One year ago this blog began, and I suppose, this must precipitate some reflection on the experience.
Jonathan Larson’s story-song, Why? (better known, perhaps, as Hey, What a Way To Spend the Day) climaxes with a vow to devote a life to musical theatre. I’ve long defined a good day as one filled with musical-related activities, and, in a way, this blog counts as one. For years, though, I kept a diary listing daily progress on getting my shows written and performed. The only point to it was to prove to myself that I’d inched forward, a bit, every day. The inherent tragicomedy was that many days would involve something laughably small, like the substitution of a single adverb for another. On this blog, new entries show up every five or six days. Though less than a thousand words, they take time to write, and even more time to come up with the pictures and their accompanying “Easter egg” videos. So, the past year has included much endeavor on this site.
But (if I were still keeping that diary), should the blog-work be counted as progress? What about accompanying a performance class? How should one define accomplishments? It’s tempting to categorize blogging as a waste of time, a distraction from the true calling of creating musicals. It’s also tempting to do just the opposite and say, well, although I didn’t do any writing or revising of my musical, I found a funny video for my blog and that’s something. Nettlesome are the ways we justify inaction.
The progress on a project is an obsession with me, and I’m perennially displeased by how it’s going. The blog becomes a scapegoat, a focal point for my anger at myself. “I’d have this show done by now if I wasn’t futzing around with that stupid blog!” But the reality of my time management issues has been pointed out to me thusly: long before the blog, a similar amount of time was consumed posting various musings on various musicals to various newsgroups. For good or ill, it’s a thing I do. Here on the blog, a year’s worth of thoughts are gathered in one place, illustrated with pictures, videos and audio.
The thing that’s preferable about newsgroups is that you’re entering into a conversation. Others, from all walks of life, will respond with their own opinions. There can be arguments. The good kind. But also the bad kind: my soberly-stated views on shows have engendered word wars in which strangers say all sorts of awful things about me. One obnoxious character reveled in spreading lies about me on well over 100 occasions. In a strange way, it felt like I was reliving my tweens, when bullies would beat me up every day after school. Got to adulthood, the internet gets invented, and I battled a bully ten years my senior, electronically. Plus ca change…
But the disappointing difference about blogging, at least so far, is that it’s not a dialogue; it’s a monologue. I pontificate about various things, and while there are occasional comments, this never feels like a conventional hall where various views are being expressed. Perhaps, when more people read and comment, this can become such a forum.
Another scenario is occurring frequently this autumn. If I’m diligently struggling to complete a massive project, it can be annoying to have to put it aside for a while just because it’s time for another post here. As it happens, nowadays I’m hurling notes on staves at a dizzying pace, orchestrating an old show of mine for an upcoming production. Doing this involves my MIDI keyboard, which doesn’t travel from my desk. So the blogging gets done in between rehearsal or classes. Seems like every waking moment is devoted to musical theatre.
Hey: What a way to spend the day.