Growing up all you ever wanted was talent, to be big, to know you were somebody doing something important. Kids really do believe they can be anything.
You have to face up to reality though, life ain’t gonna put you on a stage. You have to want, kiddo, bigger than anything. Then, you have to beg.
“Mommy, can I take ballet lessons?”
“Mrs. Beard, I might take ballet lessons!”
“Uh-huh! My mom said she’ll see.”
A few years later…
“Mom, can I take viola lessons?”
“Now why do you want to do that?”
“Jenny isn’t taking lessons anymore and the teacher said I could take her place. It would be free and I can use her viola.”
“It’s too much noise. We live in an apartment.”
“No. Now drop it.”
If begging doesn’t work try something else.
You adore music, how it rushes in and yanks away at you, pummels your senses, throws you into some place you haven’t been for years and wrestles you to just shut up and listen already. You wanted that for yourself, begged for lessons, borrowed books from the library, listened deeply trying to pull out those few hidden secrets that would finally help you make sense of a sheet of music.
It never came.
So you thought this, you thought, some people learn music by ear, I could just start writing it down myself, to the tune in my head. Sure, that might work.
What happened instead was this.
Right here. This thing you’re writing now. This is the music in your head, the tune you can’t get out. Whatever happens in your life, this thing, this writing is what holds you together. You hate it. And you need it.
The first time you read out loud to a crowd of people…well, that was something, not at all what you expected. Not at all. But you’re pretty sure it was equal to what you would have experienced had you played your first concert piano solo.
You’re certain that night and the people lurking in that drafty, smoke-infested cafe and your shaking and stuttering are all going with you to the great nut house in the sky.
So whatever it is–whatever circles you spin around in, whatever goals you meet or fail at, whatever success you hype yourself up about–there’s always this at the end.
Read Lorrie Moore How to Become a Writer