I’m not sure where to begin. I guess the best point is now, near the end. As I meander through the twilight of my life I wish I was better at dealing with coming to terms with my life and what I’ve done with it in relation to the potential I obviously squandered or (more accurately) failed to realise, I find myself trying desperately to make up for lost time — at least as an organist. I realise any ambitions I had as a conductor are virtually road kill. After all, I’m not an established conductor, and don’t have, at this late stage in my life, the résume to be able to prove myself.
So, I’ve returned to the instrument of my first love — the organ. I want to play a recital on the wonderful instrument upon which I’m blessed to have been given permission to practise. But, then I figure: who am I kidding? I think of all the music I used to play — 20-50 years ago and, even though my memory has managed to restore the five pieces I want to play, so what? The technical struggle (my manual technique was never all that great) and the memory slips make me wonder, am I up to this?
As I see it I have a good fifteen, maybe twenty, years left. At seventy years old I’m not going to become the next Virgil Fox or Leonard Bernstein (as I once dreamed); or even a moderately recognised composer – or recognised at all. So, what do I do? I would like to go back to composing; but, then I realise I’m completely wasting my time. Do you have any idea, ANY IDEA, how that affects the creative process? The very thought that you feel that you are completely wasting your time: that nobody, NOBODY will EVER get to experience the beauty of your creations, even long after you’re dead, might — just might have an affect on your desire to create; do ya think?
I’m tired. As I’ve said before, music is a very unforgiving mistress. If you haven’t sacrificed everything for her, she not only abandons you, she shuns you, by ensuring that anybody with whom you are not intimately connected (and even some that are) completely dismiss you and — worse — your work. I wish I had a dime for everybody (as tempting as it is I won’t name them) who gave me assurances that they loved my work and would do it and then disappeared.
So, I garden, I mow the lawn, I vacuum the pool, I drink Belgian beer, I cook dinner, I walk Blaze (one of the few true pleasures in my life. The best dog EVER), and I practise the organ (vainly, as mentioned above); but compose? Why? I keep telling myself I need to get back to that which, even before the organ and conducting, was what fate had determined I was supposed to do (I almost said God; but, like everything else I believed in, is obviously a fallacy). I figure with the few years I have left it’s not worth it to try and make up for lost time. Music, to whom I will always be her slave, will simply laugh at me at my naïvety.