Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy Work

When thinking about how to begin this month’s blog posting, my first thought was to make excuses for the length of time since my last article. Of course, such hubris presupposes that there is some sort of pent-up demand for my thoughts online and much of the world’s unrest stems from the frustration felt worldwide by the lack of timely posted articles on Greek & Composing. Or it assumes that anyone noticed that it’s been over six weeks since the last posting. Or that anyone even reads this blog! On Planet Nick, I’m sure this is the case, but back on Planet Earth, I’m guessing not so much.

Yours truly performing at the
2011 Atlanta Greek Festival
So I then thought to whine and complain about my fall schedule and how incredibly hectic my life has been lately. It’s hard to imagine something more endearing than someone telling you how busy they are. As delightful a read that might have been, I refrained from going in that direction because I remembered one simple truth:

We’re all busy.

Sure, I’d like to think that I’m doing unique and amazing work and that by burning the candle proverbially at both ends I’m somehow a really important creative artist. However, there is probably a medical intern somewhere just now getting off a 24 hour shift at the hospital having participated in the saving of someone’s life along the way. There is also, most likely, an immigrant worker just now completing another day of backbreaking labor. In short, there are many people much busier than I could ever imagine.

Composer Alvin Singleton visiting a recent Composition
Seminar at Georgia State University
Also – I have no real cause for complaint. Most of the activities that have me feeling a bit overwhelmed are largely self-inflicted. No one put a gun to my head and compelled me to say “yes” to every project I have undertaken. I volunteered for this.

And what, exactly, am I complaining about? That I’m writing too much music? That too many outstanding performers are interested in what meager efforts I can muster for them to perform? Should I be upset that I’m performing too many Greek Festivals this fall? That I am somehow not being fairly compensated for these performances? Am I to be resentful that I have too many talented students? That these students challenge me to be a better teacher and composer or that I am able to teach them within the safety net of tenure in a university?

A few of the pieces I've completed this year...
At the end of the day, I must remember that all this composing, teaching and performing – while hectic at times – is a blessing. These activities – especially during peak times - teach me discipline, feed my creative spirit and strengthen me as an artist. Instead of bitter complaint, I need to simply be grateful and appreciative of this wonderful, busy, work.