Notebook exercise # 3

20160927_172327.jpg

Write while listening to music.

Sept. 29 Listening to music at half time, Jacob Hespeler High School, to the pounding of basketballs on wood, to the squeak of shoes; Eminem, but I don’t know which song. The music, the moment. Pounding rising beat and intensity. The girls huddle up and shout their little cheer. Music’s over. Game on.

The music is still in my head as I stare into space during a time out. It makes me feel excited, determined, pumped up. Cliches. How to express the whirling sensation in the blood, under the skin, like a flame licking kindling, burning up that dry wood, these old dry bones have life in them yet. I am exactly the wrong age. Not old enough for wisdom, not young enough for spirit.

20160930_170709.jpg

Write while listening to music.

Oct. 3 At the Beckett school of music. From behind closed doors, a cacophony of voices, instruments, songs, chords, melodies. A piano teacher sings along with her student, “One, two, three, four, One two three four, One two and three four.” Further away, the sounds of a piano being played by expert hands, a fluttering waterfalling of notes rippling over the keys.

From behind the nearest closed door, the one behind which my daughter is playing her violin, a lively piano bubbles up, chirpy in tone, and then her violin bites into the opening bar — a tango. She is slightly off-key. They march together, piano and violin, and suddenly the counting goes awry and they stall out, confused, and I can hear their voices trying to sort it out. Two competing pianos now pound at each other with the violin dancing its sprightly tones. Both pianos stop at once. The pianist behind the other door stumbles and hesitates, chopping out a four-beat march in a minor key, stopping and starting, a herky-jerky effect. At a patch of confidence, the speed increases. Then stops.

I hear again the rippling of notes from somewhere far away, rolling, rolling, effortlessly, decoratively.

On the drive here, I could not countenance the thoughts crossing my tired mind; listening to a song on the radio, a brand-new lively pop song that tormented me with its worn-out familiarity. My eyes could scarcely focus and I said, I can’t be this tired all the time. Because the thoughts wandering into my mind and tapping with some irritation on the bones of my skull, were saying, I can’t bear art. I can’t bear how profoundly it can fail to do its job. I can’t bear the necessity of selling it for survival. I can’t bear to make it. Elena Ferrante has been stalked for months so as to rip her from anonymity and I can’t understand why, can only see the pain of it, and how necessary her invisibility to her work.

All of this music sounds like the cacophony in my head, the crossed wires, and missed connections. The random pairings of discordant melodies and misshapen chords, the staggering array of possibilities that is yet, as yet, and possibly forever, incoherent. I can’t make sense of it. I can’t strip it down and hold its many shapes and piece them together again. I can’t bind it in place. I can’t even hear it. My powers are waning, if ever they were waxing, and I fear what I cannot do and I fear the effort wasted. Yet I can’t stop writing. I’m still writing. No matter the unthreading it leaves in its wake.

xo, Carrie

Notebook exercise # 2
Forget the pursuit of happiness

1 Comment

  1. Tinkling of piano keys is like a waterfall. Love that. I never thought to describe it that way, but that’s lovely.
    I had a commonly enlightening violin lesson yesterday, as a person approaching my mid thirties and deciding to try to take up music, where we discussed how my violin has been likely effected by the weather. My D string routinely coming loose. We talked and she explained a lot of physics of the violin that I never knew before. It is all so thrilling, yet challenging, from where I sit. Also, I did not realize piano and violin go together like they do. My teacher is more than ten years younger than me, but she’s been playing violin since she was four and piano since she was nine. Now she is in university, working hard, and going to be some sort of music teacher and teaching me once a week, how to possibly teach a blind newbie to change strings, she never put any thought into how I might do that, understandably. It’s an amazing learning curve.
    This whole post is simply stunning. I think you have plenty of spirit and wisdom left and to share. I know I’ve learned a lot from reading this blog and hearing you speak at reading/workshop situations.
    Thanks and the music keeps us moving and feeling. The writing is in you and hopefully me.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *