Although I've had plenty of time off work recently - firstly through illness and then through taking annual leave for my birthday week - I haven't allowed myself much time to work on music.
Which has been fine, since I've had plenty of other things to be doing: most enjoyable they have been too.
But which hasn't been fine, since I've another performance-related deadline looming ever closer, which has been nagging away at me, and giving rise to thoughts and feelings such as the following:
I don't have enough time.
I'm not happy with what I've done so far.
It's going to be disappointing.
I'm not confident: with my work so far, with my abilities.
Maybe I'm just not that into it any more.
Maybe I haven't got that spark.
I'm letting myself down.
It feels like a chore.
Then I spend an evening like this evening - spending plenty of time, as much as anything, getting myself into a suitable frame of mind: not least doing what I can so as to try putting the above kind of thoughts to one side. One thing which seems to help, is to repeat to myself the following phrase:
I don't give a fuck.
The less pressure I put on myself to produce anything which sounds good, or which sounds like something someone else would like or even give a fuck about, the better. It's a mixture of a defensive posture and also a liberating one.
And yet, even as I loaded up the computer software and gathered my haphazard array of instruments and devices, it seemed like it wasn't going to be fun. Again, a chore, a reflection on what I wouldn't be able to achieve.
Time to tell myself something yet again: it doesn't matter if I spend an hour producing something terrible, embarrassing or appalling. Just spend the time doing it all the same.
And so to work.
Hours later, I've re-emerged, having had a whale of a time, and having made great strides in one particular piece I'm working on, seemingly effortlessly. With confidence, with playfulness and with an eye on how to take it further and make it even better.
I feel energised, I feel it's part of my language again, I feel a great sense of possibility.
I feel none of the things highlighted above in red.
At times like this (even after my first day back at work today), I love it, and I feel in touch with something utterly, joyously nourishing.
I'm going out for a walk for a short while, then maybe I'll calm down and be able to get some sleep later. It's still a lovely evening out there.