Friday, July 27, 2007

Dueling Banjos

This morning I sent some personal tidbits to Chris Mandeville, the wonderful president of the Pikes Peak Writers. I am about to start my gig as editor of the NewsMagazine, following a really tough act in Ms. Pat Kennelly. Chris' dog, Ruh, does a regular article on different members of the group and it's my turn. So I sent Chris any weird little thing I could think of.

One of the items that sprang to mind was that I've been teaching myself how to play the banjo for about ten years. And I still won't play anywhere I think someone else might hear me. When I've been practicing (which isn't often these days), I'm actually pretty good. And I enjoy it. So why not stick with it?

A lot of flippant answers present themselves, but the honest answer is that I just don't have the passion necessary to set aside time every day. It's fun. It makes me feel good when it's working. But it's not that important to me.

Writing, on the other hand, can be frustrating and hard and a huge slog. It can also be wonderful. But in either case I can't walk away from it. I can't imagine my life without writing. Whether it goes anywhere or not. It is a passion. Even though it's scary, I do let other people see my writing. Not because it's any better than my banjo playing but because I need the feedback in order to improve.

Maybe one day I'll have the time to work on both. And then when I go to the coffee shop to write, I may be able to pick up some spare change playing a tune or two.


Jenny said...

Deb, I completely understand about banjo playing as a real hobby. I play the flute. When I was thirteen/fourteen, however, I was convinced that I was going to be a professional flutist. I played three or four hours a day--it was the first time I was exposed to such a creative outlet.

After that, I did theatre...which is much closer to writing, as far as expressing oneself goes. Most of the lessons I learned for my writing--strangely enough--come from the passion for the music and the training of the theatre.

Even now, if I'm stuck on writing, I'll pick up my flute (the new one Shane got me for Christmas) and try to learn something new. It helps.

Ali said...

Hi, my name is Ali, and I used to play the violin.

I'm entertained by the music/writing connection. Now I have to wonder how many other writers are also musicians. Hrm...

I can totally relate, though, to your comment about how, while you like it well enough, it's not your passion. I liked the violin well enough, and I was fairly good, but after high school (and the end of orchestra class) I dropped it. I have a much harder time imagining myself dropping writing. (Wow, lots of -ings there) Ditto that for beading. They've become part of my self-definition in a way the violin didn't.

-John said...

Back in the late nineties, I was a member of a boy band known as "The Gentle Giants". There were ten of us, all over six feet tall, and each played an instrument. Mine was the Kazoo. We toured the larger portion of half of Connecticut, and disbanded after two shows due to budget constraints. Yeah, and now I write too...weird.

Actually, I took piano as a young lad, and for the last sevenish years have unsuccessfully tried teaching myself the guitar, bass, drums, and relearning the keys. It's called creativity, and it manifests itself in all kinds of strange ways. I used to do ketchup drawings at the dorm dining hall in college, mainly to show off.