‘Find what you love and let it kill you’

Renowned British pianist James Rhodes on The Guardian‘s music blog:

After the inevitable “How many hours a day do you practice?” and “Show me your hands”, the most common thing people say to me when they hear I’m a pianist is “I used to play the piano as a kid. I really regret giving it up”. I imagine authors have lost count of the number of people who have told them they “always had a book inside them”. We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity. A world where people have simply surrendered to (or been beaten into submission by) the sleepwalk of work, domesticity, mortgage repayments, junk food, junk TV, junk everything, angry ex-wives, ADHD kids and the lure of eating chicken from a bucket while emailing clients at 8pm on a weekend.

Rhodes shares what finally made him go with his lifelong passion of becoming a concert pianist, and the price he had to pay: poverty, divorce, mental hospitalization.

I’m yet to decide whether I find Rhodes’ story inspiring or extremely depressing. I’m just not sure what’s the real message it conveys for me. Right now — and I want to read it again sometime soon — it only sharpens how much of a zero-sum game life has become in our age, and how expensive this game is for the creatives. And creators.

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