Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Last Friday as I was doing my Tweet 'n' Sing-alongs, where I shout out the SONG OF MY PEOPLE to my followers, the delightful NikkiMcCormack stopped me in my tracks. She asked me “Are there any SECURE writers?” I really had no answer and had to stop and think. I haven't even PUBLISHED, although, my blog posts were stolen and posted on another site, and I had to threaten legal action to get the site to take them down, so they are apparently good enough to steal. But is any of my writing good enough to ask people to fork over their hard-earned money for? I'm too insecure to find out. 

My darling Nikki, gave me her consent to show the world, that she is in fact, a jumping spider whisperer. 

The legendary “jumping spider whisperer”, the afore-mentioned Ms. McCormack IS published and is a superb writer and I really don't even know how to get a quarter of the way to that point. I understand a lot of work, editing, gnashing of teeth and crying is involved. I have enough of that going on right now in playing the viola, after a long absence, due to a motor disorder, which a very excellent neurologist fixed, after 10 years of worsening symptoms. This does not mean that I can't pretend to be the “Renaissance Man” or woman in the 21st Century.

But, back to the secure writers, as opposed to the secure musicians? Musicians are hams, even when they're bad. Play it proud and play it loud, even when it's out of tune. I have a coffee cup that says “Tune it or Die” even though I don't drink coffee. I take it out of my case, backstage, when I'm warming up, to set up a perimeter. I have perfect pitch; you don't work on it or earn it, you're cursed with it, and boy howdy, is it a curse. Some of these cats need to find new jobs, use mutes, or play pianississimo, not fortississimo behind my back, when I don't know they're the. . . HOLY CRIPES ON A CRACKER! WARN A PERSON! IT SOUNDED LIKE A GARBAGE CAN LID! It hurts to hear things played out of tune; it also is weird to hear things played in different keys than they were originally written in, say for instance, the "Hallelujah Chorus" which was originally written in D Major and I played it once in C Major. It was just. . . odd.
I think perfect pitch is much like eidetic memory. I can go years without hearing a piece, or playing it, and I know exactly what note it starts on. I thought that was weird until, in college, my viola professor said, don't you know you have perfect pitch? D'oh.

I remember hearing a story about a rather well-known and very good writer, who went to another author's book release party. There were several other writers there as well. The first author greeted his host, got his drink and cowered behind a potted plant for most of the party, too afraid to mingle. Across the room, he saw several other refugees hiding out from the mingling part as well. He spent most of the party in his little hole, until he felt he could safely make his good-byes and left.

This cracked me up; such a downer that you know it's NOT true!

Actually, good musicians are so very critical about their own playing, but what musicians do is but a moment in time and then it's gone, as opposed to what a writer does is forever. We're constantly trying to perfect our technique, so that each moment is a gem, each one is memorable. The best we can do though, since we never truly master these beasts; the violas or violins or cellos, or whatever, is we learn to minimize the flaws and bring out our virtues. I've been told I'm really good at playing during the rests.

I don't know what I'm working on, as far as writing, at present. Back at the end of May, we finished our symphonic season with a superlative performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, for Big Orchestra. This symphony probably saved Shostakovich's life for it's stirring triumphant 4th movement, as he was in very dire straits with Joseph Stalin in 1936. We were still receiving congratulations on our performance two weeks after the end of the season, but it was a very schizophrenic time for me. My life partner, who had been ill for the past two-and-a-half years was dying, and we had Hospice in our home. I came home from that last concert, and never changed my concert black for the next ten days until he died on Wednesday, May 13th, 11:15 am. Not due to any symbolism, although it was fitting, but there was always something for me to do for him. His final coma was brief and his passing was so very peaceful; it was transcendent. I am just so very glad that he was able to pass away here, in his home, with me here. It is what he wanted.

Grief is a funny thing. We met in a homeless shelter 5 years ago, and I so wish that we would have more time together and I fought his decision to die (he signed a DNR) but that was HIS life, and as much as we loved each other, his pain was too terrible for him to bear, and going against him just made it worse. Once I accepted it, we made every day together as much fun as two people can under the circumstances. We said our goodbyes and "I love you's" a million times a million. When he couldn't speak, we said it with our eyes, until he was no longer lucid. My grief has been more for the things we could have done together, not in the things we didn't do. Before he fell ill and became sicker and sicker, we did lots together, so there are no resentments, no bad feelings. He is at rest and I am glad of that. I did something right and good, by helping a fellow human through his last days, and I would gladly do it again. I understand now why people become hospice nurses. I am over the deep grieving part and I have so many fond memories of him. Enough for the rest of my life.

Jim, talking to his best friend in Ohio.

I'll always miss him; he was so good to me, but I do him no honor by not moving on and playing and writing and doing nerdy computer things and gaming; the things I love to do. He knows that. So, this is a time for me to figure out where I'm going and what's next. Thanks for listening, #IWSG. And we're not really insecure; just monumentally confused, at times. But, dammit, writers are GREAT! (I'm not there yet, ever striving to be so!)
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