There are still days when the music stops. No matter how much you did, have done, or are about to do, there are still days when your well runs dry. You worry what’s next. You claw at the corners and beg them to bring you inspiration. You swing your feet at the edge of the cliff and shake your fists to the sky. It matters not how hard you’ve worked, how many hurdles you’ve jumped, or how many brick walls you’ve broken with your bare hands. There are still days when the music stops.
It seems as though those days never quite go away. Or, maybe they do and I simply have not taken enough breaths in this life to know it just yet. But, for me, those days do not end. Maybe they subside. Maybe they hibernate. Maybe they shrink from a roar to a whisper. But, there are still days that leave me feeling small and inconsequential, sunken and incomplete. There are still days when I cry for some sort of sign that I am on the right path, only to be met with a deafening whir of white noise.
I used to hate those days. And, perhaps I shouldn’t write that in past tense because I still do. I still hate those days. They leave me feeling dazed and confused, empty and inadequate. Those days leave me rolling my eyes at hashtags and sucking my teeth at Twitter chats. Those are the days that send me a shiny invitation for a coffee date with my stunning self critic. She sits cockily on the other side of the table. She tells me I am foolish and takes a sip of her drink. She tells me I should suck it up and settle for the life I have. She tells me I want too much. I expect too much. She narrows her eyes and asks me, “Who are you to have the audacity to want such an extraordinary life?” She sips. I sip. We drink until there’s nothing left.
Last week I had one of those days when the music stopped. 6:06 p.m. One of my last hourlong bus rides before moving for an easier commute. A dreary sky for the greater balance of the day. A day when nostalgia made a home in my heart and nested there for the afternoon. A hollow pit where bursts of creativity lived only a few weeks prior. A clear inbox. No one asking me what size paintings they should bring to the showcase or how long their set could be. A buzz of elevator music humming inside my little effervescent heart, the same place where a soundtrack of inspiration played days before. Yes, last week I had one of those days when the music stopped. Last week I had one of those days when I wondered what on God’s green and gritty earth I’m doing with my life.
But, I still had these words. I still had all these things and all these thoughts–spilling ferociously from my heart and pleading for a page to call home. Because, somehow, even when the music stops, my love for the craft keeps dancing to its unbreakable two step. When the music stops, I learn to savor the quiet and soak up the rest. When the music stops, I’m reminded that the passion does not. The fervor does not. The rush from conceiving new ideas and bearing witness as they come to life does not ever leave my veins.
On the days when I wonder what I’m doing with my life, that life tells me to turn on Norah Jones’ “Sunrise.” That life tells me to pour a glass of wine. That life tells me to keep walking down this jagged and narrow sidewalk with my heart open and my head to the sky. On the days when I wonder what I’m doing with my life, that life has already offered the answer by way of the fire that flows through my fingertips.
So, when the music stops, I rise to the challenge of writing a new song.
Here’s to a new season. Here’s to a new song.