Wednesday January 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Let us write a few words about: the instrument.

It's been a long day and I am ready for bed.

Oh, the Canucks won their first of the season tonight. Wasn't pretty but I'll take it.


It lurks in the corner of the living room, gathering dust and regret. Holding tightly to both, it watches me. I can feel its gaze crawl across my skin.

It watches me read, watches me as I, in turn, watch mindless television shows. It sees me eat, sleep, clean - everything else in the room, the house, my life. Floors and walls cannot stop its stare.

It watches most keenly when I ignore it, neglect it. Which just happens to be all the time.

Filling me with guilt and shame, it reminds me of the long ago lessons that my fingers have forgotten. No words are needed for this, I just need to glance in its direction.

Daunting and debilitating, this supposedly inanimate piano.


Greg said...

Go Canucks! I thought ice hockey was never pretty...?
That poor, neglected piano. They sit in silence and suffer so much :( Though yours sounds like it's found a way to make itself felt at least!

The instrument
Isabella Bonfontaine looked around the dusty stone sanctum in the tomb of Aktenrah II. Sunlight came in on six rays through holes high in the ceiling, holes that had suggested to her in the first place that the pyramid might be containing secrets. All around her were stone cases of cubbyholes, a little further away was a clear space on the floor, and beyond that was a ancient-looking wooden chair that... yes, that appeared to have rockers.
"What are we looking for in here?" asked James Dalrymple, the Egyptologist who kept insisting that he was in love with her. He was twenty years younger than her, taller, fatter, and sweated too much.
"An instrument," said Isabella. "A very valuable instrument." She moved to the cubby holes.
"What, like a snake charming flute, or a harpsichord?" James walked over to the chair and prodded it. It rocked.
"No," said Isabella, a faint smile playing over the half of her mouth unaffected by her stroke. "A legal instrument." She pulled a papyrus scroll from a cubby hole and very delicately unrolled the first part to see what was written at the top. "Aktenrah II wasn't called the Librarian king for nothing, you know."

morganna said...

She longs to play piano
Turn the music in her head to reality
But first she must learn.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

For some reason I find today's bit fascinating, seeing a piano in such an intimidating light, when for me it's an object of oddly-profound affection for me. Most of the old masters say--or have said--that they were never fully satisfied with their playing until well into their 40s or 50s, but I'd be willing to bet they're lying if they say it took that long to fall in love with the instrument.

My friends tease me and say that the piano is alternately and simultaneously my child or my lover, but I can't really deny it: When you spend that much time over so many years with something, you can kind of grow extremely attached to it. Of course, it being an unwieldy instrument and I being a student makes it a little hard to stick with one piano. So in the lover sense of the affection, pianists could seem a bit unfaithful to the actual individual instruments. But it comes with the territory, and although they sound different a piano's a piano, so I guess the romance is with the general instrument. The child bit probably comes from my nigh-aggressive protection over the instrument, regardless of whether it's one I actually use. It's very difficult for me to watch people move pianos, I'm far more likely to judge you if you err on the side of misuse, and God help you if I find out that something broken happened because of your mistreatment.

And when you spend any great amount of time with something, one of the tendencies is to name the thing, and at least with me pianos are no exception. The Steinway at home is Oliver (who was the subject of a poem I did two years ago; the main one I use at school is Sergei, and the back-up is Tom; and the one I rented whilst abroad was Zazvora, the Czech for "ginger" feminized.

Piano is an incredibly grounding thing for me. As a student I have a couple places I call home for some period of time, and I move back and forth between those places, and especially when those places are new it's unsettling, more than one consciously realizes. But, amidst all the restabilizing and rerigging of routines, my practice routine is one that stays almost exactly the same; the only things that change are which piano I'm using and where said piano is.

So that's what I have to say about that.

Marc said...

Greg - hockey can definitely be pretty. I'm sure the internet is full of videos of beautiful goals :)

I do rather enjoy your Isabella tales, and there are some intriguing details in this one. That rocking chair has captured my imagination...

Morganna - yeah, that whole 'learning' business tends to get in the way of a lot of plans...

g2 - I thought this prompt (and my response) might catch your attention :)

Very much enjoyed this bit of insight. Love the names you've chosen :)