I should start doing the uppercase == major, lowercase == minor thing. One fewer keystroke.
But it’s really getting to me. It is just not coalescing in any way, shape, or form. I have started getting back to the Ginastera to prod that back into shape again and have begun yet another go at “Bethena” as well, just knocking the next level of rough edges off. I am this close to just relegating the stupid C#m thing to the compost bin, or shrugging and figuring that if it’s not going to go anywhere, I might as well just keep piling crap onto it. Just sort of release myself from any responsibility for the quality of the outcome. When I have enough crap, then I can start to massage it into a decent shape. Like the sculptor who chiseled away anything that didn’t look like an elephant, I will throw out whatever doesn’t smell too bad. If it ends up sucking, oh well, I kept plugging away at least. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said in her TED talk, let the record show that I showed up for my part of the work.
It just won’t assume a real shape, no matter how many times I try to turn it over and look at it a new way. When you write something you can generally tell where you are: I’m establishing the conflict here, setting up each of the characters, now I’m telling some backstory, now things are starting to get moving, oh there’s a big reveal there …
With this? It’s like flying in a fogbank. I have no coherent emotional story in it, and no sense of the large-scale structure of the thing, something I’ve been moaning about since I started working on it. It’s like a mouthful of farina. Yuck.
This is truly annoying. I suppose I’m just going to keep hammering because for good and for ill, I’m like that. But I’m not enjoying this stinking thing. I don’t even have a name for it, unless one counts “Lousy Goddamned Piece of Crap in C#m.”
I have learned my lesson painfully. I will never again go into a piece of music without at least a vague idea of what the overall structure is going to be. Ever.
Afterword: Gilbert’s not far off. I don’t take that metaphor; I have another. However I do recall, when I first started working with that little bit that became the main theme of the Fm, getting a bit psyched out because I felt it was too beautiful a fragment to come to a schlub like me who had zero experience at writing music, zero real experience anyhow. I knew it was good. I knew it was a wonderful fragment, and I didn’t think I could do it justice. I ended up just slugging away, and I think I turned out something that I’m pretty happy with. But it was hard to suddenly dig up this beautiful little thing and have it glittering up at me, expecting me to do something with it that would really do it justice. I just kept slugging at it. I need to keep doing that with this fucking thing.