A while back I heard someone say that they had worked hard on composing a piece of music they felt deeply about. It was submitted for publication in a collection but not accepted–and the individual made the comment that it had been a waste of time working on it.
That statement really caught my attention. A waste of time? I couldn’t disagree more!
I do understand the frustration of not having something accepted for publication when you’ve worked hard on it and feel that it would be a perfect fit. It’s happened to me. But that decision doesn’t mean that my composing (or writing) was a waste of time–not for me. Writing and composing have helped get me through some difficult times. They’ve allowed me to articulate feelings when other ways of expression have failed–feelings of both joy and sorrow.
Creativity is an integral part of who I am. I can no more think of not writing or composing than I could breathing. Granted, I haven’t particularly shared a lot of what I’ve written–at least, not to this point–but that doesn’t mean I’ve wasted my time. In a recent class, I wrote this:
I have been afraid of creativity. Not other people’s creativity, but my own. It’s been much easier for me to stand back and look at other people’s creative output through the eyes of an editor, trimming and working with the writer to make what they want to say more effective. That’s comfortable. I’m not the one putting myself “out there,” making myself vulnerable, and wondering whether people will understand me or accept me. But creativity is like a typical Jewish mother–she won’t let go. I’ve tried to ignore her or push her down, but she keeps popping up. I can’t not be creative! I find myself writing, even if I don’t allow anyone else to see it. I improvise pieces on the organ or keyboard during church, even if no one else knows they’re mine. I doodle quilt patterns, even if I never make them.
So I think that it’s time to give in. Maybe “giving in” is the wrong word choice. Perhaps it’s not so much “giving in” as allowing my creativity to fully surface–to realize that it’s an integral part of who I am, and to ignore it denies a significant part of me.
So…a waste of time? Not for me!