Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I'm a musician. Vocals, instrumentals, jazz, classical, Broadway, standard, songwriting, lyrics, theory, whatever.  I love it. I would say that while I am by no means the best in any given circle at any one aspect of music, I am generally very well-rounded. It works for me. 

There is one gap in my music education, though, and a big one: I don't play the piano. 

Notice, it's not that I "can't" play the piano. I DON'T play the piano. 
I've given various excuses over the years, the primary one being that I can't get my fingers to coordinate that well, and that my brain only processes instrumentation up through the number 5 (allowing for 4 mallets, two-hand drums, valved brass instruments, bugles, bass guitar/rhythm guitar; excusing myself from most reed instruments, various flutes, lead guitar, and two-hand keyboard instruments). 

I was sitting the other day, sorting through my music I've accumulated through the years, and ran across my beginner piano books. You know, the ones I was "forced" to practice with as a child, full of stickers with my  sisters' names and my next to them, and a bunch of red-pencil notes, fingerings, and increasingly frustrated marks from my piano teacher as my sisters moved forward into more advanced books and I stayed behind. 

Suddenly, I saw those books in a totally different light. An image of my animated alter-ego popped into my head, calling me out on years of skirting my way around my musician piano-talent-development responsibilities. 

"Um, hey Self--why do you still have those books?? Seriously." 

insert mental blustery insulted sounds, that Animated Alter Ego would even ASK such a question.  Of COURSE I was keeping those books! For memories because my sisters would want them  because---wait, why do I have these, again??

As my mental protestations quieted, I began to listen to AAE: 
            "You don't need these books. You hated them growing up! To you, they became a symbol of competition between what was otherwise a very congenial truce between you and your sisters. You let those stupid little stickers, and the comments of one (actually very nice, close friend) piano teacher convince yourself that YOU CAN'T. You don't even like this style!  You are a totally different kind of musician, and you love it. These books are emotional clutter symbols. As if, if you somehow conquer these books (which, PS, you won't, cuz you hate them) you will undo all the regret of not learning piano younger, and not banding together with your sisters in mutual musical awesomeness. The unfortunate choice of not continuing in a different style, with a different teacher, the way you wanted to, and therefore cementing the idea that YOU CAN'T. Not setting a different example for your brother, who then ALSO thought these stupid books were the only path to piano mastery, and therefore also quit--even though he really did want to play. Just like you.  

               Scrap the books. Toss the emotional clutter. You do what you want!  You want to learn the piano, SO BAD. So do it.  Frankly, Sabs, you are a fabulous musician. Your brain can process all sorts of information very rapidly, regardless of whether the total pieces to track are over the number 5. That's a load of bull. And no more crap about not getting your fingers to coordinate, either, Miss "I-Freaking-Rock-At-Hand-Drums, Master-of-Craft-Crochet, Cooking, Dessert Designer".  Almost EVERYTHING you enjoy as hobbies involve your hands and fingers being trained. They are super smart. They can do it--they are just waiting for you."

If I had a list of "10-second periods of time which majorly impacted my life," this would definitely be on it. 

It was SUCH an awesome feeling to just toss those silly books right in the "go-away" pile. I knew my sister had good memories of the songs in that book, and the respect for those memories was the only thing that kept me from burning the whole stinking stack. I then turned around and messaged my friend the Professional Piano Player and asked to buy a copy of his beginner piano book. 

I'm SO EXCITED to finally learn how to play!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Next to Godliness

As I look around the room
I take note of the piles
and piles 
and piles 
of stuff. 

There are books and pain and anguish
over there against the wall
and towers of paper sadness 
spilling out into the hall

My eyes look past the mountains of 
clothes and loathing and guilt
and look toward camera droppings
stacked in boxes that I built.

The springed and stuffed table, 
with its pillows and memories and shame
is stacked up to the ceiling
with things I cannot name. 

My treasures lie amongst the mess
and sometimes I can glance
the kind of person I could be
if I but take the chance. 

I seize a sack, in hand and mind,
and--Seeing that I can 
release the obligation--
change "I Was," to who I Am.

As the hours tick by slowly
I clear the dross and broken dreams
and also trinkets, and I realize
that my space is--finally--clean.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Poetry and Resolution Origins

I've been trying to finish a poetry project. Unfortunately, the more I keep working on it, the more I keep returning to old topics and new faces. I realize that the best poetry I write comes from things that resonate deeply within myself. I have struggled writing about joyful times in my life, and the simple pleasures that bring so much happiness to my life every day. I also struggle writing poetry about the middle details--the people around me, the beautiful lands and cities of Utah, the politics and issues I feel passionate about, etc. I find it difficult to write when my mind is not focused. Instead of crafting words about the prompt, my brain just keeps going back to the underlying topic, whatever that happens to be. 

Today, my mind was not focused. As is often experienced by women of my age and situation, I will admit: my brain was twitterpaiting itself over a boy. 

Stupid brain. 

To distract said brain from aforementioned (and thoroughly unproductive) activity, I decided to take a more productive path. "Brain," says I, to my Brain, "Brain, I want you to actually use words, and come up with the spiritual gifts you observe in this Boyperson that you find captivating unto distraction--no, not yet, Brain, come back!...--sigh--.Okay, you back?  Focus, please. a-Hem. Now, compile those into a list, figure out which ones you want to emulate, and pick a few to work on this year. Come up with some systems of improvement, write them down--then pretend like you came up with them 10 days ago and call them New Years Resolutions.  Ready--go." 

And that's how 2014's self-improvement plan came into being. 

...Silly boys.


New Years Resolutions:  "And now you know....the REST of the story!"