Thoughts on being well
from Wednesday, May27th of the year2015.
I have been, it turns out, unwell for a long time. I didn’t really start realising how unwell I’d been until I suddenly — over the course of three months, got a little bit better. The long and short of it is that I’d had an ugly mental health episode about ten years ago, and got immediate treatment, but then, as a result of my own laziness, punishing travel schedule, and being convinced that I needed to see a shrink who takes my insurance, what had been an emergency solution to clinical manic depression became a permanent cocktail of medications, taken every day, for ten chemically-unexamined years.
Recently, I thought to myself, in a moment of rare clarity about my own life, that maybe I wasn’t feeling as great as I might. From 2009-2014, I wrote two operas, several orchestra pieces, a few film scores, tons of choral music, and a pile of chamber music. I was constantly busy, and all of my projects were great ones to have and all of my collaborators were stellar and it was all, on paper, going fine. Something a friend’s mother said to me kept haunting me, though — she’d come to the Met premiere of my opera Two Boys in 2013, and the opening night crowd was enthusiastic and was, as is the custom at such events, clapping enthusiastically as I took a bow. She said to me afterwards, “Wow! You must feel ten feet tall.” I said thank you and smiled but I couldn’t shake that comment from my head. I thought about it a few months ago and realised that no, I really didn’t. It wasn’t the opposite — I didn’t feel “small,” but I felt empty, or invisible. This physical manifestation of the work wasn’t something I’d made; it was something that was happening around me to which I was a passive and silent witness.
I tried, at that moment a few months ago, to sort out the difference between ‘pride in having made something’ and ‘feelings of happiness with a project’ and the dual senses of personal satisfaction, professional satisfaction and/or ‘achievement’ and realised that I didn’t have any way of teasing them apart, because they were foreign feelings; I hadn’t had them in years. All I had was a sense of gnawing anxiety, tempered, usually, by a feeling of displaced pride in other people having done the work for me — the conductor, the orchestra, the librettist, the stagehands, the wig-maker. I thought back on less complicated projects; one of the best things I’ve written, I think, is a song Old Bones for my friend Iestyn. I felt like I’d achieved, somehow, having made good something for him, which in turn makes him happy, but I couldn’t save anything for myself in that transaction. I’ve written for Nadia, and for Pekka, and I was ‘happy’ because I love writing for people I love, because it makes them shine, and even though I think the pieces are fine, the satisfaction, for me, is displaced.
Once I had that revelation, I didn’t panic, but I thought: have I really not been happy or satisfied during any of this work for over a decade? I thought, as an anxious extension, about my obsessive relationship to working and work and what it even means to work. It’s not that I’m “a workaholic,” it’s just that I don’t know any other way to engage with the world. My work — in which I include writing emails, cooking, thinking — is the only way I know how to engage with anybody or anything. You turn an interaction, any interaction, into a kind of project, and then do it the best you can. This is related, I think, to doing “the best you can” in general, but in a specific, focused way, in which each task is divided into a sequence of sub-tasks, each of which has its own economy of goodness. This is inherently a dangerous way to behave, because it can sound (and feel to others) craven and plotting, as if being friends with somebody is a project to be in some way completed or a problem to be in some way solved.
I still didn’t panic. I thought back over the past ten years, and then I had a vision: this sense of work dominating everything made me highly irritable in many professional and personal interactions. In the closed systems of my own processes, I can run quality control obsessively over everything I do: I can stay up until two in the morning editing clarinet parts, and I can worry about how for that clarinettist, her first experience of my music will be this four page document, I can slice the garlic how it needs to be sliced and I can butcher the meat in the right way for the task at hand. Once I get anybody else involved on any level, though, I expect, unfairly, for them to have spent the same amount of time and energy doing their jobs as I’d done mine, which is to say: expended a violent breath of energy at the thing, continuously, all day, every day. I became angry — and directionlessly choleric, as my body got hot, I sweated, I shook — at the objects that surrounded me. The noise of traffic would send me into a tailspin of not just anger, but despair at not having my environment coöperate with me. A honking truck became not, as it should be, a part of the sonic landscape of a city, but instead it came to represent a broken contract between me and the world. A sense of magical thinking arose naturally, where the only explanation for things not going as I wanted them was that I wasn’t working hard enough, that I wasn’t devoted enough to the task, or that I wasn’t giving enough of myself to anything or anybody to warrant getting anything in return.
I found myself, particularly when tired (which was always), or after having had too much to drink (which was often), irascible and shouty, telling people they were doing their jobs badly or bungling something when it was really not my place to say anything. I cussed people out for doing what, in the economy of my work, would be unacceptable, but which, in reality, was perfectly fine. I was unable to distinguish people deliberately doing or saying hurtful things (which, at the age of 33, still happens to me from time to time) from forgetting to dot an i or cross a t. I could feel my body pointedly roiling — the sweat, yes, but a gut-clenching sense of a drop from a high place — at the accumulating details of my life. A little cut on the hand, agitated into a wound, the noise of laughing children on the street, the edge of the dog’s toy getting caught in the wheel of my work-chair, the feeling of my stomach touching the fabric of my shirt, the acute knowledge of the various asymmetries and plumpnesses of the body. All of these things were incendiary and dangerous: the arsonist’s last glug of gasoline thrown on the carpet before lighting the match.
After these episodes — which could last days, or weeks — there could arrive a period of calm. I would try to reconcile with those I’d wronged, but found it difficult to understand what I was apologising for, precisely. They had, after all, misspelt something important, or taken too long to write back to an email, or been lazy about a complicated project, and they needed to know. Right? I found myself physically angry at people for whom work wasn’t a consuming fire but for whom was, at most, a part of their day which could be offset or justified by taking vacations, sleeping late on purpose, taking an hour for lunch and sitting in the park, or getting str8 married and taking time off to do this. I was furious with musicians who lived off of their parents’ money, I was furious with people who dared to plan their careers in units of ten years. I was furious with myself for being furious about these things. I was impossible with my boyfriend with whom I share a small apartment, because each of his movements was another shot fired in my already complicated battle with my environments both physical and emotional. He’s only known me within the space of this 10-ish years of treatment, and never really knew any other conditions aside from my slightly terrifying and almost religious relationship to my work and my community as the only worthwhile transactions in a life lived vigorously.
At the end of these daily forceful and exhausting immolations, the only thing that could bring me something resembling peace was watching somebody do something – anything – well. I live in Chinatown, and there is nothing more calm-inducing than watching an old man work a meat cleaver expertly. I am soothed by watching a woman pinch a dumpling together, and I am soothed by watching the Man Who Grills Meat fan the meat just-so with his meat-fanning fan. I could no longer read new books or the newspaper; I had to read books I already knew that I liked, because I couldn’t be let down by them or tricked into going along with somebody else’s uninteresting plan. I could only listen to music I already knew, because the shock of something new would send me into a state of heightened agitation. I developed an agoraphobic anxiety and found myself only able to explain it to virtual strangers, and fibbed my way out of going to any live music for almost two months. I found myself not craving but needing routine in an almost aspergic way, but with a life completely and necessarily noncondusive to even being able to do the same thing three days in a row.
So I sought help. I found a new doctor, who does not take my insurance and therefore costs as much as my rent, literally no joke. She looked at my medical history with what I would generously call the world’s subtlest cut-eye; I’m sure that doctors don’t like to second-guess what another doctor thought best ten years ago, but within 30 minutes of being there, she was like, “we gotta get you off of this stuff.” I went off of it, and onto something else. My body ached and I was confused all the time. I told her that I had three goals: to not be angry all the time, to be able to engage with my environment and friends and boyfriend and collaborators in a healthier way, and to start seeing if there was a way to start to feel happy about my work — or not really the work, even, but about myself as it related to the work, or about myself as it related to anything.
Medication helps with a lot of these things — within a few weeks, the constant agita let up, confirming to me that it was actually chemical and not some devil perched in the back of my skull. I’d been told that the drugs working correctly might feel like a veil lifting, but in my case it was more like a kabuki-drop: a sudden whoosh of waking up without a clamor of small pressurised objects rattling around. As a result of this clarity, I was able to think about the very rare times that I’d felt happy about my own self. I realized that the thing I’ve made of which I am the proudest — or, perhaps the only thing I’ve made about which I feel even a nominal amount of pride — is my community. It’s a large and multi-faceted creature, with ever-widening spaces between its elements as we all age, but it’s a collection of people for whom I have a near obsessive love.
I’ve never really bought the concentric-circle model of friendships. My model is much more “let’s just go for it all the way,” which I think can be off-putting for people. I am in a near constant dialogue with myself thinking about other people — oh, this funny image, I hope T— has seen it, or I really should email M— about that piece of his which I liked and which I listened to, or I feel like the world would be a better place if N— had read this book. When people text me, I text them right back. I write back to emails quickly and try to stay connected to everybody and be au courant with my friends’ lives in as generous a way as I can. I write back to professional out-of-office emails with bitter, scathing essays about why it is that they can’t manage to make their iPhones work in whatever sad holiday destination (Alicante, usually) they’ve chosen instead of performing professional immolation on the fires of productivity. I’ve never gotten an out-of-offce reply when I haven’t been nine miles deep into a river of work, and you can imagine the resentment and fury that creates.
Once the new medication had sorted a few things out, however, I started accessing an emotional register of genuine sadness surrounding my community, something I’d not felt in years. My obsessive communications with my friends: what if this was actually a huge chore for them, and that my vigor (and rigor) in that part of my life could never be reciprocated? If a loved one doesn’t write back, does that mean that I am specifically unlovable, doomed to a life of sending unreturned emails and un-replied-to texts? The machinery of my head has been, until recently, too busy to really let that feeling in for analysis, and I managed to actually write a whole opera about it as a giant, expensive act of displacement and disengagement. “Are you there,” the opera asks; nobody answers, and the boy at the centre of it gets a knife to the heart. Letting this feeling in — to use the somewhat three-little-pigsian argot of pop psychology — has been, I think, one of the more difficult things I’ve done as an adult. Why won’t she write back? Why won’t he text back? What does that have to do with meeeeee? I found myself hoarding kind words from any of my friends or even passing acquaintances like a squirrel with his nut: a tiny compliment from a friend stored in the back of the head to be taken out and surveyed in darker moments.
After so many years of never thinking about myself — emotionally paying myself last, as it were — I feel an enormous guilt in spending the time thinking about myself at all. I am (or perhaps was?) a big proponent of the “it’s not about you” strategy of dealing with emotional conflict: always assume that the offended party is the correct one, and ignore any evidence that you, too, might have been wronged, and it’ll all be alright. I felt that self-care was a nonsense excuse to not do one’s job, and that taking time to think about these things, even in the context of the doctor’s office, was a form of extreme and dangerous narcissism born out of Tumblr and Twitter activism, or out of the thickets of trigger warnings that surround the castle of anything difficult to think about.
I haven’t yet managed to shake my molten rage at administrative things in my life going wrong.
I feel bad even retelling this story, but I think it points towards a few important things. I had a concert in a church the other day, and I had been in communication with the producer and his staff about wanting to set aside some seats for friends, and he had a very welcome ‘no problem’ kind of attitude. It was a free concert but one which needed tickets. I was very grateful for their help with all of this and tried to be as on top of the ticket situation as possible, sending names via email, confirming, double-checking that the number (12) was alright. An hour before the show I checked again with Capable Seeming Ticket Lady, and confirmed that the names would indeed be left at the door, and gave her another name I’d just gotten via SMS. Now. I then went for a little stroll and had a bracing lager, and I came back from this stroll to discoverer two strange tableaux-vivants. The first tableau was a bunch of my friends — who, in this case were all tall blond English men, don’t judge me, u don’t know my journey — clustered around the door next to a confused-looking woman with a clipboardt. She was not, however, as confused as the blind woman with her collapsible cane, wearing what looked like corrective shoes, precariously hobbling over the uneven cobbled surface of the churchyard, tripping on bollards and chain gates and heading the wrong way towards a certain spill against a leaning plane tree. So, I ran to the blind woman and took her arm and began to escort her towards the door, at which point I sort of nervously looked at the clipboardt lady and discovered that all of the name-emailing I’d done had resulted in the Seemingly Capable Ticket Lady scrawling MY last name, misspelt, with a blue pen, and then “+12” next to it. Now. How are these tall English boys going to get access to the Lord’s House when I had told them to just give their name at the door and it would all be okay? Also present in this dozen people was one of the performers’ momma. Not nann one of the names I’d emailed and confirmed had made its way to the door. This is an good example of a contract with the world being broken.
What I should have done is taken a deep breath and moved on with my life, chalking this particular incident up to the fact that arts administrators and their underlings are, I’m sure, hideously overworked people — although, me too: I am chained alway by devils to my desk writing music for their employers, gnashing my teeth and suffering the self-induced psycho-electrical shocks of self-discipline and profound fear), but, at that particular time in front of the church in London, the combination of my friends being inconvenienced, the appalling bootleg fuckery of my scrawled name, and the idea that the door staff were letting this blind woman trip all over the cobblestones sent me into a 2011-style ragefest galore. I was not asking for an extinct animal to be brought before me, I was not asking for some kind of exotic honey to applied to my body for reasons of allergies. I just wanted my friends to be able to arrive at a door, give their name, and be granted access to the space behind the same door, at that time.
So, furiously, I marched back to the vestry, found Seemingly Competent Ticket Lady, and I am sorry to say that, beloveds, I read her for filth. I told her what time it was in every timezone. I let it all in, and then I let it all out, in her face, at that time. But something curious happened: I found that my rage had three dimensions and an origin story: I could see the whole thing, I could understand its weight, and I understood, at that time, that the whole thing was springing from this inner vacancy and sadness, with the idea of my writing a piece of choral music (for which I am now able to feel a tiny shimmer of pride!) that asks “are you there” being answered, in an acute sense, by this organisational incompetence. I heard myself saying all these terrible things, and once it started, it all spilled out like change from a torn pocket. During this diatribe, I left myself momentarily, and had a conflicting group of emotions, which were: first I have to stop yelling, but also: I know both why I am yelling on a small level (she did totally fuck up and should have been pilloried before the village) but also on a large level (I am a person slowly getting better who is not yet better) and also: I finally know how this relates to larger problems about whose nature I am finally learning.
I am sorry, truly and deeply and honestly (despite my flippant attitude in the previous paragraph), to have lost it at this woman who I’m sure forgot to do her job for perfectly good reasons. The details are lost to history. It is never appropriate to turn into a volcano of rage no matter what has happened to you, and I speak as a volcano who has erupted a number of inappropriate times, despite my goal of dormancy and peace.
I’m telling this story to say that the nature of getting better, of becoming well, is not that you will automatically stop doing bad things, or that you will stop letting bad things happen to you. Getting well is going to involve sometimes doing these awful things and experiencing these terrible things and having those bad things done to you, but having, at the same time, a growing understanding of their beginnings and middles, and an awareness of the effort it is going to take to herd them towards their ends.
At the end of that concert where I lost my mind, the choir sang Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, which is one of my favourite pieces of art ever in the world, and which is one of the reasons I am a composer now. Its text is by Christopher Smart, who spent a good deal of his life in an insane asylum. The text — of which Britten sets only a part — is an ecstatic journey of religious devotion through mania and altered states: Smart offers us the wordplay of the schizophrenic and the self-annihilating coldness of the depressed at the same time. At the end of one of the particularly excited sections describing a heavenly orchestra of instruments, Smart describes the hand of God cutting through the joyfully chaotic cacophony to play the harp. Britten treats the ensuing text with an almost maternal delicacy, relishing, in a lambent and suspended F-major chord, the symmetries of the music the text suggests, and tells us, with gentle hopefulness:
For at that time malignity ceases
And the devils themselves are at peace.
For this time is perceptible to man
By a remarkable stillness and serenity of soul.
I don’t think I am yet at, or even near, that time, and my flightpath might be asymptotic to that time, but I like seeing, through the flashes of fire and reminders of difficulty, a path towards stillness and serenity.
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May 27th, 2015 at 12:09 pm
hi Nico, big fan here. I am a bipolar schizo who went undiagnosed until I was 30 and had a psychotic break in New York City. 8 years later, I’ve finally got my head on straight but it took a lot of work with different meds and life events. It’s worth it though, for sure, just takes time.
By the way, I’ve been remixing New Music people lately, and have worked myself up to you. I’ll tweet at you when the piece is done.
May 27th, 2015 at 12:55 pm
Thank you. Your music has always made me feel like there is an aural representation of how I feel time to time, but I’ve never known much about you as a person and this article has blown my mind because it hits my errant nail right on the head. Very grateful to you for sharing!
May 27th, 2015 at 1:33 pm
Thank you for sharing this. I hope many will support you on your journey to wellness.
May 27th, 2015 at 3:11 pm
Nico. Now, in this moment, I can’t find it within myself to say anything remotely useful or interesting about this post. All that I am able to say is “Thank you!” for expressing something that is, in many of its parts, what I would like to express about myself and my present emotional journey. It is often more empowering when I discover that I share a road with another person – especially one who, like you, has the gift of intelligence and a keen sensitivity – than when I try forcing, alone, some weighty insight onto a blank page. Thank you, once again.
May 27th, 2015 at 3:24 pm
Thank you for sharing this, Nico. I can sympathize with your devotion to your work. I often find myself in a crazy anxiety around feeling like I never do enough to get my music out there since I have a non-musical day job. I’ll spare you the story, but the tl:dr version is that you’re not alone.
May 27th, 2015 at 3:28 pm
Beautiful, Nico. Thanks
May 27th, 2015 at 4:02 pm
I can totally relate to what you write here. After getting diagnosed with the same thing 7 months ago, I realized that the last 10 years of my life had been ‘tainted’. I achieved a lot, but with so much anxiety, stress and guilt. It was more like constantly pushing past myself rather than creating joyfully. Some well adjusted medication and therapy can make a huge difference to how you see yourself and the world. Even my BODY feels more relaxed now. Good luck on continuing to get better!
May 27th, 2015 at 5:40 pm
I was very touched by you post. I too have yelled at people for small transgressions, and I felt exactly the same. There is a hollow place inside me that sometimes needs to be filled with sweary rage.
I am thinking good thoughts for you right now.
May 27th, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Nico, here is some information I would have traded every material possession I own to have had discovered earlier in life:
Many of the drugs that treat BiPolar are anti-convulsants that also treat seizures. There is a well studied treatment for seizures even more effective than drugs called the Ketogenic Diet. Hundreds of people suffering BiPolar have been completely cured by following this diet which produces physiological changes in the body similar to the medical treatment of BiPolar. I tried it and it completely cured me after 16 years of BiPolar. It takes a few days to try it and it may change your life. Here is a peer-reviewed journal study showing it’s effectiveness:
Feel free to e-mail me if you need help
May 27th, 2015 at 8:50 pm
Thank you for being.
Welcome to conciouness!
May 27th, 2015 at 8:51 pm
Thank you for being.
Welcome to consciousness!
May 27th, 2015 at 9:51 pm
I’ve been in awe of your genius. Now I am so moved by your honest self examination. Such courage. Best wishes and thank you.
May 28th, 2015 at 12:44 am
I’ve never felt more normal as a composer until reading this. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone – you’re not alone either. The struggle for balance and stability in one’s mind is so incredibly hard for some… Unfortunately for me; for many others as well.
This made me feel normal, Nico. That’s something that rarely happens. Thanks you.
May 28th, 2015 at 4:49 am
I am a musician also, and have had problems with depression, anxiety, brain fog, dizziness, mood problems. Over time I started seeing a naturopath and gradually learned about things like methylcobalamin and methylfolate. I’m doing well now. Just wanted to mention that many people could benefit from finding out about the MTHFR genetic mutation. The protocol involves lots of B vitamins and minerals. MTHFR.net has good information.
May 28th, 2015 at 5:52 am
A good and brave piece of writing. Bravo.
May 28th, 2015 at 7:47 am
Using mental health issues as an excuse to verbally attack someone is one truly poor excuse. I’ve been dealing with depression for over five years. And when I’m an asshole, it’s because quite frankly I was being an asshole. I feel sorry for that woman, and honestly you should go back and try to make it right. Man up. Find out who she is and apologize.
May 28th, 2015 at 8:37 am
Thank you for sharing some of your journey, Nico. There is much to learn from the relationship between challenging neurochemistry and creativity/achievement. May this herald a fruitful and healing time for you.
May 28th, 2015 at 9:44 am
Thanks for this, Mr. Muhly.
So honest and open.
May 28th, 2015 at 12:10 pm
I’ve admired and loved your blog for so long, but never more than today. Thank you so much for sharing this, as it is not only a lovely work of writing, but also a public service.
I particularly appreciate this having spent the past several months struggling with depression. To lose a grip on one’s own mind (as if we ever had one to begin with!) is a frightening thing. So many people will benefit from your courageous act of sharing.
May you continue to heal! Thank you again.
May 28th, 2015 at 12:25 pm
Nico, thank you so much for writing and sharing this deeply personal story of self-realization. I see much of myself and my own struggle with mental disability in your story.
It is very clear from the other comments that we have your back and I hope to follow in your footsteps of courage, bravery and leadership. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
May 28th, 2015 at 4:55 pm
Nico, thank you so much for sharing this and for having the bravery to do so. As a musician with bipolar I find it is so hard to express to people how difficult it is to perform and create in an episode. You articulate it beautifully.
It is also wonderful to see how you have started the path to getting better by changing medication (not stopping) and talking to someone. I have seen too many people lose the chance to have a wonderful career because of the myth that their demons somehow help their creativity and therefore shouldn’t be restrained. I wish you all the very best, and congratulations on creating an incredible body of work despite the inner challenges and pain. That is something to be truly proud of xo
May 28th, 2015 at 4:55 pm
Good for you, Nico. Be well.
May 28th, 2015 at 7:43 pm
Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing your story. I relate completely to all of it, and most of all to the plight of the blind woman who longed to hear the music and was not invisible to the music maker. Perfectionism is a cruel master but look at what you have wrought in spite of wrestling with this angel/demon/monkey-on-the-back, and at what sacrifice to your own life and peace of mind. I love you.
May 28th, 2015 at 11:55 pm
A tour de force, Nico. Equal parts courage and brilliance. May you thrive.
May 29th, 2015 at 1:39 am
I’ve read you post five times now, and while there is a transient sense of kinship that momentarily flitters between the cadences, I cannot help but descend into bile by the end of it.
At least you get to be showered in epistemic affirmations by an existent community of fans and comrades regardless if you acknowledge their praise and self-identification as being causally linked to your presence.
There is no mutual kinship. You exist in a realm I can only dream of from the other side of the barbed wire, a different class—social, academic, economic. And while I remain no less cloistered and no less consumed by 12 hour workdays, even on vacation, I can only mouth words and music in unuttered vocables to the blank page which is my only real audience.
I love your music. I love these words you’ve expressed in this digital enclave. Or, at least I can appreciate their aesthetic.
But I ultimately feel spiteful because to apply anything you have written to myself would be a lie of context. I don’t get to make Augustinian confessions to a group of attentive listeners. And to do anything of the sort would be seen as nothing more than the dregs of narcissism.
And I hate myself for feeling that way.
May 29th, 2015 at 7:23 am
Beautifully written. Thank you. You speak for thousands of people.
May 29th, 2015 at 4:55 pm
May 29th, 2015 at 11:10 pm
This was an incredibly insightful read. I won’t compare myself to you or others that have posted…that’s a useless endeavor. To each his own – as someone once taught me.
What I learned here was the value of expression without censorship.
There is something great, unbridled even, within all of us. For me, I have learned to embrace everything – the good and the bad. The Goldfinch (by Donna Tartt) was an eye-opener for me, but not for the reasons most commonly expressed. It taught me that you can/could fuck up but still be an integral part of the human experience, and sometimes be a greater force for change than a “good” person.
May 30th, 2015 at 12:52 am
No other words but “thank you”.
May 30th, 2015 at 4:15 am
May 31st, 2015 at 1:24 am
Yes to this. Your honesty and vulnerability are super powers.
May 31st, 2015 at 6:01 pm
It’s weird to say ‘thank you’ as a reply to this post, but at the same time I can’t help feeling a sense of gratitude when reading such a thorough and insightful reflection. As many here, I love the work you do (sounds like sloppy phrasing, but I can’t seem to put it in any other way), and to be given the chance to know a bit more about the person whose music I so much admire gives me a strange feeling of excitement.
Reading your post got me thinking about how much we demand of certain works in terms of giving an account of processes that involve being unwell, even the ones behind such works don’t realise how much being unwell affects them. Perhaps it’s unfair, on the ‘recieving end’, to make such demands, or to get angry at someone for not being able to meet your expectations of ‘authenticity’. Again: thank you thank your thank you.
June 1st, 2015 at 6:47 am
Thank you for this post. It takes much courage to look at oneself honestly, let alone speak of such truth. I wish for good health and wellness your way.
June 1st, 2015 at 2:43 pm
Hi Nico-What an incredible treat to read your blog. Your honesty and clarity discussing all these complex, personal issues is extraordinary.
There’s also a lot of other stuff here that is fresh, so well observed and very amusing! I’m still laughing at the vision of the statue of Maria Callas(perhaps wearing her Turandot pagoda headdress-so regal!-like in the famous picture) by that fig tree…in Skorpios, for sure.
I loved the exquisite score for the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie: it provided the emotional scaffolding for this delicate and melancholy play. Also, the dynamic score for The Reader( which really kept it moving), the very intriguing Two Boys and another movie score: Kill Your Darlings( what a curious bunch of 1940’s non -heterosexuals!).We know your mission is to compose music, but , please take time off to keep writing on this blog. Insights like yours don’t come our way frequently! THANKS.
June 11th, 2015 at 12:59 pm
I have an opposite story. Please please check your facts. I am an artist, musician, professor. I have Bipolar disorder. It is not a chemical imbalance. The APA is admitting that. I was on a bipolar medicine starting at the end of graduate school through 6 years as a professor. I had 3 blood clots that almost went undetected because I was so young and active and almost died at 29. I had a difficult time making any art, music, anything creative at all even reading after the medicine. It is toxic and dying is not worth the ‘relief.’ Please research ‘chemical imbalance.’ It could save your life.
June 11th, 2015 at 8:09 pm
I read with interest and compassion the account of your emotional journey towards wellness.
As to that place of serenity and stillness, have you heard of Prem Rawat?
All the best for your life and music.
June 20th, 2015 at 4:35 pm
You are a true soul mate to so many, me included. Thank you for this.