By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo
Those of you who know me from twitter may have figured out that my day job is actually a night job. A weekend night job. A job that has me working while the rest of the world is playing.
I play in a professional symphony orchestra, a job that I have held for over thirty (gulp!) years. It’s fun, it’s horrifyingly awful, there are moments of great beauty, and moments where you want to either 1) scratch someone’s eyes out, or 2) scratch your own eyes out. In my experience, this work has a larger helping of ups and downs than many other lines of work. But that’s not what I want to write about today. I want to write about an epiphany that I had last night during the concert.
This week was Beethoven, his Symphonies 6 and 7, to be precise. If you ever saw the original Fantasia you may remember the centaur scenes, which were set to Symphony 6. And here is the Finale of Symphony 7 (which is much more of a Baccanale than the Scherzo of Symphony 6, no matter what Disney thought!)
I was listening and waiting for my next entrance when something occurred to me: Here I was, sitting with 70 of my colleagues, playing one of the absolute masterpieces of Western Music, a piece that scandalized the audience at its first hearing, and continues to surprise and delight generation after generation of music lovers. But what if Beethoven had not believed in himself? What if he hadn’t shouldered his way through learning his craft? What if he had listened to his critics? What if he had succumbed to his deafness, which was profound by the time he wrote these two symphonies? What would the history of Western Music have been without this towering compositional Master?
In a word: unrecognizable to those of us lucky enough to have lived in this world, where Beethoven slaved over his compositions until every note was perfect. (Get a load of the pic!)
In the same manner, what is literature without Shakespeare?
Or Horror without Stephen King?
Or Forensic Murder Mystery without Patricia Cornwell?
(Or Fantasy Eocene Illicit Romance Among Great Big Lizards With Feathers without Julia Indigo…)
Yeah, right. But you get where I’m going? At any time, in any place, the people you idolize for their creativity, whether a Beethoven, or a Brahms, or a Shakespeare, could have called it quits… and the world would have become a colder and less friendly place in consequence.
Last night, as I waited for my next cue, I realized what being a writer means to me. It means standing on the shoulders of every human being who has ever put pen to paper, or brush to canvas, or chisel to marble, or sugar and butter and soft white flour to cookie sheet; standing among this mass of The Creatives, the humans who have striven against the odds of their times, to birth something that the world has never before seen.
I have found my tribe.