Quietly Alive

Jun 28, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Piano, as a word, comes from Italian, meaning "quiet" or "softly". The beautiful instrument is actually called the pianoforte, meaning "soft loud". It was the first of the keyed instruments to respond to touch.

Touch is something I treasure about pianos. They swell and demand, they suckle and carress, they scream and cry, they sigh and murmur, they hum and vibrate; the playing of them is so closely tied to happiness for me that I have no words for the feeling I get playing piano.

A piano is a a tender lover and an open hearted friend.

What would I do without it? How would I release the tension, the happiness, the grief, the passion that I feel when I sit at the piano and play? What could possibly bring me to those same heights?

Today I played Schumann's 'Phantasietanz' better than I ever have. Now, I play this piece at about half its intended tempo (speed). I played up the dynamics of it, in order to best wrench every drop of feeling from the piece. And when I play it that way, I discover as it is being wrung from me that it feels like a child, standing in an open airy white ballroom, swaying with an overpowering urge to dance with the adults. Not quite like a full-on wild heathen dance the way it does a tempo.

I reserve the right to shift the pieces I play so they most harmonize with my soul.

The great composers are closer to me than any man ever has been. Schumann for grief, Beethoven for loss, Bach for tempestuous feeling, Chopin for beautiful elation, Mozart for vibrant happiness. The list of my "favorite" pieces goes on, constantly shifting, depending on where I'm at as a person and what my mood is.

I quietly feel all that I express, all that I play. I am driven to tears, to laughter, to stormy-skied eyes, to bliss, all because I sit at the piano and I allow my emotions to gain the upper hand.

Nothing else in my life has ever come close to creating as powerful a resonance within my core as the last fading bars of a well-wrought piece of music. It makes me feel more alive than anything else I do.


Jun 12, 2010 at 4:06 AM
When I was young, I begged my parents over and over for a little sister. After a few tries that heartbreakingly did not result in my little sibling, eventually my little sister was born. She was so precious to me. Still is.

My wild, rebelious, funny, sweet, fantastic little sister. She's smart, too, but for some reason gets offended when I tell her so. Whatevs. She IS smart.

So, last year she fell in love. They've been a more committed couple than most married folks I know from day one. They are always together. Always. It was annoying at first because it meant that our constant togetherness was over, and also because it is so easy for her. She just walked into the relationship and boom, that was it.

I'm very very happy for them. They're a great match. And because of that, they have progressed with the alarming speed of the young, unwittingly brave, and happy.

Her pregnancy has been fun to watch, she's the best pregnant woman ever, totally chill,, sleeping and eating well, taking her vites, and generally not letting the world bust her calm, pregnant bubble. It's great. She's gonna have the healthiest baby ever.

And so yesterday my little sister was supposed to give birth. It was her due date. I guess that makes her overdue, because she's not in labor yet. Technically, the baby could happen at any time, there is no certain date in pregnancies, but it still feels "late" when you have a day on the calendar and nothing happens to come about. She wants me to come up a few days after she gives birth and meet the baby, so that's what I'm gonna do.

She called me up a few days ago. I answer the phone with the automatic question every time she calls of  "You in labor?" - she said no. But she had news... and paused. I hate it when people do that. I run through every possible horrific scenario, and torture myself. Why? WHY?? It's never as bad as whatever's in my head.

But it was actually good news. She had run off to the courthouse early in the morning (when did she start getting up early?). They eloped.

I congratulated her and told her to call everyone right away! And then I proceeded to call everyone I knew that Libs wasn't gonna call.

I wish I could have been there beside her, but what can you do... they love each other. They're committed. It doesn't change anything other than paper. They've been a done deal for a while now. If it hadn't been for me, they'd've never met. I was there when they met, and that was the true defining moment to be lucky to witness.

Weddings all over the place. What does one get for one's baby sister? I think I'll make her a painting. I'd make her a quilt, but someone beat me to the punch. She's too precious to me to even consider not making something personal for... I just need to start planning a painting. Flowers, maybe a vase of them, bright colors. Perfect for her. OK, I guess I figured it out.

My first niece. I have two nephews, but now I'll have a niece.

But in a few months I'm leaving Oregon. I'm headed to Lalaland. Yes, I'm moving to the city I hated. I decided it's not so bad, plus it has people there that I love. And people I do not yet know. But it means less time with Libs and Liz and their young ones. I haven't even met the baby I'm not going to see enough of. The one who's going to wrap herself around my little sister's heart and reshape her from a girl into a woman.

It's sad. But in LA there is the hope of progress. Of making friends, or building dreams into businesses, of crafting my life into something that sings. Or even finding a good guy to live my life with.

 I was waiting here for something big to happen so that I could leave. But honestly, I have to make my own life happen. Again. and again. and again. 5 years of  "meanwhile, back  on the ranch..." is long enough for me.

Plus, one of the reasons I was sticking round here is that my little sister needed me. She doesn't anymore. They're gonna be fine.

I've waited long enough. It's time.