It’s martini Monday again. Week 79? I just poured my usual two-olive-dirty-shaken-not-stirred martini in a pristine Waterford crystal glass. Half the appeal is holding the glass to be honest. The other half is just an excuse to eat a few Spanish olives.. the gin is really just for fun. People seem to have an issue whenever they find out I shake my martinis (as if they know better) that stirring somehow is so elitest. As if they could actually taste the difference if I put them up to a taste test. I have two reasons why I shake my martini: for one it gets the cocktail colder, and I love my martini chilly. Secondly, JAMES BOND shakes his martini. You think you know better than James Bond?? The iconic martini line in nearly every Bond film when ordering a martini is, “shaken, not stirred.” So unless you drive an Aston Martin and wear Tom Ford suits I really don’t care your preference on a martini.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this email other than the fact I had the sudden urge to type. I haven’t been able to compose for weeks now and I just honestly have no ideas. I don’t even think I’ve had an interesting thought in nearly a month. It’s a little scary. I have about 10 pieces finished, or nearing completion, but I have zero motivation to record or publish them. Maybe it’s the holiday season, I’m tired.
I have ambient music playing in the background. Ambient music is the “minimal” music of the modern era. It has this extraordinary ability to say absolutely nothing. I’ll listen 10 times to a piece and walk away remembering nothing. Completely detached. It’s nice for reading or writing because it allows me to do other things. Thats not possible with classical music, to put on Brahms or Rachmaninoff? It’s impossible to do anything other than listen to the music. It entrances my entire mind. There is so much depth to the music, so much thought to every note. I’ve tried many times, but while listening to classical music I can’t do anything else. Anything that requires thinking at least..
I wish I could write every day, but that would be dishonest. I mean, I could write notes every day, but they would’t but notes I really wanted to keep. I wrote another Habanera maybe a month ago, I think it’s quite nice actually. When I wrote it I actually thought it was even better than the first one. I was really excited to finish and record it, but when the day came I said, “what’s the point?” Like literally, whats the point. Does it really matter? I guess I face these questions every day, to do what pleases myself, or what pleases other people? It’s impossible to write music without keeping the listener in mind. Sometimes I already know their reaction before even sharing, which is maybe why I back away from publishing. I’ve already experienced the engagement in my mind. I know what happens, I’m past it now.
Theres a time and a season for everything. I love contrast, thats why I love living in New York. I love the bitter-cold winters, it allows you to fully enjoy the sunny-warm summers. The seasons help you experience the passing of time, I really can’t imagine living in a place like LA where every day is the same. That quite literally would feel like perpetual hell to me. Some obscure state of limbo. “Oh yes, what a wonderful memory, it was on that day that was, uh… SUNNY, like every single other day.'“ My God, thank you for the rain and clouds and snow and hail and sun and leaves and everything else that comes with living with seasons. Wearing winter coats not because it looks fun but because they actually serve a purpose.
Hmm.. that was nice. Maybe I’ll do this more often. Not the martini thing but the writing thing. Ok, well maybe the martini thing too. I guess it’s about contrast. I crave to write music but I have no ideas, so, I’ll write words. To clear space in my head so maybe music can exist again. It’s been getting cluttered.
Don’t force the process, inspiration is not created, it’s received. Patience is a superpower.
Eric Christian is an American composer and author.