Ticket to write
January 30, 2014 § 3 Comments
I finished writing a song today. It popped into my head as I sat under a tree in one of Johannesburg’s city parks yesterday afternoon, ants gnawing at my legs. And it wasn’t even the song I’d planned to write – that one is still being evasive and resisting capture.
But I love the accidental song. It’s light-hearted, slightly silly, the kind of song I picture being sung in a musical comedy or perhaps a Disney cartoon. And when I sing it, I beam so broadly that I battle to enunciate my words, or I collapse into giggles halfway through a chorus. My friend says that’s joy. I think he may be right.
The sad thing, though, is that I know it’s never going to go much further than being posted on Soundcloud and a few shares on social media. That will be it: not because it’s a bad song, but because it’s slightly old-fashioned. It’s not the kind of song you’ll hear on the radio. It belongs to the 70s, maybe the 80s at a push.
And that’s something of a conundrum for me, because as much as I write for myself – from songs to blogposts and magazine features to the novel currently languishing on a slush pile somewhere – I confess I need the feedback of an audience. At heart I’m a performer, and the page is my stage. Without an audience, the work simply echoes through the auditorium, leaving a hollowness in its wake.
And the irony of it all is that for the first time in many years I’m beginning to believe in my ability as a writer of things. All kinds of things. Things I’d like to share. And yes, things I’d like to be recognised for writing.
So I’m standing behind the velvet curtain, pacing on the boards, just waiting for that buzz from the audience that tells me it’s almost time for the show to start.
What if nobody comes?