This is the first week since Covid struck in which I have felt vaguely human again, which was just as well, because I needed to get back to some kind of work before too long. Happily, it was also the first week in considerably longer in which I felt like a composer again, a fact driven home mid-week when I sketched something, sat back and looked at it and thought “This is complete rubbish!” It was good to be back in the saddle.
The enforced quiet of those two weeks of Covid forced me to take some time off and do not very much at all, and towards the end of it I could feel that old desire to compose coming back again. It never truly went away, if I am honest – never does – but that excitement of sketching something new, of honing it into being, sometimes slides into the background in busy periods.
It is often inversely proportional to how well I think that I am writing and how easily things flow. If I am struggling then I certainly enjoy the whole process much less than I would otherwise do and can often ask myself what the point of it all is, but then I remind myself that the important thing is to get anything onto paper and then to refine from there or, as was the case often this week, erase it in a fit of pique and start again.
I went back to my books for a while, did some reading and studying, and then spent a very happy morning doodling away and getting some decent work done on the two latest pieces, the first a short choral work, the second a longer orchestral piece. The choral work has been through many false starts already, but this latest version, built anew from the ground up, is the first to have any kind of momentum.
With the orchestral work I have gone back to some of the things that I learned when writing the symphony, which included starting anywhere but the beginning. I now have some ideas which I believe to hold some potential, rhythmic, melodic and harmonic, and even have some kind of form and sound world coming into being, all of which serves to remind me that I used to be able to do this and can therefore probably do it again, also that on a good day the progress made acts as inspiration to keep going, which ultimately is what it is all about.