When preparing for a marathon, there are a few weeks in the middle of the training program when you hit the doldrums. The initial excitement of signing up for such a huge challenge is fading. The adrenaline of the final push to the race day is yet to come. You’re running on empty and it’s a slog. The thought of hitting the pavement, mile after mile, to come home sore and exhausted, has no appeal. But you do up the laces anyway, and go.
When learning a big piece of music, there is a series of rehearsals after the giddy novelty of sight-reading has worn off. During this time, it’s just hard music that doesn’t make sense. The notes are difficult, the rhythms are tricky, and despite careful counting, you still seem to miss the beats. When concentration is most essential, your head and ears feel stuffed with wool. The miraculous clarity that brings an ensemble together as the concert nears seems distant. But you pick up your instrument, set up the tuner or metronome, and practice anyway.
Today I’m showing up at the computer and with my notebooks to write a post. We’re just about at the end of January and it’s the time when New Year’s resolutions start to lose their grips on our good intentions. The shine is gone from the initial return to blogging and I’m not sure what to write this week. The stockpile of posts (of course I stockpiled posts over the long university holiday – I am a Mama, after all!) has dwindled and now I face my resolution to post something each week.
It’s a busy time. The term is back in full swing. Teaching is both demanding and rewarding. I’m doing loads for orchestra: in addition to being a string player and orchestra librarian, I’m writing programme notes for Candide and learning how launch email marketing campaigns (i.e. newsletters). The kids have projects, school, playdates with friends. My husband is busy with lectures, research, teaching, workshops and travel. It would be so easy to let this writing go.
But here’s the thing – I don’t want easy. I’m in it for the long run. This is where pacing comes in. This is where I’ve agreed to turn up each week, bringing along a handful of words and ideas to shift, to sculpt, to shape. Who knows if I am indolent or if much is being accomplished? I don’t. I’ll never know beforehand if wisdom may alight on my shoulder, or poetry whisper in my ears. And if either does, I won’t be able to trace its arrival back to a calendar day. Instead, I’ll trust. I’ll show up. Always open-hearted, sometimes empty-handed, and see what happens.