Do you ever wonder if what you do is worth it? I'm constantly in search of inspiration that fuels me and I imagine you are too, for whatever you do. It always burns in like a train on fire and stays for a little while and then flits away so fast it feels like it was never here. But when it comes its so good, right? Last night I was lucky enough to see about 80 musicians totally in their element playing a very experimental piece of music at The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts for their current programming series, Reset. The piece was John Cage's 30 Pieces for 5 Orchestras and was the US Premiere. I was so incredibly inspired not only by the piece and the incredible viola soloist that also played but by the way people were taking it in around me. Most people were attentive, a few people were yawning, a guy in front of me fell asleep and then this old bat's phone actually started ringing so ridiculously that I thought I might actually be imagining it. About this time, I started thinking about the place of music in our society today and wondering if it matters to people as much as it might have before.
And then, like some sort of answer, an older woman in front of me closed her eyes and started tapping her finger on her leg. She tilted her head to the side so her ear was positioned better to hear a sound coming from the orchestra seated behind us. A small half smile formed on her face and I could sort of see her teeth and then she licked her lips, licked her lips! Then, she let out this long sigh. She was so content and just, well, in it. It was a perfect moment for me. If I would have had the balls I would have thanked her as I was leaving. But instead, I was able to wake up this morning with a new surge of inspiration and a motivation that can only come from a single person's validation. Because that's all it takes really.
If you haven't been to The Pulitzer yet to see Reset, go. But, if you don't it's okay. Because that single lady is all it takes to confirm that the effort these people are making to bring art to St. Louis is worth it.
(Photo of John Cage by Erich Auerbach/Getty Images/NPR)