I wasn’t in the mood. I really wasn’t. I love playing my harp but I don’t love carrying it and my muscles were aching. Added to which there was extra lugging in the form of a harp stand, a music stand, 36 spare strings (just in case) and ten surprisingly heavy folders with words. And there’s nowhere to park near this particular Care Home. And it was pouring with rain – I mean pouring. Staying at home curled up with a good book would have been a far more sensible option. But I’d made a commitment so I forced myself.
I managed to manoeuvre my raincoat to keep the stuff dry mostly, at the cost of getting sodden myself. When I’d finally unloaded everything into the hall, I glanced into the Care Home lounge. I saw only two residents and they were slumped in chairs with their eyes closed. “Is it worth it?” I asked myself as I embarked on the long tuning up and trying to calm nerves process that precedes every performance. However, by the time I was ready more residents had gathered and the room was packed. They were chatty and excited. When I began to play I was focused on my strings in mega-concentration. Then, once I’d got into it, I looked around - and witnessed the smiles spreading. I normally give the audience a chance to join in many of the songs if they wish (hence the folders of words), and this group was amazing. They sang gustily, at the tops of their voices. It was a lovely thing. It transformed my own mood too. The grumpiness lifted and I realised I was enjoying myself. Worth it? Not half!
At another gig last week, this time at Pullham’s Mill with Foxwillow Trio, somebody commented that they were watching the audience and saw how they were visibly moved and calmed as we began to play. Music. It does that.
Not-in-the-mood-itis is a very common ailment. It affects writers too. Whatever you tell yourself, anything that you do every day can become a chore. Considering I now classify as a writer, it’s ridiculous how often I make excuses. I think I’m in the wrong state of mind so I assume ideas won’t come and nothing is going to flow. But then I sit down and start. It’s the starting that is essential. Because then, as if by magic, inspiration does turn up – usually half way down the second page.
Before I know it I’m fully engrossed, busy, happy. In the mood.