Fell in Love with Music

Words from friend of mine, singer-songwriter Micah Gilbert, posted this on his Facebook page, and reprinted here with his permission. For ‘music’, read ‘painting’.

First we fell in love with music.
All music.

Then the longing began.
How to make music.

How to put all those pieces together.
Something that resembles what we feel and need to express.

This part takes some doing.

We chip away at this part while we endure the naysayers and the criticisms.
The “that’s not for you” crowd. The “you can’t sing and you have no talent” crowd.
The “that’s for other people to do” crowd.

And still at our core we are desperate to make music.
Unarmed and desperate.
No turning back.

After year upon year of slow, arduous growth, something emerges that finally appears to appeal to some other people, even as we ourselves begin to feel like we’re “getting there”.

Fortunately, of course, the naysayers are never far away. Nipping at our heels. Just letting us know we’re one step away from complete failure.

This is more helpful than first imagined. It provides a certain “fuck them” springboard that propels us to the next phase.
The “I’m good and they have no idea what they’re talking about” phase.

This euphoria is, of course, extremely short-lived and followed by the tempered phase of “maybe they’re right”.
At this point alternative life paths are sometimes considered.
This overly long period is usually crushed by our woeful inadequacy at other occupations.

Then one day we realize that none of this matters, and our need to make music outweighs all other concerns.
This continues for a time we’ll call “The Forever”, which is visited often by self doubt and longing to do something else again.
Anything else.
Alas, this is not to be.

And we keep going until, one day, we start to believe in ourselves and realize that the creation is all that matters in the making of music. Or any artistic endeavour. As the songwriter Sam Phillips wryly observes in the song “Animals on Wheels”,

“Famous is fast
You don’t have to be talented or do good work or be smart
It’s perfect for me
But every time I go after it, my ideals run off with my heart”

By the time these ideas appear to us as the truths that they are, we become aware that the whole notion of art-as-a-business was a total distraction. We should have realized this by the number of times the concerns about our age and looks popped up in daily conversation. Helpful, perhaps, yet somewhat distracting.

If reading this you begin to see the writer as a bit thick and naïve, well spotted!

Along the way we meet others on similar journeys of self discovery and doubt. Hopeful creatures with longing in their eyes and courageous, unstoppable spirits. We will see some of these people in other phases and in different states of elation or distress. Mostly moving along as naively as ourselves, believing in some sort of hidden, external purpose.

Anyway, this leads, in a neatly circular way, back to the beginning.
After many years of struggle, pain, joy, love, madness, kindnesses, frustrations, disappointments and personal triumphs.
We know.

First we fell in love with music.
All music.

© Micah Gilbert 2022
Reprinted with permission.

If you enjoyed this, go discover Micah’s Latest Song: Color Wheel

Warm and cool primary colours

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