Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Complications ensue

I was talking tonight with Charlie, a dear brillilant friend of mine from high school who's been through hell with me (he's in Mom's Cancer as the one who gets Mom the prestigous doctor who saves her life). Charlie was helping me focus my life plan, kindly asking me to reconsider having biological children, and...may have convinced me to keep my baby grand piano.

This problem is not new to any of my close friends or family, but is certainly new to my blogreaders. See, I have this very expensive albatross around my tiny porcelain single-lady neck. It's not easy to find an apartment that I can afford that affords me the luxury of keeping the baby I've had since I was nine.

I studied classical piano for 12 years, and it's not really something I talk about. It's perhaps the only thing I do JUST FOR ME. I don't perform for people like a trained seal. Piano is my only pure emotional outlet for my loneliness and longing and melancholy; and as mom said, I make the piano weep. (Again, picture Marion Dashwood). That's not something I share.

Besides, growing up I found playing Russian dirges and endless Liszt wasn't really a popularity contest winner among my peers.

But music is in my blood, and of course it informs all my writing and filmmaking. Particularly my editing choices. But truly, even when I write a script, one reason I'm praised for nailing mood and dialogue is because in my head I'm already hearing the musicality of the scene.

It's been an accepted conclusion with my next move (my lease is up), I'd be selling the baby. Because I have to get rid of half my stuff yet AGAIN, and this time I actually want to. I want to scale down, live more simply, and be in a space I can lock up and leave to travel or go make movies or join the Peace Corps or whatever. I'm done with being owned by my family heirlooms. I don't want to be the ancestral memory keeper anymore. And boy that piano is filled with pain.

But Charlie, being a classical pianist and proud owner of a Steinway upright, reminded me of fun times we had gathered around the piano back in high school. He remembered me just learning the Twin Peaks theme song and playing it at one of my theme parties. Gosh we were happy back then. He talked about the sound a concert piano makes, and how even if I only play it three or four times a year it could be worth it to my soul to keep it.

And the old family joke about me: that I could always sleep under or on my piano.

His new take? "Maybe it's like a Spartan shield. You either come home with it or on it."

Zut alors. He had to go and challenge my warriorhood.

Sigh. Now I have to dig deep and find my inner bulldog.

It's not enough to be a struggling, dissident female artist in the most competitive, misogynist, high-stakes industry in the world. Now I have to win carrying the weight of my underdog constituents and a 500 pound baby.

Well, if it's time for a female winner on The Biggest Loser, maybe it's time for Hollywood to make room for one more y chromosome-impaired auteur.

Hoo-ra masterchief. Bring it.

By the way, Charlie's other insights over the course of us drinking and eating dinner together via cell phone were equally compelling. As he said, sometimes we all just need to think a little more like Elinore Dashwood. He also reminded me of Juptiter's machinations in Cymbeline:

Whom best I love I cross; to make my gift,
The more delay’d, delighted.

I promise, gods. My delight would be infinite. Now.


Anonymous said...

Doing something JUST FOR YOU is important. It took me a long time before I understood the significance of doing something JUST FOR ME.

For sanity's sake, it is very important to make the time for myself and do something for me. All of my friends compliment me by saying how thoughtful and sweet I am. In order for me to do that, I HAVE to make sure that I make the time for myself first. Important to have that balance between "me" and "others". Sometimes I have to say "no" instead of always being available.

How wonderful it is that you know you enjoy playing the piano for yourself. Unfortunately, there are times where I am under a lot of pressure to avoid something that I enjoy doing just for me. It takes a lot of courage for me to do what I want to do. I call it being my authentic self.

Your friend reminds me of a good friend of mine. I count my blessings every day. I almost died. I was in a coma for two months and woke up on the same day my grandmother died.

Elinor Dashwood is one of my favorites. I aspire to be more like her - wise and sensible.

Lynda said...

I think you should listen to your heart, because it will tell you what the right choice is.

Jake said...

You yourself should always be your number 1 priority.

Michael said...

Hey, when in doubt write a musical. This way you can combine two of your loves. Even if it's only for yourself it will be a cathartic process. Keep the piano if you can. Living simply doesn't mean depriving simple pleasures, and playing the piano can be such a simple pleasure. To me living simple is not to have a lot of overhead that society tries to impose on you as important. Keep the things that have meaning to you. I can't tell you how many times just pounding away on my 15th hand upright made me happy, or inspired me to keep going, or gave me a new idea. If you can’t keep it make sure it goes someplace to be plaid and not to some random person looking for a nice looking accessory. I understand why people do that, but I pity the piano. I do have one other question, how big is it? I just am curious to know how jealous to get. :>) I love my upright, but I would give eyeteeth for a baby grand. I just don’t have the financial resources to pull one off yet. That is my present to myself if I ever sell a screenplay. It will be my concrete piece of “they can’t take this away from me”.

As a side note, keep on pulling. I am new to this game, but I have seen how cruel it can be. I love your writing here on the blog, and if you can pull even 50% of your sincerity and honesty then your work is awesome and it’s just a matter of waiting them out. You can do it!

Cunningham said...

My thoughts - being what they are and who I am - say that if anything is keeping you from moving forward, then you have to get rid of it.

I am of course, moved by the Spartan Shield analogy. However, I would also point out that a Spartan father taught his son the "art of war" and provided his son with his "first weapons" with which to train before the son went out and fashioned his own.

My suggestion would be to consider passing along this piano to a deserving student who has played for several years and is diligently pursuing that path. Perhaps someone in whom you see yourself at that age.

You can still play for yourself - there are portable keyboards and other tools you can use to express your feelings - while adopting the free, uncomplicated life you desire.

Anonymous said...

Spartan shield? I was thinkin' you wouldn't wanna end up like Helen Archer in "Ironweed"

I had a friend's girlfriend @ my house several years ago-we used our Kimball to hold pictures, but she sat down & was off on the Beethoven. I had no idea she even played, but she grew up poor & that was her one "thing", she'd go to the m. If you haven't blogged about it, maybe since it's that much personal to you...not to sound like something outta "Flashdance"

Anonymous said...

Piano. You will always regret it if you lose it.

Kid Sis said...

Well, you people are as confusing as my own conflicted inner voice! Thanks a lot ;)

I like Jake's simple sentence, spoken like a man. Geez, if women could make themselves a #1 priority I wouldn't have had to pay $700 for a course last weekend to learn how to make myself the #1 priority! ;)

Well, thanks for looking out for me everyone. Turns out I have to sell it now, as I have $15 in my bank account.