100 Days – Day 30

Killing My Darlings

It’s a funny old thing, creativity. Sometimes you get swept up in an idea or a concept, sticking to it even though it’s clearly not working. I realised today (after writing what I think is a truly stunning bridge between section a and section b of ACC 5) that most of section a is not good. I had become so invested in this idea of the ‘1-3-1’ scale that I couldn’t see that I simply wasn’t able to make it work. I may be able to use that scale in future, but for what I’m writing, it’s just not suitable. So this afternoon, after a quick lunch and a phone call to Dominica, I scrapped the work of a week and a half and am starting again. I’m going to be using a rhythmic and melodic idea from ACC 3, which is the first movement I composed, and I think it’ll be a lot more coherent than it had been previously. I only have 3 lines of text to re-set, but I’m hoping 3rd time’s the charm.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. When I was writing The Falling Tear, I went through 2 different version, both of which I binned, before settling on the version you can hear on youtube. I actually sent the 1st version to Phillip, my supervisor, a couple of days before a supervision meeting, and then the 2nd version at 3 o clock on the morning of that supervision. He – quite rightly – said that I was in the right ball park, but was barking up the wrong goal post. He said the same about the 1st version of this that I sent him in October, and something similar about the 2nd version, only a sketch of which I sent him, last time I saw him in Aberdeen.

However, sometimes it’s good to get these things out of your system. It’s good to spend a while on something, get it semi-formed (or even fully-formed), so that you can haul it out into the light of day, see that it’s rife with inadequacies, almost unsalvageable, and bin it. There’s no chance of a niggling suspicion lurking at the back of your brain that maybe it would have worked if you’d stuck with it.

I stuck with it, and it didn’t work. So I’m binning it, and I’m moving on.