Tag Archives: music

Most of the Talents Are Ones I Don’t Have

9 Oct

I have always wanted to play the piano. That’s not true — not always — but since being a teenager I have. I wanted to be at the bench, pounding away while singing into a microphone and making people want to dance (more Jerry Lee Lewis and less Tori Amos). Every time I hear Elton John, I see myself gingerly bringing “Honky Cat” to life. Exploiting all the jangly glory of those keys. On the softer side I hear Chopin and envision myself swaying passionately from side to side in a sweeping movement while being intertwined in the melody of “Fantasie Impromptu: Opus #66”. It’s closely related and only marginally tailed by my other dream of dancing. Without really thinking about it, my imagination’s eye starts rolling film of me — all bendy and powerful — dancing in the fashion of the 80’s “Fame” movie. It’s intense in my heart. Like the feeling you get when you start to really think about your favorite desert: it’s so good and so real you can almost taste it, but outside your power to create, or recreate.

My dancing career began and ended when I was six, though, on account of the high cost of lessons, and the work of taking me to a class (I also think my propensity for booty-shaking versus more ballet-type moves made my mother less motivated for me).

But the piano was always in the house. We always had our lovely, antique upright with a bench full of music. I spent a good deal of time playing around on it, and even had a lesson or two, but I backed slowly away. My sister was a masterful, self-trained pianist (still plays keys professionally), who could recreate Beethoven melodies on her own. In my elementary years I came under the impression that my instructor preferred teaching my sister (at this age I can’t recall if I “heard” her say that, or if I misinterpreted something else that was said), and I requested to no longer take lessons. I had such difficulty with my practice, that it seemed very plausible to me that I was equally difficult to teach. It seemed to disambiguate and simplify everyone’s life for me to definitively claim that I was not musically inclined, so I did, and so I’ve been.

It’s my nature to back away from other people’s passionate interests, or their lime-light. That’s not to say that I don’t eagerly leap into any unoccupied lime-light, but I find no pleasure in stealing another person’s thunder, as they say. I enjoy attention and recognition, but I don’t enjoy competition. The best way to avoid competition is to find my own — my very own — interests. Also, competing with my sister was paramount to competing with Beethoven himself, in my child’s mind: certain defeat.

As an adult, though, I just can’t deny that I love the piano. Maybe I’ll never get around to mastering that Chopin piece, but I believe I could learn enough to bring me satisfaction. I believe I could be good enough to sing along to. I’m not sure where to start…

With so many things I have this burning desire to “become…” but I just can’t see the first step. I’m tired of riding on the waves of life (like a flag tossed about by every wind), and only impulsively finding new adventures. I want to get There from Here, intentionally.

As for the dancing dream, I just need an empty warehouse and some awesome song blasting from the tape deck of my nearby VW.

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No Two Hours Alike

24 Jun

I’m wearing headphones right now, listening to Van Morrison sing “Tupelo Honey”. It’s a little after nine o’clock tonight, and I’m hoping to go to sleep soon. The song is repeating for the first time now. Tomorrow when I get up I’ll set up a yard sale for my mother and hope to successfully get strangers to haul off the crap that has clogged her garage for seven years. Since coming to live here in April I’ve been attempting to make her home a better place, by using my youthful energy and my need to expend it.

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20 May

I haven’t been to a concert in a year.  This is officially the longest I’ve gone since being about 15 years old since seeing a live band in concert.  Going to shows was the substance of my social life, period, through highschool, college, and beyond.  After moving to Charleston I began working a 9-5 and HD was on a school schedule so the concert-going began to wane.  Now it’s like we’re completely different people.

The last show I saw was Bon Iver.  He performed his “For Emma, Forever Ago” album.  The HD had fallen in love with the album, but I hadn’t given it my full attention until we were seeing him live.  The album doesn’t incorporate drums into the songs, but on stage he used as many as three drums while performing “Skinny Love”.  It was one of the most emotional shows I’ve ever attended, not to mention I was about six weeks pregnant.

The opening band was Elvis Perkins in Dear Land, who I’d never even heard of until that point.  He was masterful, making new fans out of us.

Since then we’ve moved, HD began his new job, and then Young G was born.  I’ve finally found a babysitter, but can’t get G to take a bottle  yet.

This year just disappeared so quickly.  It sounds like such a long time to say I haven’t been to a show in a year, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve waited that long.  Years are getting shorter.  Then I look at my son and imagine us a year from today.

He’ll be about sixteen months old, and HD will be deploying. And he’ll be gone for one year.

Then I’ll update a blog to say I haven’t seen a show in three years, I’ll have a two-and-a-half year old, and be a combat-veteran spouse.  More gray hairs, more sag in my ass.  Less willingness to stand for three hours to see a band.

Time to seek out the local scene!