An Interview

April 22, 2010

I was listening to an interview with a pianist who was talking about the genius of Chopin’s creative process: “George Sand said Chopin would improvise a piece that would just be enchanting, and then spend the next six to eight weeks suffering the tortures of the damned to get it down on paper so that it┬ásounded just like it did when he made it up.” This made me smile in recognition, yet I needed to puzzle out what I could recognize of myself compared to the genius of Frederic Chopin. This is what I think that something was:

I’m noticing that life is improvisation. It’s trying, trying, trying, and trying again. Parenting, working, partnering, making things, interacting with the world — they’re all attempts, with varied results. I try to┬ánotice my better turns, my best moments, and to store them up. To collect them, connect them, and find the thread that sews them all together. Then I sit and try to write it all down. It feels like the “tortures of the damned” to capture it in writing, to create and realize that almost perfect experience of connectedness, and it’s not perfect, put perhaps it has moments of exquisiteness.

A nice thing… suffering the tortures of the damned to make an effortless looking recreation of “improvisation.”

2 Responses to “An Interview”

  1. I think my quilt of attempts would look like the sewing bee got drunk on hard liquor and sewed it to the parson’s ass. I have to resort to doing very small nice things in an OCD fashion and hope it adds up later on.


  2. Laura said

    I can’t tell you how many times I make up something in my head and then can’t recall it well enough to get it on paper…Ah ha! That’s where my novel is! Floating in the ether between improvisation and execution. I wondered where it went…

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