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I have three short months left in France now before I get on a plane and head back to all that is "normal" in my life. It's no longer normal, but that's something I'll think about when I get there and have someone to give me welcome-home hugs. But I have been thinking a lot.

Next year I'll have two recitals; there is music to be picked out and worked on and loved to utter frustration and tears and hopefully indescribable joy and if I'm lucky some kind of inspiration and meaning. Next year I'll have classes every day. There won't be bakeries around every corner and kebab places where I never understand what they just asked me, but it doesn't matter because I just take a deep breath and say "TogopleaseAndcurrysaucepleaseThanks", and hope they don't ask that next mysterious question I am always anxiously awaiting. They never do. Next year I won't take my cello on the Indiana-Jonesesque little train that rattles through a dark tunnel with a miner's light on the front, passing by a sink and a roll of paper towels attached to the side of the dusty rough stone passage, that I always wonder if anyone has had occasion to use. I won't emerge up the steps and feel a little hint of pleasure at the gasps around me as those who haven't seen the Basilique yet come out of the métro and see it smack in front of them. I won't walk past my lion and say a little private hullo to him in my head. Next year there'll be sun and squirrels and people lying on the grass and the whirring of bikes and the cawing of crows. No more lines of smokers bunched up in little groups in the cold, or me walking across bridges and stopping to stare at my favourite boats, Hermès and Symphony Amadeus. Hermès went missing once, but he soon reappeared, along with the local swans that were removed to be cleaned after the river was too polluted. I won't walk past the amphitheatre and then stop in surprise and look back, the thought slowly coming to me that there were Romans there, I'm walking past an amphitheatre used after the conquest of Gaul...

Mainly, though, I've not been dwelling on Hermès or the conquest of Gaul. Mainly I've been dwelling on the shockingly obvious fact that my life is progressing. And on the second thought after that-- I might have to do something about it. What am I going to do with myself? Or rather, what kind of a life might I want? A Life! What an odd thought. On a shorter and less panicky time scale, the two most obvious choices for the years after UCD are celloing or doing whatever one does to become a music history professor. What does one do? I honestly have no idea what grad school's like. Would I like playing cello as a "job"? Could I even do that? What is it like being a "professional" musician? What is it like being a professor? If you're my dad, it means lots of coffee in the morning so you're awake enough to remember to bring all your notes with you for the lecture so that you can be sure to place them on the table and ignore them entirely. Then you talk to your students about cold chalk and kirsch and play your violin for them and write in apalling handwriting on a chalkboard about mysterious suitcases that are impossible to hold still. And they all think you're pretty crazy and leave lots of comments in your evaluations about how you changed their way of thinking or their life or in some cases their GPA if they're upset about that last test score. Would I be a good professor? Could I be a professor? Perhaps being a professor takes too much confidence and an aptitude for inspiring thoughts...

Then there's that third thought. It's a small thought, but since it's my life and I'm the one who has to make decisions, there's a little part of me that thinks, wait a minute. I can choose whatever I like. Yes, I've been doing a Music degree. Yes, I've been studying and practising and thinking all seriously and deeply and all that, and yes I could follow one of those paths that are ahead of me. Or I could do something else. What if I started writing novels? What if I could make a Life out of writing stories or creating worlds? It's such a silly naive idea. Maybe. But wouldn't it be something? Wouldn't it be something if I could do that?
Then the rest of me comes back and tells me to get back to Haydn because you know, you do have a rehearsal next week and did I mention it was in French? Also, the pianist wants you to have it memorised and you'd better start on that cadenza because you haven't actually practised it at all yet even though you've had the rest of the piece for months. And then I do.

(...but wouldn't it be something?...)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
I think you would write lovely novels. I'd read them. Why not start writing one now? You could join in on me and Marianne's chapter swapping!

I've been wanting to write a novel since I was about thirteen, but I have severe problems with it because bad writing makes my eyeballs bleed and I am always HORRIFIED when what I write is not perfect the first time it comes out (and sometimes it's pretty awful). And then I want to burn it and jump off a bridge. But this is silly and kind of like expecting to be able to play a symphony without learning how to play your instrument first (lol music metaphor). I am just getting to the point where I can acknowledge that the most important thing in writing is PRACTICE. GAH. Although some people seem to be geniuses who can just sit down and write a masterpiece without ever having done it before, I think it is true that most people have to cry an awful lot of bloody tears before they get an awesome finished product. I comfort myself by remembering that Rocannon's World was Ursula K. Leguin's first published novel. It is a very strange book with some interesting ideas, but mostly it doesn't work. But the fact that she wrote it and got it out of her system meant that later she could write Earthsea. And Mary Renault wrote about five really weird, problematic books that are not very much fun to read before she finally wrote The Charioteer.

Like it is really embarrassing to write something and read it over and know that if I read it in a book in a store I would put the book back on the shelf and walk away. But that's what editing is for. And second novels. And tenth novels. If at first you don't succeed, etc.

Anyway tl;dr writing is much on my mind at the moment.

And, of course, so is the end of study abroad and what it will mean to go back to Davis. And what being away for a year has meant to my life. I think in many ways it's given me a clearer understanding of who I am as a person, and of what I can do, and of what I need to do that I'm not doing. If that makes sense.
Mar. 26th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
These are my least favorite kinds of decisions, that you can never know whether you did the right thing until you've already failed or succeeded. Not to be discouraging or pessimistic, but in my experience trying to figure out what you want to do with your life just means trying things and screwing them all up until you find something that works. It's painful, but it's the only way to really know what you can and can't do. Of course, you're wonderful and I'm sure you'll succeed at most anything, so I wouldn't worry about it too much beyond just finding something you'll be happy doing.

P.S. they'll be three long months on this side of the atlantic <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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