February 2005

February 13, 2005 02:34

I'm in love with writing. As an art from, writing is capable of making the most sinister person appear wholesome, logical, and sincere. Wit can be edited and sculpted to great heights, and no one knows how much effort it took to create. If a word is written that needs taken back later, no problem. A simple eraser or mouse click can return the writer to a pristine state of perfection. Not so with performances, which is why I am scared so chicken to get up and put myself on the line in front of a crowd.

It comes out, the sound echoing and registering in the ears of the audience scarcely before I can hear it myself, and there it is, hanging in the air like a nose booger. And, once it's out, everyone knows just how bad you really are. Couldn't I just take a kneaded eraser and blot out that last line of music? It was just too harsh and inappropriate, obscene. No one should have to witness such a line of music. It doesn't fully and legitimately represent all those hours I spent mastering the skills to perfect it, going through it over and over, making sure it was just right every single time. And I cannot explain that it was a simple mistake, brought about by the intimidation of the silence that preceded it. The sourness of the phrase lingers like a cloud of gas, and the audience sniffs, squints, and looks away, embarrassed.

I would stick to writing, or art, and hide away my true self, so that no one will know the real me. I edit that out in the first draft.

2 replies


February 2, 2005 21:31

(Disclaimer: my sincere apologies to the people whose children were truly and unfortunately sick this week. You know who you are. This story is not directed at you.)

Somehow, I get the distinct feeling that, rather than me being the teacher, I am actually the student, and it is the parents who are teaching me. They think I don't know, but I'm onto their conspiracy. My next objective will be to find the ringleader and take him down. Here's the theory.

My parents have organized weekly meetings to plan out their next lesson for the teacher. Two weeks ago, it was cancellation policy. Last week, they teamed up to see how good my babysitting skills were. I spent about an hour and a half unpaid time watching kids who were both dropped off early and picked up late. What am I going to do, pick them up by their scruffs and toss them into a sub-zero snow bank and let the wolves chew on their purple toes?

This week, they decided to place more emphasis on the sick student policy. They discussed effective loophole strategies, perfected the timing of their calls to coincide with other scheduled lesson times in order to leave a message on the machine (vs. speaking to me personally), and then polished up their best stories, sealed with waterproof smiles. One at a time, they cast their lines to see if the fish would bite. And what was I armed with? Nothing. Sick absences form a gaping hole in my existing policy. Combine that with the coincidental fact that this is the first week of the month and checks are due, and I have little chance at gleaning any pay this week.

During my second-to-last lesson today, I heard the answering machine: "This is [enter fibbing name here], and my daughter is sick, so we won't be making the lesson this week." Her lesson is fifteen minutes from now. Wow, they had so much consideration to call me in advance. I know, she must have come down with a sudden bout of food poisoning and was perfectly healthy up until now. I should give them the benefit of the doubt, shouldn't I?

Heck no. I finished the lesson and beelined it to the phone.

"[voice of sibling]Hello?"
"Hi, this is Emily Grossman."
"Oh, you want to speak to [Food-Poison Annie]?"
"Oh, and how is she?"
"Fine, here she is..."
"Hi, is your mother there?"
"Oh, no."
"I just wanted to let her know that the lesson will not be refunded, and wanted to offer a reschedule."
"We'll just come next week."

It was obvious that the girl didn't even know her role in the plot, she forgot to even sniffle or cough. I should focus her next week's lesson on how to make a more convincing story.

Who wants to guess what the objective of my own lesson will be next week? Injuries and spiritual healing? (Oh, wait, already done that.) Mass migration? UFO abductions?

2 replies


February 2, 2005 02:31

I've never been one to name drop, mostly because I don't believe in it, but partly because I never have any names to drop about, at least none that would make me important. But today, while doing research on the internet, I looked up my old teacher and discovered that he was a student of none other than Ivan Galamian. Huh, didn't know that. I suppose at the time I was taking from him, I had no clue who Galamian was, anyway. But now, for some reason, it makes me feel a little more important inside, even if I shirked all the assignments he gave me and spent most of my time crying in the practice room or writing "Help" on the wall instead of practicing. I didn't forget the valuable things he told me, though. Yes, looking back, I see this, but too bad it was mixed in with all kinds of negative comments on how I would never be able to get anything right, even drawing a bow correctly. I can't think of anything positive he ever said. Not that he didn't say anything positive, but... One time, he actually said something positive, and to this day, it shines brilliantly in my memory; at the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. To allude to the general content of it, in some way he compared me to the best violinist at the University and said it was a shame I didn't practice because I had the ability to do more than that student could ever do. It floored me when he said that, right as I was quitting my major. If he'd said that from the start, I might have at least tried.

I put too much stock into what people say.

6 replies


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