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Emily Grossman


November 19, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Soldotna's a lonely town for me, and November is a pretty lonely month. When I first set a goal of writing thirty entries in thirty days, I wondered how boring I would be. Nothing crazy exciting has happened this month--just the usual goings on for a violin teacher in the middle of nowhere. Most days don't speak of much except the weather. (Why, it was minus ten by the time I finished teaching today, but I wasn't surprised by the thermometer's reading; my violin had already told me so by spitting its pegs out during the last lesson.)

Beyond the weather, I thought it would be a burdensome difficulty to try to come up with something new to write about every day. Instead, as I sorted and tidied my thoughts each evening, I found valuable nuggets of wisdom to chew, like a dog with his nightly bone session. It keeps me busy. Not only that, but when I post them for the world to read, I gain the embrace of a supportive community that continues to fill a desperate void in my life, despite the massive global gulf that separates us.

It is very difficult to pour yourself out into your teaching and have nothing to fill you in return at the end of the day. The folks at the coffee shop, as much as I love them, don't really understand the joy of a fresh cake of rosin or a crazy awesome new string combo. But if I write about them here, I get a little tickle in my toes, knowing that there's at least one person out there who feels the same way. And we need this kind of connection in our lives, this communication of heartfelt interests.

We're a rare breed, us violinists. Only a special type of individual can persevere through the hardships in order to gain the joy of self-expression through this exquisite, romantically exotic time portal that is the violin. Take it from me: I've seen my fair share of quitters. If you're the kind of person who still practices and comes to your lesson even after two whole days without power and sub-zero temperatures, then you, my friend, were meant for the violin.

That's probably part of why I spend so much time alone. But every time I connect with my little internet community and I get a letter from someone I've never met, or a comment on my blog--any comment!--I feel like I can keep on giving it my best. Your connection with me means the world to me.

Thank you.

From Geoff Caplan
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 1:36 AM

What a touching blog - honest, sensitive and insightful. You have a true gift for writing!

And it's clear that you are an exceptionally creative and thoughtful teacher.

You sure have chosen an extreme place to live, and I'd imagine that there aren't too many soulmates in your little community. But I'm willing to bet that you're more appreciated than you know, particularly by your students and their families.

You do seem a little low right now, so I couldn't resist giving you a virtual hug!

From Randy Walton
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 2:35 AM
I agree with Geoff and I bet everyone who reads your blogs agrees. You manage to find joy and be thankful even when the power goes off. Your writing reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting: glimpses of life eloquently painted with words. You have many virtual friends!

From Emily Hogstad
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 2:55 AM
This lovely post has gotten me thinking again of how lucky we are to live in an age with the Internet. I would have so few friendships if not for it.

We are lucky to have you in our virtual midst, and I hope you won't ever let your perfectionism get in the way of writing again... :)

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 4:10 AM
Oh, if you only knew the horrible things I thought of writing, but didn't! I had a pretty scummy day, but nothing a little Mozart couldn't patch up.
From julie Littleton
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 9:13 AM
I love your blogs they are beautiful. I had a bad day too first had my dog put down. Old age had got to hard on him. Then soon as I stopped crying got news my mom died that morning 1400 miles away. I think I will spend my day playing my vso and being thankful for this site that gives me sanity.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 9:54 PM
Thank YOU for sharing your talents and insights!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 20, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Oh Julie, so sorry to read this about your mother! I hope someone is there to give you a hug and hold you together through this painful time.
From Anthony Barletta
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 12:47 AM
Please know that you are an amazingly gifted, insightful and sensitive individual - as writer, photographer, violinist, teacher and who knows what else. Yes, you have a devoted fan club at

Julie, I feel your pain. I wish you the strength to push forward to better times.

From julie Littleton
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 4:08 AM
Thank you both. I will be thinking of your talent as a writer when I write a letter to give my brother he refuses to give me the family violin that was promised me since I was 5. Its a very old violin from my great great grandfather in Germany who taught violin. He carried it under his arm in one of the world wars. Grandpa promised it to me mom knew this. I am the only one alive now who knows its story. It is such a sweet sounding violin, loads better than my vso.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM
Julie, let go. My grandfather had an old fiddle that carried all of his tunes, and when he died from Alzheimer's, his "wicked" stepwife had him will everything to her, and I never saw any of his instruments again.

The value lies in their heritage, and you can keep this flowing forward with your own passion and desire, regardless of what your medium happens to be. Save some money, ask for some shopping advice, and move forward.

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