On my trip to DC this past weekend, I went to see some live jazz at a venue in the U Street area. Eric Lewis played piano there. He plays what he calls, RockJazz, which, according to his website is 'an inspired melding of ragtime, rock, and pop...'
He stands at the piano with an unusual stance, his legs drawn out into a standing split, and his fingers leap furiously across the keys, often using the underbelly of the piano as a drum and plucking at the piano strings of the baby grand, which creates a really unique and, often, eerie sound. His compositions are just as physical as they are musical and I found him really entertaining to watch and listen to.
At one point he played a song he had never played for an audience before. When he was done, he told us that it still needed a lot of work and he wasn't entirely happy with it but 'like every creative endeavor, sometimes you just have to put it out there. You know."
And...I did. As a writer, it can be so valuable to set your words free. I think a lot of people hold on to their work, hiding it from the rest of the world, keeping it close to their hearts. And they think, when it's ready, when it's perfect, I will let it go. For so many years I didn't let a single soul see my work. At the time, maybe that's what I needed to do for myself.
But, I can't tell you what a relief it was to just...let go. Sometimes we need to unleash it before it's ready. Before we're really sure. Because, as scary as it can be, it can also be rewarding to send it out to a reader, then go back to the page knowing it has already made it's debut and that it's time to perfect it for the rest of it's run.