So yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on this blog, hasn’t it? Of course, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been practicing all this time. I have — profoundly, frenetically, exhaustingly, desperately, stubbornly, angrily, revealingly, understandingly, finally, productively…
I’ve been going through things, as you can see. Stages of that dumb process we all know under a benign name of “getting stuck”. I knew it was happening when I realised that I’m trying to extend my breakfast while involuntarily trying to postpone the beginning of the practice session — because I was facing the fear of not knowing what to begin with, also known as “hitting the wall” and — even more bitter-sounding “reaching plateau”.
I recognised that deserted, lifeless Martian valley the moment I arrived there. When I found myself sitting at the keyboard and playing the intricate left hand figure, repeating in all keys around the cycle of 4ths while trying to control the feeling of hopelessness the whole exercise was causing in me — I knew that was it. I got stuck. I hit the wall. I reached plateau. And today I am finally writing this post I’ve been planning for months while crawling across the desert, passing by the burned skeletons of the musicians who gave up, I was dragging my weak body like the main character of Jack London’s “Love of Life”, forcefully feeding myself with dissonant exotic scales and finger-twisting I. Philipp’s exercises that have zero music to them. I was advancing at the speed of one inch per hour towards the faraway hills behind which, I hoped, lay the ocean, and, feeble and exhausted, I finally got there. I emerged on the other end.
Luckily, during my desperate journey I kept a little diary, writing down things that helped me stay alive, and in the next series of posts I am going to share them with you. I cannot guarantee that they will save you from the Great Torpor when it arrives, but I’m hopeful they will help alleviate the pain and help you make your way through that desert plateau. I might probably also have used the trendy phrase “flatten the curve”, but it just doesn’t work in the context of plateau.