“Do not believe those who try to persuade you that composition is only a cold exercise of the intellect. The only music capable of moving and touching us is that which flows from the depths of a composer’s soul when he is stirred by inspiration. There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.
A few days ago I told you I was working every day without any real inspiration. Had I given way to my disinclination, undoubtedly I should have drifted into a long period of idleness. But my patience and faith did not fail me, and to-day I felt that inexplicable glow of inspiration of which I told you; thanks to which I know beforehand that whatever I write to-day will have power to make an impression, and to touch the hearts of those who hear it. I hope you will not think I am indulging in self-laudation, if I tell you that I very seldom suffer from this disinclination to work. I believe the reason for this is that I am naturally patient. I have learnt to master myself, and I am glad I have not followed in the steps of some of my Russian colleagues, who have no self-confidence and are so impatient that at the least difficulty they are ready to throw up the sponge. This is why, in spite of great gifts, they accomplish so little, and that in an amateur way.”
Source: Brainpickings. Tchaikovsky, the legendary composer, wrote this in a letter to his benefactress, Nadezhda von Meck, dated March 17th, 1878. It can be found in the 1905 volumeThe Life & Letters of Pete Ilich Tchaikovsky.
Andy Roddick is retiring this season after being “the face of men’s tennis in the U.S. for more than a decade.” What wasn’t obvious to me until reading this article from the NY Times, was the depth of his character, his integrity and his drive. With so many bad actors in professional sports, this story was inspiring. Here’s a few excerpts:
“He’s a study in contradictions: a born entertainer who doesn’t like to leave home; a team player in an individual sport; a deep feeler who is quick to give you a piece of his mind or the shirt off his back; a lunch-pail prodigy.”
“He was precocious, yes, but his defining characteristic has been his persistence. Roddick never had the luxury of coasting, of taking his gifts for granted. How else but through grit and guts does a player with a balky backhand and a butcher’s touch at the net finish in the top 10 in the world for eight consecutive years?”
“Roddick’s serve is such a blur, people have a hard time discerning where his talent ends and his work ethic begins. He’s a classic overachiever who was cast as the suave leading man of American men’s tennis, a role that, true to his nature, he worked earnestly and endlessly to wholly inhabit.” [Read more…]
“Just because the road ahead is long, is no reason to slow down. Just because there is much work to be done, is no reason to get discouraged. It is a reason to get started, to grow, to find new ways, to reach within yourself and discover strength, commitment, determination, discipline. The road ahead is long and difficult, and filled with opportunity at every turn. Start what needs starting. Finish what needs finishing. Get on the road. Stay on the road. Get on with the work. Right now you’re at the beginning of the journey. What a great place to be! Just imagine all the things you’ll learn, all the people you’ll meet, all the experiences you’ll have. Be thankful that the road is long and challenging, because that is where you’ll find the best that life has to offer.”
~ Ralph Marston