Old Sketches

I have a blank book full of sketches lying around in a box somewhere (hazard of moving). But one tendency I am noting myself is a tendency to lose interest in old material. I find myself completely unmotivated to dig up the book and enter those micro-compositions into the collection of snippets for the piece I actually wrote them for in the first place. Furthermore, I am not even sure that they belong in the piece anymore.

It’s possible that it’s just a simple matter of being attracted to things that are shiny and new. Or, look! a monkey!

Or maybe something else is going on here. It’s possible that my process includes generating a tremendous amount of material that on some level I don’t think is quite good enough. Perhaps this is some analog of free writing. Maybe those old sketches were just ideas percolating and when I write new micro-compositions they will be subconsciously informed by the process and result in a better piece than would have resulted simply from keeping those old snippets in the mix.

Sometimes I have an idea that feels amazing through and through. I typically end up on a big composition binge that involves working non-stop. For instance, the last really solid piece of music I wrote really clicked. I worked for 3 days and my partner wandered through periodically and made me eat things and go to sleep.

But sometimes I feel ambivalent about execution. I really love the overall idea of this piece. I think it’s aesthetically solid and conceptually attractive and all that. But none of the components I’ve written really resonate with me. Perhaps this is why I won’t dig out the old sketches and add them to the pool. Maybe none of the sketches I write up and post on the blog will end up in the final piece. Maybe I’ll write the final piece in a big binge in a year or two when the idea finally coalesces. I am beginning to suspect that that is the case.

In the meantime, I really should write more little micro-compositions, whether or not I think they’ll be part of the final piece. Maybe they’ll move my brain towards the right spot and hasten the breakthrough.

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