In Life - Debriefed, Random Neural Firings

I’ve been meaning to post something significant and life-changing (You know, like all my previous posts), but “significant and life-changing” takes time, and I’ve been busy.

But this morning, I am in one of those moments of forced stillness.  I am stuck for a couple of hours at the auto shop while my car is being serviced. So, I thought I might take advantage of the time and jot down a few thoughts.  These thoughts really are random neural firings(Gee, that’s a clever title for an E-Book. Somebody should write a bunch of thoughtful blog posts and collect them all under that name and offer it for a ridiculously affordable price.)

So, here goes —

Thought One: I am indeed in a moment of forced stillness. But those moments are increasingly rare these days, since every place you go has entertainment options to keep us endlessly busy.  And none of us ever leave the house any more without a smart phone, a device clearly designed to  insulate us from all the people surrounding us.  And as you can see, I’m not really being still.  I am writing. But this writing isn’t work. It’s more of a brain cleanse.

Thought Deux: Not all moments of forced stillness are equal. Ever been in a closed MRI? Now there is some true forced stillness. You are literally forbidden to move.  Not fun. Comparatively, a couple of hours in an auto shop’s spacious waiting room (complete with WiFi, of course) seems pretty exciting.

Thought Tres: Like I said, I’ve been busy. “Work busy” and “life busy.” I’m probably better at “work busy.” Is it weird that I am generally more comfortable at work than at life itself?

"One Voice" Cover Art

“One Voice” Cover Art

Thought D: For the past few months, I’ve been working six and seven days a week, creating music for a new version of another old musical: One Voice, a work created back in the mid-90s by Deborah Craig-Claar and me.  This involves writing new music for an old show, music which needs to sound like it was written for the original show. That’s an interesting challenge – to go back into one’s old work and try to re-create the sound, feel and musical atmosphere of songs written over 20 years ago.  This job also involves re-working the arrangements and orchestrations of several of the original songs in the show.  For the Obsessive Re-writer like me, this is fun but potentially dangerous ground.  It’s fun because I get a “do-over” and can improve my orchestrations with all I’ve learned in 20 years.  It’s dangerous because rewriting old material can be a Black Hole that sucks you in to be forever lost in the world of re-writes.

Thought Five: Depending on how one  chooses to look at it (and I usually choose wrong), life its own self these past months has either been a Growth Experience or a Pain in the Backside. (I’ll leave it to you to guess where I land most days.) But for all who have shown real concern for Cindy’s recovery and my caregiving skills (or lack thereof), we thank you. Sometimes it seems to us like the last six months has been nothing but an endless stream of doctor appointments, IVs, and visits to the pharmacy.  (You know something is wrong when every employee at the Publix Pharmacy knows you and your wife by name.) But Cindy is improving and for the first time in a long while, she is feeling more like herself and less like a patient. We appreciate everybody’s thoughts and prayers.

Thought After Five: I’m looking forward to seeing everybody next week in Atlanta, at the Composer Symposium hosted by Joseph Martin and Pine Lake Music.  This week is always a highlight in my year.

"Walking On Water" Cover Art

“Walking On Water” Cover Art

Last Thought: One of my favorite books is Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water – Reflections on Faith & Art. My copy is marked up and dog-eared from its many readings. I recommend this book to every Christian who would dare to explore their creativity, regardless the art form. Let me close these random neural firings (See what I did there?) with a quote from her marvelous book:

“‘The principal part of faith is patience,’
and this applies, too, to art of all disciplines.
We must work every day, whether we feel like it or not,
otherwise when it comes time to get out of the way and listen to the work,
we will not be able to heed it.” (p. 24)

Now there’s a not-so random neural firing that is worthy of focus during your next moment of forced stillness.

Showing 6 comments
  • Bruce Cokeroft
    Reply

    Thanks again, Roberto, for yet another stunning blog post. I’m going online now to order “Walking in Water.” I appreciate the recommendation, my friend.

    • rsterling
      Reply

      You won’t regret the time reading it. Promise.

  • stephanie büda
    Reply

    LOVE Walking on Water.

    It needs a re-read over here. Like, yesterday.

    • rsterling
      Reply

      Yeah – It’s one of those books I read at least once a year, probably. It’s also a book that I can randomly open to just about any spot and start reading, guaranteed to find a worthwhile sentence on the first page.

  • Patrick
    Reply

    I have a title suggestion for the sequel:

    Two Voice.

    • rsterling
      Reply

      Funny, Patrick. But it’s not so much a sequel as an expansion. The commissioning churches like the original show but it wasn’t long enough. But I’ll keep that in mind if we ever do a sequel!

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