Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“The muses will carry us along”

with 2 comments

Q. What pops out when one surveys your career is the sheer volume of music you have produced. Can you tell us about the creative process?

A. I developed from very early on a habit of writing something every day, good or bad. There are good days, and there are less good days, but I do a certain amount of pages it seems to me before I can feel like the day has been completely served. When I am working on a film, of course, it’s a six-day-a-week affair, and when I’m not working on films, I always like to devote myself to some piece, some musical project, that gives me a feeling that I’m maybe contributing in some small way or, maybe more importantly, learning in the process.

Q. I understand you take a lot of walks here on the Tanglewood campus. Do you do that after you finish writing?

A. The rest of my life is spent sitting, writing, so it’s a kind of an antidote to the physiological strains if you like of sitting bent over a writing tablet all day long. People ask me do you compose when you walk. Not really. But solutions or choices do occur to me. I may be walking along for 20 or 30 minutes and say, ‘Aw, this is what I should do here or there.’

Q. Do you ever get blocked?

A. I never experienced anything like a block. For me if I’m ever blocked or I feel like I don’t quite know where to go at the next turn, the best thing for me is to keep writing, to write something. It could be absolute nonsense, but it will project me into the next phase of thinking. And I think if we ourselves as writers get out of the way and let the flow happen and not get uptight about it, so to speak, the muses will carry us along.

John Williams, to the New York Times

Written by nevalalee

August 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

2 Responses

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  1. I was reading an old article on Holly Lisle’s site about this, except her topic was novels. The point is the same: write something every day, whether it’s good or bad. It’s good to know this applies to music as well.

    Like your blog by the way. Lots of good stuff in it.

    Your book also sounds interesting. Will add it to my list of things to read.

    Amy Keeley

    August 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

  2. Thanks so much! Hope to see you around…

    nevalalee

    August 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm


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