The Tenor Book. During the last 14 years, this project has variously been my frustration, my focus or my inspiration. Sometimes all those at once. More than 100 interviews, 65,000+ miles of travel and hundreds of hours in, I’ve dealt with one derailment after another. ‘Life getting in the way’ I call it.
I don’t have the time; I have other responsibilities now. I’ve tried to abandon the book, telling myself its time has come and gone. Time to explore other creative work. The devil on one shoulder tempts me and urges, “Let go. Move on.”
Then I say, hold on a sec. I review the photographs, the interview transcripts, what I’ve written so far, and I get caught up in it all over again. The angel on the other shoulder reminds me that a long-term project must be fueled by the passion for the doing of it. Fire, passion, energy. At times it’s burning bright, other stretches, it cooks along on simmer. There’s no right or wrong, better or worse. This is the process, and you’ve got to love it or you’ll give up.
Outlines and structures have changed over the years. I have changed, too, so it will be different than first imagined. But that’s true of any book, any writing, any creative work where the artist is not just focused on finishing, but on exploring.
There’s also an element of needing to let it settle correctly into the context, to step back, to let the wine mature – and breathe. And that’s okay. Once more unto the breach from a favorite film version of a favorite play. . . see? it’s way too easy to get distracted!