As a writer I seldom take a day off. I'm writing something. Aside from working on novels I also have a weekly column in our local paper as well as writing features. As I've mentioned before, the freelance is finally starting to roll so even when I'm not actually writing... I'm writing. To top it off, the nominees for the Texas Music Awards have been announced. I began spotlighting the nominees each year about three years ago.
That was my first step back into the music industry side of freelancing. Freelancing, for me, is the meat and potatoes (though it's not paying the bills just yet). Novel writing is my dessert. I love dessert. But have you ever heard the phrase 'dessert is stress spelled backwards'? I can't say my mood the last couple of weeks was stress, but I was ready for a break. I was just BUSY!
As I thought about the schedule I've begun to keep since last August, I had been emailing back and forth with a man I interviewed in December. I was aware of the schedule he keeps... twenty times heavier than anything I carry at the moment. And I had to wonder... did he ever hit burn out?
I've interviewed a lot of entertainers over the years. I've had to squeeze my time with them in among tour schedules, studio time, and numerous other projects. Yet the thought of them hitting 'burn out' never occurred to me. Until I became friends with Steven Byess. So I emailed Steven and asked.."How do you keep the schedule you keep without wishing the merry-go-round would just stop?"
The powerful simplicity of his answer brought me to tears.
The balm that most people can, and will, use to sooth their life stresses is the very thing that is the mode of my life: music. If I can have a life that is inundated with music, then I can manage the small stuff.
His statement exemplifies one of the many things we have in common. I know, to think I would have anything in common with an international music conductor was quizzical for me at first. Yet the more we talked, the more I realized how everything each of us does involves passion for our art. For Maestro Steven Byess it is music. For me, it is words. Words in any context, as long as I can play with them.
But it doesn't hurt to have his (or any music fitting my current project) playing in the background.
Now, when I think I can not fit one more thing into my schedule, I think of where Steven might be at the moment. Is he in New York? Is he rehearsing in Tupelo for a symphony? Is he speaking before the state legislature? What time does his flight land in Tulsa and how will he stay awake the two and half hour drive to his next destination? Then I realize my day is easy and I am on this crazy ride because I choose to be. Because it is not what I am, but WHO I am.
What are you most passionate about? Let it be the reason you get up every morning and tackle life. For without passion, is there anything to live for?