But it’s not about the joy, it’s about the work, and there has to be some kind of joy in the work, some kind from among the many kinds, including the joy of hard truths told honestly. Carpenters don’t say, I’m just not feeling it today, or I don’t give a damn about this staircase and whether people fall through it; how you feel is something that you cannot take too seriously on your way to doing something, and doing something is a means of not being stuck in how you feel. That is, there’s a kind of introspection that’s wallowing and being stuck, and there’s a kind that gets beyond that into something more interesting and then maybe takes you out into the world or into the place where deepest interior and cosmological phenomena are at last talking to each other.
You really should read the whole thing, an inspiring and wise list of 10 tips from Rebecca Solnit on how to be a writer that I came across on Literary Hub. “Deepest interior and cosmological phenomena…talking to each other” is pretty much what I am hoping set in motion as an artist.
There are many books and essays on the practice of being a writer or on being a visual artist, but there is not as much out there specifically on being a composer, so those of us who push notes around have to find nourishment where we can. Among the places I’ve found support are books by David Bayles and Ted Orland, Anne LaMott, and Annie Dillard.