Disclaimer: I tend to get really emotional and personal when I talk or write about music, so if that isn’t your thing, you should probably bail.
“There’s always a point, like when I’m all by myself composing…where I’m thinking, ‘is this anything? Is this idea gonna be interesting to anybody?’ You have this whole series of self-doubts. And then there comes a point that I get over the hump, like I add some instrument, or I play some melody and it’s like ‘oh, oh, oh, ok, that’s what this was meant to be!’”
– Marty O’Donnell, composer for the Halo series
Terrified. That is the only word I can use to describe my feelings as I set out to create something. Whether I’m going to write a blog post for the Octodad page, or write a piece of music for the main menu of the game, I am simply terrified as I try to start.
What is going to come out of me? Is it going to be anything worthwhile? Will anyone even like it? Am I even qualified to be doing this?
These are things I wonder and must move past in order to get anything done. There’s paint on the brush, but I’m unable to overcome that inertia to get myself going. And then I remember the reason I do create: No one else will ever make the thing if I don’t. The sounds that are in my mind and my heart will never see the light of day if I don’t codify them. It is terrifying to create because in doing so we show everyone a piece of ourselves that we have hidden. I have never been comfortable showing anyone my writing or my music because it is like I am letting them pry open my brain and root around in there.
I guess I should probably cover how I got to feeling the way I do about music before I go into too much more on this train of thought. I was raised a musician, I have been playing the flute since a young age. Music is always something I’ve enjoyed and had a knack for. I always wondered about it, though. Why has music existed for so long? Why is it something that has transcended the fall of civilizations, and why do people like it so much? How can someone devote his or her entire life to something that takes so much work?
I’ve never really had a deep attachment to it until recent years. I studied music (specifically, Sound Recording Technology) at Depaul University. Why did I choose to do so? Well, it was logical. I was good at music, so why not continue on in that for the rest of my life? Alright, sure. Well, it was at university that I finally developed the deep emotional connection to music that I feel now. I finally understood, through exploring so many different types of music, why it is such a wonderful thing. It is a beautiful expression of who we are. It allows us to see into the souls of those creating it. It is not this thing that we have on in the background at a party, or in the car, or wherever, it is what the people sound like. Music is what our thoughts and our beings speak. It wasn’t really until the last two years or so that music ever made me teary-eyed, until I was listening to a piece and got this incredible, indescribable feeling that consumed every fiber of my being, a feeling like I was connected to everyone by this piece of music, that I really understood why music has stood the test of time.
With the invention of the portable music device, music has been becoming intensely personal. The music on our ipods is something that we feel we have ownership of. Those songs belong to me! With this in mind, I set out to write music, that I do it for myself, to move myself. Everything I write is intensely personal. The only thing I have in mind when writing is to make make something sincere. On this note, people often ask me what type of music I listen to. My Response? Anything that moves me. Anything that is sincere. I am drawn to things that people have put their whole being into, things that they created out of love and were a part of them. I love it for the same reason that it makes me uncomfortable: that I can come to know something about another person that they couldn’t possibly have described to me in words. Something deep about their mind that is hidden, but is ever present in their own brand of music. The same can be said about every type of art, and I am drawn to other creations in the same manner, but none so deeply as music.
At this point of writing this post, I’m beginning to become uncomfortable with what I have said, but I know what I have said is sincere. I really hope that everyone has something in their life that brings them as much incredible joy as music does for me. I think I’m pretty much done rambling about this for now. This has probably wasted several minutes of your time and I’M NOT SORRY. DEAL WITH IT.