Inspiration for Speedbo and Beyond
by Missy Tippens
Missy, here. How’s everyone doing with Speedbo? Are any of you finding it difficult to hang in there due to lack of support?
I have to admit, I’ve always had support in my writing. I wrote for over 10 years before selling my first novel, attending weekly critique group, monthly writers’ meetings, and yearly conferences—all at expense of money and time. Not to mention the cost of computers, paper, ink, contest fees and postage!
All the while, my husband was encouraging me and watching the kids so I could pursue my writing. My kids were cheering me on. My parents and sister were sharing in any successes and commiserating over rejections. I guess I took the support for granted.
I think the first time this really hit me was when I started getting letters and emails from readers after the release of my first book. I heard from women who’d seen my dedication/acknowledgement to my family, women who said their husbands had never supported their dreams. Or who said their family had always told them they’d never amount to anything. Women whose relationships with their children were strained or shattered. Heartbreaking letters where women shared their hurts, shared their questions about how they can pursue their dreams if they don’t have someone like I do.
Last week as I thought about my blog post, I realized that some of you out there might be having the same doubts, discouragement and hurt. I know I may be simply an online friend to you, but I hope I can offer some support. One way I’d like to do that is to share a touching story with you. Something that inspired me when I read it.
I’m a classical music lover. To me, there’s nothing more moving than the ending of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony (Symphony No. 2 in C Minor). The whole work is spectacular, but the ending makes me literally weep. I remember playing it as I drove home from the beach one time, hitting the ending, and having to pull over because I couldn’t see to keep driving! I recently attended a performance of the work by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and Chorus—and took plenty of tissues with me! What I read in the notes in the concert program astounded…and inspired me.
Gustav Mahler is brilliant and has touched many people through his music. But he experienced a form of rejection like we writers often experience. Like some of you who have negative outside voices experience. I’d like to share a bit from the ASO program notes (click here to go to the ASO website and then click on “notes” to download and read the full Notes on the Program by Ken Meltzer). Meltzer says:
In March of 1891, Mahler was appointed conductor of the Stadttheater in Hamburg. That September, Mahler approached the eminent conductor and leader of the Hamburg Orchestra, Hans von Bülow. Mahler asked Bülow to hear Totenfeier [what he called the first movement], which had still not been performed.
The meeting was a disaster. Bülow had the utmost respect for Mahler as a conductor, but did not care for the young man’s compositions. Mahler played a piano reduction of the score for Bülow. Although Bülow repeatedly covered his ears, he still urged the increasingly agitated composer to continue. Finally, as Mahler related to his friend, composer Josef Foerster:
When I had finished I awaited the verdict silently. But my only listener remained at the table silent and motionless. Suddenly, he made an energetic gesture of rejection and said: “If that is still music then I do not understand a single thing about music.”
We parted from each other in complete friendship, I, however, with the conviction that Bülow considers me an able conductor but absolutely hopeless as a composer.
Missy, again. A month later, Mahler called that first movement a “symphonic poem” and was apparently going to leave it at that, forgetting the idea of a multi-movement symphony. Can you imagine if Mahler had listened to the negative feedback from Bülow, someone whose opinion he respected, and had quit? Eventually, though, he found inspiration and finished the second and third movements. But again, he hit a wall with the ending. Then…get this…
When Mahler attended Bülow’s funeral, he was struck with inspiration about how to end the work. :) How’s that for irony?!
Mahler announced his 2nd Symphony completed on June 29, 1894. What if he had never finished the piece, had never written that ending that has touched me so deeply that I can’t hear it without bawling like a baby?
I nearly sobbed as I read this story in the program notes. What if you or I were to give up before writing something that could touch hearts?
DO NOT let negative outside (or inside!) voices keep you from using the gifts with which God has blessed you! Hang in there. Push through doubts and roadblocks. You CAN finish your book. I have faith in you.
If you’d like to hear the ending of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, I found one version on You Tube. Click here for the last 4 minutes. Prepare for chill bumps and grab a Kleenex! :)
For more info on the ASO and the AMAZING Chorus, click here.
Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.