The Impositions of Art

A print of this hung over my piano in childhood,
and now it's on the wall above our synth.
"Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still."
~Henry David Thoreau

Shamed as I am to admit it, I'm cutting corners on today's blogalectic post, partly to hand the question-asking reins back to Masha, and partly because I've got too much else on my mind.

Art is a demanding master. This week, it has given me an undisclosed but very small number of days to arrange Schubert's Ave Maria for two voices, a capella, but also to be prepared to sing it with accompaniment or to do the Bach/Gounod version instead (or to simply say sorry, I can't depend on my voice for that F sharp right now).

In related news, Art would like to know what exactly I hope to accomplish by playing the piano and how much time I can justify devoting to that when I have so many writing goals. Meanwhile, it claims—hypocritically—that piano practice must occur every single day for at least one hour, and it would prefer three.

Along the writing line, Art has ordered me to finish reworking my first novel, preferably by last Friday. "After all," it says, "you have two novels in edits, and two more you know you'll feel guilty over if you haven't mostly drafted them by the end of this year."

Art has also required a not-wholly-unexpected but still difficult sacrifice: a month of vocal rest, officially starting after that Ave Maria is out of the way, though all unnecessary speaking and singing stops now.

And we won't even get started on what Art wants of me regarding yard and garden work.

None of this has much to do with the blogalectic. Regarding that, Masha gave very straightforward answers to my questions from last week, and Mr. Pond went to the opposite extreme by invoking Thoreau. I don't particularly disagree with either, though I'm not convinced the questions are entirely answerable on the deepest levels. Who can say with full confidence that they always chose wisely in prioritizing art's demands over society's, or vice versa?

There's nothing like Art for making me feel that life is too short—the days too abbreviated to both accomplish goals and satisfy the surrounding human needs, even your own. Why, for instance, must a quarter to a third of the day belong to sleep? There are so many other things I could do with those hours.

Here it's noon, and I'm still blogging. I'm off. I'll look forward to Masha's post this week, and return to the blogalectic next Monday.

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