In My Former Life

by Holland-Mark | December 18, 2009

Black and white photograph of a Neumann U87 mi...
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I used to write. I would write all kinds of words all the time; I even had a column in my college newspaper as EIC. Words didn’t bother me; putting myself out there was fine. And yet, here I am eight years later and the simple request by a coworker to blog about what I feel has left me paralyzed. What do I say? Does it have merit? Am I interesting? imperative? It’s a lot of pressure. Secretly, I’m schvitzing. Outwardly I say “Oh yeah… I’ll get to that. I’m just sort of…busy right now.”

For me, writing is a lot like singing. In both cases you’re putting yourself out there for everyone to see and criticize, and you have to take the praise and critique with equal weight. But although I’ve stopped writing I couldn’t stop singing. Much to my roommates’ and friends’ annoyance at times, I will sing the melodies in my head over and over and only quiet down when I sense my songs aren’t quite so enjoyable anymore for everyone else around me. Singing brings me the greatest joy of anything I do or have ever done. I’ve forgotten at least as much musical knowledge as I learned in school, but that doesn’t stop me from singing with a community choir filled with people of every age and ability. There’s just something about making music that transcends the differences between people. Even one sustained note in four part harmony with full orchestra behind us is enough to keep me coming back for more.

I realize that I need to take more risks like that in other parts of my life. If I can put myself out there and sing in front of hundreds of people with the chance I could totally screw up the entire performance with one misplaced note sung in a rest, I can start to write again. And maybe someday it won’t be my former life anymore; it’ll just be my life.

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