Variations at the bottom of the ocean
May 8, 2014
Snuck into the Sorbonne and borrowed the grand piano for a couple of hours today. I hate this time of year because of exams and the dumb summer heat settling in way too rapidly for my liking ; the only thing that makes it worthwhile is that it usually gets quieter in the hallways; some are already done with classes, others just stop attending any, which means the classrooms and the lecture halls with the pianos tend to be empty a lot of the time. I still can't help but play super softly with the una corda on and get embarrassingly jumpy and startled and nervous at the slightest noise outside, so half the time the hammer doesn't even hit the strings and my fingers just hit blank notes. I used to stay until late to use the auditorium after lit class was over, around 7-8pm, when no one was around save the few tourists taking pictures out in the courtyard, so I could make as much noise as I wanted and the only people who could snare and snicker and mock my lackluster playing were the gold figures on the painting above the board. Wearisome in its predictability. I can't help it, my favorite key to tinker and do ad-libs in (if you can call staying in the same key, except for one! supercomplex! variation! on the relative minor! an "ad-lib") will always be E major. I partly blame "Your Hand in Mine," but that key really is a lot. It is, to me, the most all-encompassing, the most engaging, vibrant, wistful, bittersweet collection of sounds and chords there is. Anton Bruckner said he associated the key of E major with the music of contemplation. I can see it. It's almost like the score playing in the back of your head as you look back on the most important moments of your life, days, months, years, however long later, as you wonder, "What if I had said, what if I hadn't said, what if I had, what if I hadn't." What happened to us, when did I change. Realizing, as you look back, that you ended up some place good, that you're okay after all. Loss is a part of life. Connecting with another human being is hard but worth it. Happiness isn't a lasting destination but a fleeting moment. The A and the D# tell you, "When you're scared, hold somebody's hand. When you feel brave, hold somebody's hand." The C# says, "When in pain, read a book. When in doubt, remember that you're a tiny speck in the universe, and that means that you matter, and that your fears do not. Don't jump out of the window. Don't take the pills." The G# and the B are, together, the epitome of comfort. "Breathe, laugh, smile. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." Don't look back too much; don't put your life in the hands of an uncertain future, either. Try to be content with chronic dissatisfaction. The home you're chasing will forever be elusive, but if you look close enough, if you pay close attention, you'll see small atoms of your desires start to drip from that dream that seems so out of reach, and if your hands aren't too slippery with eagerness, you will be able to catch some of these particles, mental stardust, and keep them carefully with you as you go along, as you tread that single path of yours, and eliminate all the million other roads with each choice you make. Hm. Gotta love my E major. (OH! Here's another hilarious pun! E major = English major! ahahhhahahahahahahahaaaaa someone slap me with a chair).