19 February 2010

cello diptych polaroid
This amazing diptych is by This Is A Wakeup Call. I am devastatingly in love with it. Also, with cellos. In theory, at least.

I am slowly realizing that loving the sound of cellos, and loving the physical size and shape of cellos is not the same as loving learning to play the cello. Not really the same thing at all.

In fact, I kind of hate the learning. I think.

Secretly, I’ve been expecting to wake up one morning and suddenly be fully capable of knocking out any of the six Bach cello suites. As though Yo-Yo Ma and I, or Pablo Casals and I had done a complete skill swap in the middle of the night. And I could sit in my chair, all demure and unassuming, and ta-da! beautiful music will pour forth when my bow glides across strings. I have been expecting to master the instrument a la Chuck, whereby the database of the last four hundred years or so of mastery gets subliminally embedded into my brain.

I have been waiting for this instant transformation to cello virtuoso to happen – any day now – for the better part of a year. Here is what I’ve discovered: it’s not going to. Not ever.

And so, I was nearly on the verge of surrender. Resign, I consoled myself, and accept this as a lesson in my limitations. But then: a turnaround.

Here goes:

1. Accept it.

I have been a crap student, for quite a while already. I have been downright slothy about this process. Also, I have a nearly pathological aversion to push myself to succeed in something I am not naturally good at (French, I am thinking of you). As a saving grace, however, I have a deeply ingrained disgust at the thought of quitting something simply because it is hard. Usually, this is just the special way I torture myself. But maybe it could also be a tool for transformation. At any rate, a little chopping wood and carrying water could do me good.

2. This is about the cello for now, so let's work on the cello.

Alright. Ok. This will be hard. Especially on those nights when I have practiced the shift from second to third position a millionty times [or, you know, ten times] and my pinky still stubbornly refuses to find D from E. I will breathe and work through this [I will even remember to not let the frustration add tension to my bowing hand]. Also, I will not get bitchy and short-tempered if sound like crap the next night too. Or I won't let my disappointment that I still sound like crap the next night balloon into an all-out tantrum that puts the kabbash on practice the second a sour note is heard [baby steps].

3. But of course you do get results eventually.

Oh, I am ever hopeful, but let's not jump too far ahead.

Anyway, this about more than how I eventually sound when I play. This is about learning to be the kind of person who works for something. Works hard. Works long. Works patiently.

And yes, this is part prayer, part plea, part wishful thinking, and part hope. So it seems fitting, then, to end with this:


[And also maybe some wishes of luck from you wouldn't hurt either.]

15 February 2010

morning in two panels

I like mornings best when they are slow. Luckily, today's is right up my alley.

11 February 2010


41/365: view from the train


40/365: daybreak

(I guess it's easy to see where my head's been lately.)

09 February 2010

(This editor's heart could nearly burst.)

08 February 2010

honeybee_collage circles