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Stepping off the Treadmill…

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Despite having left full-time work in academia in 2009, I still experience September as a moment for fresh starts. And this year I have come back from my summer holiday to find the surprising thought that I would like to relinquish the discipline I have maintained for nearly 13 years of publishing a blog post every four or five days.

There are a number of interrelated reasons for this, all to do with how this blog interacts with my lived experience.

It has always been the place where I process discoveries, and clarify to myself what I have learned from my various musical adventures. And I am at a moment when I suddenly find I’m not having the intensity of new experiences to generate the regular need to write. Whilst I am – thankfully! – now getting regular opportunities for in-person musicking with my own chorus, the other groups I'd normally work with as a visiting coach are mostly likewise at the point of restarting live rehearsing, so they’re neither quite yet ready for in-person coaching nor wanting to spend time with me on zoom.

I’m still finding ways to make myself useful as an arranger, as a mentor, as an educator, I’m happy to say, though one of the by-products of depth of expertise in these areas is that I’m more often drawing on prior knowledge and experience in these interactions than having to create new understandings in real time. A number of times in recent months I have started writing a blog post only to realise I am rediscovering something I wrote about a few years ago rather than generating a genuinely new (to me) idea. Useful to note in my Thinking Book, but no need to publish repeats.

And as my part of the world is sort of re-opening, I find myself eager for experiences that take me away from my computer. Obviously I enjoy writing, or I wouldn’t have been doing this all these years, but I’ve spent far more time than is healthy in the last 18 months living through that small shiny screen. I have lists of potential writing projects that I could take this moment to develop, but I find I’m more interested right now in hands-on, in-person modes of creative engagement.

The writing projects can wait – if we’re back in lockdown by Christmas I’ll need something to do then…

So, I’m expecting this to become an intermittent, as-and-when kind of blog for the time being. When I need to do some processing, or have some news to share, I’ll pop up and add a post, but I won’t be cranking out the 5-6 per month that has been my norm over the years. I’m reasonably confident I’ll remember how to write when I feel the need to come back to it, but if I find I’m woefully out of practice, that will itself be interesting to discover.

I’m sure you’ll be as grateful for the break as I am – after all you too have had far too much screentime over the pandemic. Wishing you all the best in the seeking-out of such new experiences that are safe and feasible in your part of the world at this stage in the pandemic. See you anon.

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