Sunday, April 10, 2011


The course of true love never did run smooth, according to Shakespeare, and neither did the course of musical collaboration.   Anytime you have to rely on someone other than yourself to get stuff done, whether that stuff be musical or logistical, you run into problems.  Of course, the glory of collaboration -and love- lies in that lean, that trading of weight.  To be at your most human, your most engaged and exposed, you must depend on others.

I currently have a project going.  We've divided up tasks tasks, and one of my fellow humans is struggling with hers.  She is overwhelmed, emotionally and otherwise; she has too many things on her plate; there is a lot going on in her life.  I understand this.  I sympathize.  But some part of me -a part I keep locked in her room with no supper- is screaming just do it.

For as long as I can remember, I've had too many things on my plate.   I juggled five or six extra-curriculars in high school.  I triple majored in college.  I maintain two legitimate careers and a couple of hobbies.  Many days are 12 hour days.  I'm no stranger to procrastination, but if I need to get something done, I force myself to make time.

Yet, I'm surrounded by people who don't.  I have family members who say, "I didn't have time to exercise!" when I know for a fact they they spent the previous weekend watching YouTube videos of kittens dangling from trees.   "I couldn't possibly have gotten to it," says the coworker who wastes hours shopping online. "I didn't have time to pay that bill," says my husband.  How about the hour you spent watching Battlestar Galactica, hmmm? Just do it!

Just do it!

It's my friend K, calling to me over the noise of the river.  We''re down in the floodplain, trying to make our way from the scrubby woods to the water's lip.  The sky is still swollen with the last of the  rain; K, moving confidently, has already leapt from rock to rock to navigate across a johnny-come-lately of a stream that has sprung up as the water rose.  I look from her to my feet to the water to the rock, friend to feet to water to rock and back.  It would be so easy.

Nope.  I shake my head.

Just do it!  It's not very far.  You can do it.  Come on.  Just do it.

It was pie, for her.  Something sweet and well-made.  Easy, says my mind.  But my body's in revolt.  There's sweat on my palms, bile in my throat.  No no no no no.  I turn my back on my brave friend, on all my brave friends, on my husband who's sure everything will turn out fine, my mother who changed careers, my coworker who answers every question with compassion, my collaborator who never settles for less than her dreams.   I turn my back and I head to the tree line.  The air stills; the sound of the river fades.  It'll take a little time for my friend to sigh, flit back across the rocks, follow me up the rise.  

We're all just doing what we can.

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