The title says it all.

Writing is work to me. It’s permanent by its very nature: you record your remarks and they remain, subject only to the viability of whatever medium they were recorded in. Because it’s permanent, it has to be done well–who wants to make something that sucks and lasts forever? Trying to make sure that something is done well is the very essence of work. Further, words are supposed to make a certain kind of sense–they are supposed to add up to a coherent statement. That takes forethought.

Agassiz Theatre, Cambridge, MA, photo T. Koloski
Agassiz Theatre, Cambridge, MA, photo T. Koloski; Is this play, or is it work?

Music is play to me. I approach music on the spur of the moment. I turn my gear on (or not), put the harp to my lips (or my hands to the keyboard) and make sounds. If I like the sounds, I keep making them. If I don’t, I try something else. I don’t feel committed to the product while the process is underway; I just enjoy the process and see what happens.

Music and writing fill very different roles in my life, starting with how I feel about the act itself. I wonder if I’ll ever feel the same freedom in writing that I feel when I play music. I wonder if writing can be play. Perhaps it will be if I reach the level of confidence in it that I have in my playing. But I can’t get away from the thought that a sentence is a literal commitment in a way that a melody can never be.