Learn and build, play and break

I took piano lessons for a few years when I was a child.

I had always admired how pianists perform for others. I was very interested in playing the written music. But more specifically, the music pieces everyone can recognise. Another thing I found amazing was composing. Or even improvising on stage.

For the eight-year-old me, a piano playing girl who can not only play the famous notes, but also is able to telling stories with her own creativity, is perfection.

But my piano teacher disappointed me by saying that I would have to take one step at a time to get to where I wanted to go. He said I had to “learn the rules so well so that [I] can break them”.

“There are 88 keys on every full-sized piano. There are innumerable ways to make music from tapping on those keys. So many that you can’t even start. But you’ve got to start from somewhere! The lessons we have here is where you will start.

One step at a time. Build the basic blocks, the structure, the system; develop your taste; discover what you like and what you don’t like; maybe then you will be ready to break everything down. Maybe then you will be ready to create something from these 88 keys that is yours.

But today, your job is to practice the third piece from Czerny OP. 599. Let’s go.”

You can’t break and play unless you have done with learn and build.


Can distractions be helpful?

From birth on, my baby already had her traits: nice and quiet, patient, only using the sound of “crying” to “tell” us to check in with her needs.

She’s almost six months old now. Every day she’s become a little more like herself.

But there are still moments where something else takes over her. I can feel that she’s fighting that thing, whenever she’s tired, hungry, anxious, or scared. It’s like only one of them can be in front of the stage and she’s fighting for the right to stay.

What helps her at this moment is some kind of distraction.

If she shifts her focus on something else, away from her hunger, tiredness, or insecurity, she could stay.

Is distraction helpful to pull us out of our own obsessions too?

When we feel we are stuck, trapped, or swamped in something – “taken over by something” – can we use distraction to pull us out, too? In the end, our obsessions are just one aspect of our realities.

I’ll allow it (to take a pause)

We need discipline in our creative life. Sure. But sometimes we tend to forget that leaving space to breathe is vital to our creativity, too.

And the hardest thing is to allow ourselves to make that space.

To take a moment, and breathe.

Creating is too important for me to make it into something I hate. Allowing myself to have that space in my creative work is how I preserve my love. For this reason, I will allow it.

Who are you creating for?

When I was a child, my mother told me once that I have to play by the rules of the system, the world, so that I can stand out and, well, “get picked”. Only after getting picked, stepping up to a position in that system, that world, can I have the power to change the rules. Playing by the rules to eventually change the rules. That became my motto for a few years.

Until i found out how much I hated doing that. Pleasing the people who have the power to pick, to judge, to make decisions. What’s more, I noticed that I didn’t have to change the rules, the system, the world I’m trying to get in. Because the rules are changing by themselves, too.

And this topic – do we please the middle person or the person at the end of the line, the readers and viewers – is proof that the rules have changed. There’s still the way to get picked by The New Yorker; but it’s not the only way.

It’s not the only way. What a relief!

I am writing for “selfish” reasons in the first place. I am, like many others, creating because we want to please ourselves, to make our own worlds better, more interesting, shinier, with confetti maybe. But then we are looking for the most important souls out there whom we are desperately speaking to, reaching out for some echoes, some resonance, some sparks.

I can still try to get my article picked by some publishers, since it’s still easier and faster to reach more eyeballs through their platforms. But it’s important for me to know I don’t have to do it to reach others, the second most important person(s) in my creative life – my audience, readers, and viewers.

Who are you creating for?

There’s always something

There’s always something.

There’s always something that’s going to be on my mind which I will appoint as the thing that’s “pressuring me”. The reason why I can’t live in the present moment. The reason why I am not doing the thing I want to do but the thing I have to do.

I don’t know since when I started living the life from appointment to appointment. Deadline to deadline. Without knowing, I live by calendars and schedules. There’s always something coming up. If it’s not in the near future, like next week, it’s in the further future, like next year.

I’m tired of this.

What does it mean to be a professional?

You are a professional at doing it, because the stakes are high.

It’s not your hobby. Because you certainly can make money from your hobby, if you like. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on it; your quality of life — financial and/or mental — won’t change much if you don’t carry on with it.

It’s not private. Hobby is private.

Being professional means having a standard. It means you voluntarily put your work in front of others and say “this is my work. I have a standard.

I am on a professional level.

I have a principle.

I do what I like. This is what I like to do. But I also do it for others. And get recognised for it. And most of times, I get paid for it.

I don’t do it just for fun.

It’s not necessarily my profession.

But I’m a professional at it. I do my work when I don’t want to. Because I’m doing it also for others.

Because others need my work.

The stakes are high.”

Ass and heart

“Put your ass where your heart is.”

What do you see from this sentence? While some see the bravery to take a leap, others see actually doing the work to get you where you want to go.

I see the alignment of will and action.

All thinking, no doing. The curse of a generation.

We have been waiting for too long, waiting for the right time, the right space, the right tools and gadgets.

We have been fantasising for too long, about how we have already achieved our goals. The endorphin already rushed to our brains. What holds our motivation high to actually take the steps?

So the only thin we can do is to move our asses and put them to work.

Not just any work.

The work where our hearts are.

Know your stuff – the ground work for your creative MAGIC

To “know your stuff” means you will be able to combine your knowledge of everything you need and mix them up to create your own “originals”.

“Knowing something inside out”. You must have spent a considerable amount of time learning about the genre you are interested in.

A very large amount of input through a long period of time, accompanied with internalising the knowledge and skills, lead to the ability to make magic with them when the right topic shows itself.