Haunted Music

Yay! Tuesday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week! Why, you ask?

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IT’S SLICE OF LIFE DAY!

 About this SOL: I’ve been wanting to post this story for awhile, but I’ve been waiting for the right time. The weird thing about writing is that sometimes when I write I am still unsure of what I actually mean. Luckily, I have an awesome writing prof (Everybody say hi to Mike!) who had us watch the well-known TED talk by Ken Robinson on “Why Schools Kill Creativity” Yesterday. As I watched the talk, I realized that the slice that I wrote is all about the unbridled creativity of childhood that we all seem to “grow out of.”  Anyway, this SOL is inspired by my childhood piano lessons, during which I didn’t truly learn to read sheet music until I had been playing for about 5 years. A few weeks ago, I went to observe my old piano teacher’s daughter’s music classroom, and when I entered their house in the morning before school, so many memories of growing up in the arms of the grand piano all unexpectedly hit me at once. This Slice is what happened as a result: 

 Haunted Music
The young girl walks with her chin tilted upward, directly to the book-covered grand piano. She plops her canvas bag haphazardly beside her and climbs onto the bench. Her feet dangle beneath her, unable to touch the ground, swaying like wind chimes in a summer breeze. Her hands fall on the ivory keys like a ballerina’s as she steps up the the barre. She glances over at the woman beside her, a motherly red-head with glasses, and finding encouragement, she closes her eyes and plays. 
     Her fingers dance over the keys like they are puddles meant for jumping in. Her rainboot-fingers tip toe, run , and jump, occasionally stumbling, but she smiles on, a true child at play. She plays fearlessly, fast, and without hesitation. She grins with the confidence and pleasure of someone with the power to create. She is like an artist, painting carelessly just to see the way colors look on the canvas.
I blink, rinsing the last notes of the sonatina out of my head. The girl and her beloved teacher are gone, but the room is like a still life painting – seemingly untouched throughout the years. On top of the piano are the piles of piano books, dog eared and creased from years of soaking up students’ learning. Beside the piano still sits the stiff leather arm chair. The lipstick stained coffee mug waits patiently for the rare moments between students’ eager fingers and performances meant for two. As I sit in the swiveling lazy boy chair, I can hear my mom chastising me. “Sit still!” “Don’t spin!”
     I am haunted by the girl with the crooked smile and the absent two front teeth. She reaches out to me, offering a hand with the wide-eyes look of a girl who is unfamiliar to the shackles of failure – A girl whose ears cling with joy to the way her own music sounds, uninhibited by the prison of strict black slashes and bullets of a crisp sheet of music. I shake my head, knowing that I could never truly return to her, for fear of a wrong note or an extra repeat in a line of music unenclosed the those two simple dots that allow for such a decision. I am too afraid, so I clutch my thin sheets of music to my chest and spin slowly in my chair one last time before I tip-toe out, being careful not to disturb the girl’s music.

 

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 3:14 am  Comments (1)  
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SOL: Baseball, Memories, and My Running Quarter-Life Crisis

I’m really excited to unveil that I am officially pledging to write Slice-of-Life posts every Tuesday (Thanks again for everything, Holly Mueller!) For those of you who don’t know what SOL posts are, you can read about them here.  Anyway, this post is actually a combination of a post for today and a journal entry that I started yesterday, because I think they flow well together. Thanks for reading!

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Part One: Baseball induced Memories (March 31, 2014)
     It’s the first spring-like day on campus, so naturally every college student enrolled at BG is outside doing something – roller blading, walking dogs, playing corn hole, sitting on front porches – myself included. The weather is fitting, as it’s also the Opening Day for the Reds, which my brother has always pointed out is the real first day of Spring anyway.  As I sit here on our front porch, each breeze keeps bringing with it the hazy feeling of a memory. They seem to be stringing themselves along the spring breeze to wrap themselves around me in the crisp shade of my porch. I drink in the elixir of this rejuvenating day, which has revived even the subtlest shades of color from their muted winter hibernation. I feel as though I should be driving my little teal-green truck through Lebanon, windows rolled down, on my way to pick up Darby so we could hit some tennis balls for the first time this year (but probably do a lot more talking than hitting). Or maybe, I should be smoothing the last stray piece of hair into my stiff, over-hairsprayed bun as I leave for one of the last dance rehearsals before our all-important end-of-the-year recital. Perhaps, I should be pulling my glove out of my bag to warm up for my first softball games. But alas, I settle for sitting on my front porch with my homework. Maybe that will change; after all, the warm weather has already sent me baseball and memories. I feel like there could be a few new beginnings hidden beneath the breeze somewhere, too.
Part Two: How Running Caused my First Quarter-Life Crisis (April 1, 2014)
     After sitting outside yesterday, when the warm weather surprisingly returned for a second day today, I knew I had to do something about it. I feel like I must be experiencing a personality shift – I have succeeded in writing nearly every day, and now I decided to run, even after mentioning in my first blog post just how much I despise running. How could I not, thought? During this winter, we broke the record for most snowfall way back in January; hence, everyone is more thankful for the sun and warmth than ever. Sadly, though today was a sultry sixty degrees (which to students at BG is the equivalent of shorts and flip-flops weather), it was way too windy to play tennis, an activity I very much prefer to running. Welcome to Blowing Green I guess. So, my itching to be outside was so overwhelming that I made a sacrifice – I laced up my purple Nikes and turned on Pandora (Country – a genre I deserve for days I am nostalgic for Lebanon and my truck) and headed down the sidewalk. I wasn’t sure how far I’d make it – the wind can be pretty cruel.
     Anyway, I turned left instead of right – toward downtown instead of campus. The harsh wind felt smooth against my skin, which had been yearning for the feel of the outside air, unfiltered by sweatshirts and winter coats. I felt pretty confident, so I continued on, unaffected by the wind in my face.
     For those of you that don’t know, downtown Bowling Green looks pretty much like the center of any quaint, “small town” (Very much like downtown Lebanon does) except since it’s a college town, the bars are also sprinkled among the quaint and quirky storefronts. I ran along my favorites (storefronts, that is) – Grounds for Thought (used books and coffee – who wouldn’t want to live there?), Ben Franklin’s, Lola’s Frozen Yogurt, Panera. I ran slowly, unconcerned of the time or any need to return home. I was simply basking in the warm comfort that this town I considered to be a “placeholder” until college was over, had actually engulfed me in its unique charm and the memories I had made in it.
     As I reached the main intersection, I paused, looking toward campus. I had originally planned on going in a loop, reaching this far and then turning towards home. Yet, as I stood in the center of downtown, I realized that my breathing was steady and my legs felt strong: I wanted to keep running.
    
     I turned left and adventured toward the unknown – I headed toward the residential part of BG and away from the University. It was like I had crossed over some invisible line, like a dog whose invisible fence had been unknowingly turned off. It was subtle though: The houses were larger, with flakeless, fresh paint and neatly trimmed gardens. There were no beer cans in flower beds or leftover Christmas decorations on front porches. I had stepped over the line into a place of permanence – into the real town of post-college adulthood.
     As I continued to weave along the sidewalks in front of historic small-town homes filled with families who planned to live there longer than a brief 4 year stay, I wondered: Would it be this easy? Transitioning into a life of a fill-time job and getting up before the sun with the ease of taking a lefthand turn?
     I didn’t know the answer, so I turned my back to the question and retreated toward campus once more, comforted by the assurance that I still had a year left here, and even by the work shift I had tonight that would last until four o’clock in the morning.

 

 

Published in: on April 2, 2014 at 1:21 am  Comments (1)  
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