there is only the trying


I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve been staring at the piano. I am trying to clock my 40 hours each week, but I had to coax myself away from a performance review. I can become a person that has to tick all the boxes and get everything perfect. But the songs I create from that place are just shit, so I came away from the piano (even though it’s beautiful & new), looking for a reset and picked up Eliot’s Four Quartets again.

I was reminded that my sitting down every day is another attempt, a new beginning. But it has to be more than just staring at the piano, praying to the muses for a rhyme. I must wrangle my past, dust off some shabby words and begin the eternal task of saying the thing I’ll never really be able to say. Because every song, every hour clocked is “a different kind of failure” — it’s already been said. But, as Eliot says: “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

Excerpt from “East Coker” by T. S. Eliot - read the whole poem here 

“Wild Grape” by American artist ELLSWORTH KELLY (image)/ fascinating interview with him here where I felt echoes of Eliot and my thoughts on work & accomplishment

What do you think? How do you keep working when you like it’s all been done before? How do you reset?

2 Responses to there is only the trying

  1. i heard a ted talk by elizabeth gilbert about creativity (i think i posted it in the fall). her theory was – if we think of creativity as a muse entirely separate from ourselves, one that has to do just as much work as we, the vessel for the art, then we release that pressure on ourselves and she comes around more often. it was a good conversation!

    i think reading new and different styles of writing helps me. hearing a voice entirely different from my own can stir something new. talking to friends helps, too :)

    • alvaleigh says:

      i really need to listen to that TED talk. Claire has been pushing that one at me for ages AND i know you have mentioned it to me before too. i took a day off today – went to lunch and saw les mis. felt good to get out in the city and her some truly inspirational music! feeling very refreshed. will called it a “directed leisure day” ha!

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