Play it again

I fight so hard to flesh out words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into a constructed whole. To take an idea, slippery inside my mind, and form it, shaping it into something solid and quite tangible in its own way. And then during the edits, rewriting it again, sometimes one more time with feeling. After all, like the song says, I’m saying it in my mind until I know that the words are right.

Hold on!
One more time with feeling
Try it again, breathing’s just a rhythm
Say it in your mind until you know that the words are right
This is why we fight

As the pianist takes a musical idea, a sense, an emotion, a reply, and pushes it forth into the notes of the music. Practicing it again and again… one more time with feeling. Performing it before a crowd of unseen faces…

Play it again… one more time with feeling.

As the songwriter crafts a melody out of scraps of notes. A song to steal the darkness away…

It can be ridiculously hard to come up with feeling, especially where it counts. Or does this absence of emotion occur because where there is evidence of feeling, there is failure of expression? If so, this failure is a sad excuse and proof of our inadequacy.

Then again, it is not always easy to pour your heart out freely. In fact, there are times when it really becomes quite hard. How can you go on when it feels as if there’s no moon in your sky? Those times are when breathing in and out is a sort of rhythm. Try it again, and again and again and again, even though the numbness is pervasive, threatening to steal the light away and the movement from your bones.

Live and survive, even though your scars are twisted. Play on, even though your piano is broken.

After a while, you can do that which is an impossibility — feel again, for there are too many who have yet to regain this.

By the writer and the musician and the poet and the artist’s own battles and eventual victories, we may in turn help others to feel, and come alive again.

This is why I fight.

Inspiration: One More Time With Feeling by Regina Spektor, from album Far

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

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36 thoughts on “Play it again

  1. Love this Abby!! I really enjoy your blog because your posts have such a cadence to them. I almost expect you to turn them into song πŸ™‚

    Emotion is one of those things that I have to strive really hard to achieve in my writing. It’s frustrating when I write a passage and someone comments, “need more emotion” because I thought I DID infuse emotion. But then I realize they are right and I was still holding back. It’s scary to let go of those feelings and cut loose on paper…but it can do amazing things when you do.

  2. “Live and survive, even though your scars are twisted. Play on, even though your piano is broken.

    After a while, you can do that which is an impossibility”

    When I read this, I was amazed to find you had accurately described both my self and my piano. And then I was amazed to find you had reminded me of the St. Francis quote (“Start by doing what is necessary…”), which has been haunting me for days like a cloud that hangs heavy but refuses to rain. And then I was amazed to find that in spite of the numbness in my heart today, I want to live, survive, and play my broken piano.

    Rain, rain, don’t go away…excellent post, Abby.

  3. thank you very much for your lovely comment! i was really pleased with my GCSE results as you can probably tell and i will definitely be taking the “you look like a fairy” comment as a compliment πŸ™‚
    x x x

  4. That was a truly beautiful and inspiring post. Evoking emotion is so incredibly difficult through any medium and it’s truly a great thing once someone has achieved this.

  5. Great thoughts here! It definitely can be hard to pour our heart out. It is like letting our guard down. Letting people in. Pushing our walls down that we have built up. But yet, it can be the most freeing thing to do.

  6. Hey πŸ™‚

    I think it’s shyness that causes me to continue to be an open-book as I am. When I feel I’m running out of creative ideas or different angles to come thur, I just pause, and find someone who’s speaking; my language. I never try crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”… I just write as I feel, precisely when it comes to me…because that’s when its fresh in your mind – that certain inspiration.

  7. I believe they call that writer’s block :). I have that, too! Being in academia, I need to write a lot. Sometimes I can sit on the sofa for hours, and only have written a paragraph or two!

  8. beautifully written- you’re a very talented. from what I’ve read your writing never lacks feeling. keep it up and i’ll keep reading- maybe you’ll even inspire me to write again.

  9. I have these thoughts too sometimes. Am I doing this right? Is my message going through or will I be misunderstood. But, it’s important to build our words in our mind before we express ourselves just to make sure we won’t end up hurting someone else. We all know words can cause a lot of pain and we have to be careful with this “weapon”. We have to protect our words too, because they represent our ideas, our thoughts. So, if you have something to say, say it with all your heart and make yourself heard. Even if some of us say it through music, through paintings or even silence.

  10. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! And how apt that you’ve illustrated this post with a Welsh dictionary, that’s where I was last weekend. Keep up the great words, hon, they’re an inspiration. xxx

  11. Emotions and passion stir great writing, I think that is why so many creative people are on the edge, the worst of times brings out the best in words. I’m one to write from joy.

  12. Beautiful song and sentiments.

    Process is so important to the artist (but I’m not sure it is for the audience–what do you think about that?)…I love hearing about other writers’ and artists’ processes. Not the why, but the how…

  13. I’m not a pianist or a writer even though I play the piano (VERY badly) and I write (possibly even more badly), but I’m a designer and I can say the process and the feelings are the same: sometimes torture, sometimes heaven.

  14. I wanna eat your blog, Abby, it’s so beautiful.
    You have a way with words..they ring out so true.
    Emotions are such an important part of art, but apparently, if you’re too close to something, it’s hard to produce art. You have to distance yourself from something immediate if you want to write about it..but art can’t be without heart. Ever. That won’t be art.

    Also, I adore Regina Spektor πŸ™‚

  15. Pingback: It started out as a feeling… | Loved from the Start

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