I have taken to revisiting a lot of classical music that I got to know as a child but which I seldom listened to as an adult because familiarity bred something like contempt. No, contempt is too strong a word; it was more a case of heard that, know the notes, now, let’s move on. So, it’s been a lot of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. As an adult, you listen with different ears and I am again quite bowled over by the imagination and originality of pretty much everything Beethoven wrote and the magical lyricism of Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky’s final symphony (No 6, the Pathétique) has been described as a suicide note, but I read a letter from the great composer and this gives a totally opposing viewpoint. I stumbled across this which applies to writing as much as it does to music:
“The kernel of a new work usually appears suddenly, in the most unexpected fashion. If the soil is fertile, that is, if one is disposed to work, this kernel will sprout roots with irrepressible strength and speed, will break through the ground, will put forth branches, leaves, twigs, and, finally, blossoms. I cannot describe the creative process except by this analogy. The whole difficulty lies in getting that kernel to appear and making sure that it lands amid favorable conditions. All the rest looks after itself. It would be useless to try to put into words for you the boundless delight that seizes one when the main idea has come and when it begins to assume definite shape. You forget everything, you become a madman for all practical purpose, all your insides quiver and throb, you barely have time to make your sketches, one idea chases the heels of the last.
Only one thing is necessary, that the main idea and the general contours of all the individual parts must appear without being sought, but rather spontaneously, as a result of that supernatural, incomprehensible, and inexplicable force we call inspiration.”
For me, that spells out the creative process better than I could have ever described it.
Now, regular readers of this blog will know that I’m self-publishing and am finding it heavy going. That’s because I want to be a writer, not a marketing man. Writing is one thing but marketing is another and there is no link between the two; one is pleasure, the other is a pain. But if you self-publish, there is no one else to do it. The conventional Dickensian publishing route had many benefits but the main one is that the writers write, the publishers publish and the marketing people do the marketing. Heaven, if you can get there! For me, having established the uploads, website and blog, the starting point for the marketing is reviews…and I’m still waiting. Marketing. for me, is getting people who have never heard of me to download my book, but without reviews, it’s a non-starter. Enough griping.
I received a tweet from fellow writer Angela Kelman (http://gelakel.wordpress.com/) nominating me for a Liebster Award (see her blog) . I’d never heard of these but it appears to be a writer’s chain letter; ie, you get nominated as one out of eleven and nominate a further eleven writers who all have less than 200 followers. You ask them questions and so it goes on, via Twitter. Nice idea and I’ll give it some thought.