Motivation Monday: Loving Imperfect Prose

I happen to believe that words can do just about anything. 

For 10 years, I was deep in the world of classical music. I played in symphonies and quartets, had gigs at weddings and Easter Sundays at the local Baptist church. I went to conservatory prep school at Mannes School of Music in New York City, then conservatory at Ithaca College in upstate New York.

The point of reading you my mini-resume isn’t to toot my own horn (har har har); it’s to illustrate just how serious I was about music, and leading the life of a musician. My instrument was (is?) the viola, and my goal was to play in the pit orchestra of a major Broadway production, like The Phantom of the Opera.

When I quit music my freshman year at Ithaca, it was as much a shock to me as to anybody. Maybe I’ll elaborate on it another time; for now, it’s enough to say that music wasn’t filling the deepest hole in my life, and I finally realized it, after a long practice session with only a 20-year-old Steinway for company. Writing, something I previously enjoyed but always put second place after my music studies, was calling.

But the rigor of the Ithaca College music program meant that I could not have two callings, and I quit music to become a writing major.

I knew I would miss music, and I told myself that whatever I missed, I could write about. Live music vicariously, through the words I’d make. After all, the sounds words make are just another kind of music.


I love language, and I love the failure of language. -Nate Lowman

But, and this is the point of this Motivation Monday (or Contemplation Monday?), can words really take the place of anything your life is missing? Am I still missing music? Are you replacing something in your life with words? Is it working?

Do you agree? Disagree? Neutral? What are you working on this week? Do you play an instrument?