The Pimping of Euterpe

You see, I was born with this beautiful Muse watching over me, singing to me, planting melodies and lyric words in my mind. She was pure and natural, unadulterated and unspoiled. She nurtured me from childhood, loving and comforting me when Life was painful, and always lending me her grace and serenity when I was weary. She never judged me or the music I wrote. It was all good because it was all given by her and interpreted by me. She paid no attention to my frequent whining about how hard being a musician can be. Through the years she gave me over 300 pieces of music of many genres and styles. She loved me unconditionally and was happy to stand in the background as I received applause and standing ovations...

I loved her, too, but the applause kind of went to my head. There were many years of it and I began to expect it. Soon, applause wasn't enough. I wanted fame. I wanted fortune. I wanted to be a star. No, I wanted to be a supernova! I demanded my Muse's gifts and if she didn't respond, I sulked and became temperamental with her. I made her put on makeup, I made her bleach and tease her hair. I prostituted her like a common pimp. When I left the popular music of the 80s and ventured into classical music, I demanded she come with me. I put her in a more expensive outfit and tried to class her up, but I really only changed her venue from the street corner to a high-class bar. I was still pimping her.

One day, about fifteen years ago, I woke up to find her gone. She left no note, no idea of where she went, or if she would ever come back. I became a hollow person. Sure, I wrote blog entries and articles, but the music was gone. The poetry was gone. The expression of the heart was gone. My love of life was gone, too.

During the past few years my health caused me to believe she was gone for good. I even resigned myself to a life without making music and began to be okay with that. Then, this week happened. I heard her song as from a distant land and I had to follow it. She was not so far away as I'd thought, just standing in the shadows, waiting for me to come to a place in my understanding that I could hear her and see her. We are experiencing a reunion that is so beautiful, I cannot even begin to put it into words for you.

I have learned a valuable lesson, quite possibly the main lesson of my life. I've learned that the minute we begin to believe that art owes us something--a career, money, fame--it ceases to be what it is supposed to be in our lives. Art owes us nothing. It being what it is is enough. Supplying us with fame and fortune is not its purpose. If we acquire those things, fine, but if we do not, we abuse it if we start making demands. I don't mean that we shouldn't try to build careers in the arts, I'm talking about a lack of gratitude, of not being grateful of having been blessed with the talent to express ourselves. I'm not sure that I'm articulating myself well--I haven't been to bed yet--but it has something to so with placing expectations on art that reduce its purpose in our lives.

Many years ago, Maestro Salazar told me that he loved the Latin word, amateur.
"It means, 'love of the doing'. So when I call someone an amateur musician, it's the highest compliment that I can pay them."
After all these years of scratching and clawing to be a professional musician, I've come full circle. I want to be an amateur.