I am grateful for my block

I am extremely grateful for having been blocked.
This sounds really absurb, but hear me out:
If I hadn’t have become blocked, I don’t think I would have learnt some of the most important lessons that now are so utterly important to who I am as an artist. I think the idea of self-care wouldn’t have come into my mind so quickly for example.
Being blocked, I learned the real value of being passionate about my work. When you’re faced with a huge wall of resistance from yourself, then you can only do things in a way that intrinsically suits you. Not what you want to suit you, but what does. Everything else is just too hard to manage or bear.
Throwing these old habits out of the window are so important - stopping crossing yourself out, not worrying about re-working old material, not enjoying yourself, trying to write the next greatest album or novel or film or play.
It’s like I’ve had to coax my artist self-but with candy. And by God that’s the way to do it. When it’s all sweet, what’s not to love. I’m no longer eating ratatouille but Baklawa.
Philip Glass saved my life by the way. I no longer feel the need to think in “big thoughts”. It’s far too intimidating to think in terms of albums. I think that’s why I liked composing for theatre so much - you go to your director and you ask them what you want for individual scenes and they are damn specific (if perhaps abstract, at the same time). You’re not thinking about any big picture, just what you need to do in the moment. A bit like Zen Archery.
Philip Glass uses lots of little thoughts and lets them fall into place together. I love that - there’s no obligation to have a 100 piece orchestra or anything. Just a single musical idea repeated on a single instrument until something else comes along to augment or vary it. It’s great! It sounds boring to a Philip Glass virgin, but to me, he’s a messiah (if the more experiemental stuff is intimidating, go listen to his solo works for Piano, or he’s String Concertos - they’re in a much more familiar format so you’re less distracted by “oh how experimental this is” and more able to just absorb it).
And I still haven’t finished much music. And I’ve only just started writing poems to a similar extent as I used to.
And the film isn’t shot.
The novel isn’t written.
The street performances, have been cast aside for another (sunnier) day.
But I don’t really care. Because I’m enjoying myself more, and I feel warmer inside. Because block is a state of being; and your whole life, is a work of art.

Not familiar with the work of Glass –

But I’m digging out my copy of Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery for a re-read to see if I can gain any new insights! :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing that perspective on blocks. Maybe I won’t panic so badly the next time one hits.

Go take a listen to him, definitely.

I won’t lie and say he’s uber-accessible; but then again, neither is a lot of Radiohead (another of my favourite music-artists). You will need to let it soak in gradually and THEN you start to love it.

Minimalism (the name given to Glass’s work and those influenced by him) is actually surprisingly common, even in popular circles. I mean, if you listen to a lot of Sigur Ros, for example, then there’s some definite comparisons to be made. Also, film music!

I’ve just realised I have heard some of his work, for the soundtrack of The Illusionist – it was beautifully atmospheric. Got the movie on dvd, but checking iTunes for it now,…

… yep, I’m a soundtrack junkie. :mrgreen:

.pitty your`re not a nibble junkie


There’s a fascinating Philip Glass website, named, oddly enough, philipglass.com

Neatest part of it may be the Glass Engine, which lets you play, and play with, his music. http://www.philipglass.com/music/glassengine.ph


…now that is wicked :smiling_imp:

Radish, if you’re a soundtrack junkie, then you got to check out http://www.streamingsoundtracks.com. The only music I have at work (my store). It’s absolutely brilliant.
And very nice to listen to while you’re writing…


Typically I’ve got Hermann, Elfman, Badelt, ‘n’ such playing in the background – when I’m not listening to classical, that is.

Thanks for the heads-up, Magnus!