December and the holidays makes me feel mostly not-whole. Pull me away from my writing, violin playing/listening, my alone time, and I get moody. I hate shopping. I hate inane cocktail party socializing. No fellow writers, classical music lovers or artistic types ever to commiserate with (they all managed to avoid the event). Extended family gatherings… well, thank goodness for jug wine, that’s all I’ll say.
Beethoven. Talk about mostly not-whole. Whenever I listen to his music, I want to know where he was at in his hearing loss. That bittersweet beauty in the slow movement of his violin concerto – where did that stem from? What isolation did he find himself?
Isolation and creating art—does the latter necessitate the former? Would a hearing Beethoven have produced the emotionally complex masterpieces the deaf one did? And how do the seasons affect the equation? December is a time of isolation and darkness, even when you live in warm, sunny California. It’s the winter solstice, after all. I can feel the primal call—my soul yearns to hibernate. It wants to skitter far from people, from bright lights, from chatter and mindless holiday pop tunes. It wants to listen to Beethoven and muse existentially on life and death. When I can’t have this, I get crabby. Very crabby.
But fortunately, God created headphones and car stereos. Invariably, at some point, I can slip away and find the solitude and music that nourishes me. In my car, I pop in Beethoven’s violin concerto, for the 111,000th time, and feel the instant jolt of gratification and relief as Beethoven’s music surrounds me.
I’m whole again.
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