It is not a coincidence that among the synonyms for “practice” is “ritual,” and for “ritual,” “practice.” When you do a thing over and over—even if it is only so banal and small as lighting a cigarette—it will assume a shape and a meaning, a weight and a force.
It would be easy and satisfying to say that I stopped singing because of the crack in my throat. It would be false. It’s true enough that there was one. There was a fight with a lover that turned ugly, a forearm pressed hard across my throat
My face burned with rage, with shame, with humiliation. I was failing openly, blatantly, at the one thing I still somehow, in the back of my mind, expected to be perfectly capable of doing after more than a decade’s silence.