Sunday, September 07, 2008

Oh hi again

A number of years ago (and by 'a number' I mean something like 15-20) I bought myself a plastic recorder. At the time I had never even heard of a recorder and was shocked to find it was such a common instrument and in fact was often used to start teaching kids music. I had never seen one, nor heard of them until the time I actually bought one. Yeah, sad, I know. But to my defense I must say I do not believe they were used in my school, I mean I saw flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, xylophones and of course drums. But never once a recorder. So I think I have a vague excuse for being so ignorant of an instrument that's been around since approximately the year 800(C.E. or A.D. your choice).

In a burst of defiant "oh yeah, you THINK I can't play an instrument" ... (and by 'you' I mean me) I bought a seriously inexpensive Hohner Recorder. Practiced for about 17 minutes and promptly forgot about it. Probably due to the fact that I was too busy doing god only knows what.

The past few weeks (or more, I have no sense of time lately) have been stressful far in excess of what they ought to have been. I had a little 'girl' issue and while I'm normally pretty cool about going to doctors and having tests for some reason this one really took hold to the point that I was literally shaking last Friday when I went to have a consultation with the Oncologist. Ovarian cancer is no joke, and the fact that it is so difficult to diagnose makes it very tough to find early. Thanks medical researchers for working so hard on that one. Yeah. So I was pretty much a basket case. And I have not been myself even a wee little bit. Readjusting to going back on Zoloft wasn't even a part of this one. I was just freaking out.

I was also absurdly unproductive. I'd get up in the morning, spend the day doing pretty much nothing and oh lookie, it's time to go back to bed. And I wouldn't even notice how much time had gone by because I was so preoccupied with 'keeping my mind off it'. Because that worked really well. Uh-huh.

After weeks of this sort of nonsense I decided it was time to DO something. So I decided to paint my hall closet. I have left-over paint from the great apartment redo so I went to work on the inside of the closet which was one of the few spots in the apartment that was still white. While dumping out the closet I found the recorder.

That afternoon waiting for the paint to dry so I could put back the things that weren't getting donated or thrown out I heard what sounded like a kid practicing, of all things, a recorder. It went on for about 10 minutes and it was clearly early on in the learning process and very clearly a recorder. So I dusted the poor little guy off and hit the internet for 'how to play a recorder'. I thought 10 minutes a day was something even I could do; something I could commit to and not feel overburdened with guilt if I missed a day. It's September, back to school time, why not try to relearn how to read music, and actually learn to play an instrument that you could play a melody on? Why the hell not?

So I've been practicing for a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of an hour every day. I have not heard that kid practice again since that initial 10 minutes and now I wonder if I really heard it at all (cue the Twilight Zone music). But I've learned the fingering for 5 notes - whoa... sloooow down! And while I'm still clumsy with it, and given the way my hands cramp up I'd be surprised if I ever get really proficient, but I'm getting better. Maybe in a few months I'll even be able to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, or something equally compelling, without squeaking. I'm thrilled that it doesn't bother the dog or the cat. I figure if the notes were really bad Basil would absolutely be making a fuss. So maybe I'm on the right track.

In the meantime the Oncologist set my mind at ease in that he saw no reason to believe that I have anything other than a simple cyst - and even better - one that doesn't require surgery. (Which is really great since I no longer have health insurance and I live in the United States of America where it's okay to have a socialized school system, police force, fire departments, etc. but not socialized medicine. HELLO? And thank you Mr. Nixon you sonofawhore. Sorry, no, I'm not going there right now because I don't want to get myself riled.)

Any way. I'm pretty damned delighted and I'm going back to practice my 5 notes for another 10 minutes. Look out Twinkle Twinkle, IT'S ON!


Bella said...

Not being a musician myself, I hadn't heard of a recorder until I read this post. So I guess you shouldn't feel bad. :) I think it's great that you took this up again. It will be a great way for you to learn something new, express yourself musically, and have some fun while you're at it.

Thank goodness you got the OK from your doctor about the cyst. I'm so relieved!

I hope the music helps you regain a sense of calmness.

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Oh, you'll have to practice up for our blogger meet up! I had a wood recorder that I played from about age 8 to 14 but haven't touched it in years.

Joy Keaton said...

Bella - thanks and I don't know if the 'music' such as it is will calm me, but at least it's fun. :)

JT - That's awesome! Of course now I'm very nervous about showing off my deep knowledge of B A G C and D in front of a pro!