Saturday, November 23, 2013

If You Want It, Be Determined!

Day 66: Nov. 23, 2013

I remember the first time I walked out onto a stage as part of a professional symphony orchestra. It’s a stuck moment, lodged in my memory like a photo on a wall, or a home video that plays every once in a while when I’m least expecting it.  The time it took me to walk through the doors into the bustle of the stage was short. But the moment I felt the stage lights on my face, I also felt the twenty five years that had been my life hit me in the gut like a giant fist.  

When I as twelve, I switched to the violin teacher I would have until I was eighteen.  She was old and sort of pissed at the world.  She always said, full of conviction, that a life as a professional musician is HELL.  I didn’t mind her saying that. I never once imagined I would be a professional musician even in my senior year in high school when I auditioned for lots of music schools. I got into them, but didn’t go. It wasn’t the life for me.  And I was surely not good enough to go to those schools for real, and what would I do once it was all over?

But then, while teaching sixth and seventh grade English and History after college, I decided I wanted to be a professional singer song writer.  Makes sense.  Because that’s an easy easy life. Good money too. Thankfully, a month of guitar lessons inspired me to pick up the violin again and that spring I decided to quit my job. I had three months to improve myself and audition for the Baton Rouge Symphony, which I did, and was offered a spot in the first violins. Holy Smokes, can I really do this, is what first popped into my head when that happened.

I did do it, and I am doing it! This fact still amazes me. The first concert I played in Baton Rouge was a milestone in my life that I’m reminded of every time I sit in my chair and wait for the conductor to wave his arms and for me to play.  It’s been fifteen years since that day I first walked out of the back stage doors into the lights and now, it’s old hat, and I can write my blog posts during intermission.  And I can relax and enjoy the music and resist the urge to weep when Juliet dies on stage (tonight we collaborated with some Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors who portrayed Romeo and Juliet while we played Prokofiev’s version of that piece.)

And just to say, having a grumpy violin teacher was not all bad.  She taught me how to be the teacher I want to be, which is demanding, but fun, and positive, and encouraging! I love to tell my students my story and to let them know that if they want it, they can have it.  And that they have to be determined.  Isn’t that what life’s all about? If you want something (and you have a support crew (THANK YOU, to my support crew)) be determined, and you just might get it.

Coffee: no disposable cups bought today. I had a lovely turn around the grocery store today, completely alone with my decaf, and to celebrate, I ate an extra chocolate square.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Well folks, we're fast approaching $100! Today, three emails from readers I've never met (!!) came in to describe their reusable cup usage. So, we're up to $90. If you use a reusable cup, send me an email (, a text or a FB message and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


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