Exposition (in the musical sense)
Welcome to No Wrong Notes, a blog about the weird confluence of classical music and writing craft, and a grab bag of everything else besides. I'm Mia, author of BITTER MEDICINE, a forthcoming contemporary fantasy novel from Tachyon Publications, and I am a musician, writer, editor, sometime photographer, and absolute nerd.
More specifically, this blog will serve as a repository for those craft posts that are too long or too detailed for a Twitter thread and too short for a book on craft (which I will never write! Such conceit!). It'll be a place for me to drop musings on writing and music, and occasionally I will delve fairly deep into music geekery. I have a synthesis-type way of thinking, which means I like to draw connections between disparate subjects—and classical music and writing are less disparate than they seem—and engage in collaborative discovery. It won't just be my solo voice on this blog! I welcome comments. I find my best idea sparks are struck when I have dialogue from others. Out of many, one, and all that. (As it so happens, my undergraduate degree is a combinatorial degree in humanities and arts, so I've been at this a long time).
Why is this introductory post titled "Exposition"? A friend suggested it as a blog title; I thought it was apt for a first post. The exposition, after all, is to introduce. In the first movement of the sonata-allegro form, the exposition is used to introduce themes A and B, introduce rhythmic and melodic motifs, and to set the foundation for our musical journey. Thus do we come to this: a statement of theme.
Above all, I value process over product, and I value the joy inherent in satisfying one's curiosity. So much of what we do and what's expected of us is product on top of product. I'm in the publishing industry, which is relentless in its demand of product although it is supposed to champion process. I want us to slow down, to learn patience, to value failure and struggle, and to be unashamed of making mistakes. There are no mistakes, as Bob Ross said, only happy accidents. Or I could lean on Miles Davis, who said there are no wrong notes, only notes in the wrong places. Or Art Tatum, who said there is no such thing as a wrong note. Or even Jacob Collier, whose theory of harmony disposes with the concept of wrong notes altogether, because everything harmonizes with everything.
All we can do is make choices and keep making choices in hopes that we go somewhere, and do our best to enjoy the trip we take, even if you are in Seoul International at three a.m. with a sick child who has just puked everywhere and you don't speak a word of Korean (I mean, why would you, your final destination isn't Seoul, it's Taipei) and can't get help and there's no one around except other passengers who are giving you the hairiest, most judgmental eyeballs--
No, wait, that's me.
I'll leave you all with some advice from a beloved teacher of mine, whose words never fail to make me cry, whose radical kindness pierces through the worst of my emotions and shines a beam of sunlight on my very hurt and sensitive core:
"You must allow yourself to make mistakes."
And then once you do, maybe you'll find there are no mistakes and no wrong notes, only choices to be made.
Mia is a musician, teacher, writer, editor, and occasional photographer whose formal education is in music, psychology, and pedagogy. She enjoys reading a lot, thinking while on long drives, finding songs for each moment, and snoozing with her cat.