You Can Never Tell

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash

All signs pointed to a disastrous performance for the community chorus I sing with at the rehearsal yesterday morning. The director stopped us mid-song several times, furious that we were still making mistakes she deemed unacceptable. “I’m right on the edge, people,” she told us. She wasn’t kidding.

Meantime, the accompanist wasn’t feeling well, and she and the director got into a major tiff. Over exactly what was unclear, but by lunchtime, whispered complaints circulated among the choral members, and I wondered if we were headed for a total meltdown at our concert.

And then the weirdest thing happened. We gave a solid afternoon performance at an assisted living facility, and everyone’s spirits, not to mention self-confidence, miraculously soared.

This also used to happen to me during my dancing days. Final dress rehearsals could be a nightmare, and then performances would go surprisingly well. I used to love the times when the lights would come up, the music would begin, and I would be off into that magical zone where lovely things happened onstage.

The thing is, you can never tell! I’ve found it’s that way for writing as well. There are days when I don’t feel well, and I’m sure I can’t accomplish any creative work, my form of “performing” now that I’m a writer. But when I drag myself to my desk and get started, somehow stuff comes out! And the strange thing is, when I look back, I can’t tell the difference between the work I drafted when I was eager to write, and when I was anything but.

Ultimately, it’s all a bit of a mystery to me. I have noticed, however, that showing up to consistently rehearse, or write, even when it’s the last thing I feel like doing, results in a much better chance of things going well.

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