Mom used to snare me into things, be it piano or voice. Piano I got out of based on the fact that some guy named Pat used to drink Diet Coke and smoke cigarettes while instructing me on scales around middle c. He would get so annoyed with me when I would come in and play the damn song, on the wrong keys, without knowing a bloody note. I play by ear, don't mess me up with notes. Mom eventually let me quit. When I was seventeen a little jewish man moved in across the street. He had just arrived from Germany where he spent the 15 years previous in the Munich Opera. Mom made some cagey, backdoor deal with him that I would teach him to drive and he would give me voice lessons. I was never a part of this crafty scheme. But I went. And regardless of whatever else mom may or may not know or assume, I was kind of glad that I did.
His name was Robert and he gave me the fundamentals, which in turn, helped me enjoy a few occassions that I would otherwise never have stumbled upon. So twice a week we worked on scales and breathing. And confidence, which I still kind of suck at but can fake when necessary. I'm not going to be all stiff and say "no, no, I really can't sing... it was something I did for mom..." because I can sing. I can actually sing pretty darn well. I would dare half hazard that I would probably make it through to atleast the second round of American Idol. I would put money on it.
But I can sing and I would say that that silly little ability has dictated much of my enjoyment in certain music genres. I love jazz.. the slow burn of a broken heart that tells its story in rhythms and rifts. The kind that forces your eyes closed and your breath to deepen and note every imperfection and then question how something intensely beautiful can ever be considered imperfect. That's one of the kinds of music I like. PC tells me that one of his new favourite weekend pasttimes is to lay in bed and listen to me sing in the shower. That alone makes all those lessons worthwhile. An Audience of One.
Believe it or not, I was the music director of my church for 5 or so odd years. Back in the shiney white days and it was so much fun. It was one of those things that you could put a new twist on an old song... claiming those words as your own, as they were originally meant to be. To me it's on par with blessings and gifts and going outside of yourself at the exact moment of searching inside.
And of course, there's the moment of Def Leppard's VAULT and the memories that you can taste and touch and laugh at. Of moments of skiing at Mt Washington and renting a chalet with 8 other people and waking up the next morning after the bar and finding about 30. Of JB, Darren and Todd out in the entry way trying to light farts. Of Marcia and Ang shooting shots of Baileys on snow. One word: Sunflower. Of singing loudly and off key with Earl to Rocket. Of stumbling home from the bar with Smarts 10 feet ahead and more the a little disgusted with me because her buzz was worn off and she was ready for bed. Of falling down on said trip (due to Brikenstocks, which, FYI, were never meant to be great traction in packed snow) and laying on my back, looking at the stars and being fully conscious that I had fallen but still not entirely sure how. Of JB wanting to kill Braveheart.
We were invincible and we had a soundtrack.
I just emailed two people that I don't talk to, by choice. They had been on my head for a couple of days and I rose to the occassion. I'm no better or worse than many others in the world with my treatment of others, but tonight I thought it would be good to diverge from the pack and wish them a good holiday and that the New Year would hold good things for them. Funny how once I hit send, that I meant it. I do wish them well and that the New Year has good things in store for them. I have a feeling it will have that boomerang effect.
I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) (1819-1880)