Test of Time

There is nothing like the naming of something to test my creativity.

Today’s assignment is to consider my blog title and tagline. My first reaction to this assignment was a swift oh heck no.

Do you know how much time and how many iterations it took to arrive where I am? This blog has been in existence for years and I still remember how much time and effort it took for me to come up with a name and tagline that I liked. And you know what? I still second guess it occasionally.

This assignment is permission to second guess it.

On reflection, I really do like the name and tagline I have worked so hard to create. I like things with layers of meaning, which is what makes it so difficult for me to arrive at a name in the first place.

As my About page says, vivace con brio is Italian, typically used as a tempo guideline for musicians. As a musician, that appeals to me. It is a pace that is lively and spirited, which is how I would like to live my life. It’s not flashy or obvious; it requires thought and research to understand. Neither am I a flashy person. I like things to be understated and elegant. Plus the name is not limited to one point in time in my life to be outgrown when that phase passes. Life is always moving forward.

Perhaps the tagline could be improved, but I’m not inclined to change it. Life goes by at a fast pace and this blog is catching moments of them. I do not write about everything, but about select moments: humorous anecdotes, lessons learned, books read. They are moments in time, pieces of a life, but not all of it.

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music

This prompt called my name right away. Initially I thought it would be a simple post to write but as I thought through what song and thus what memories I wanted to delve into, I realized it was going to be a challenge. Music has always played a large role in my life, ever since I saw The Little Mermaid as a child and realized I could sing. There are many songs that bring back memories and deciding on one was difficult. I might go back and write about another one eventually, but I decided that since my love of music started in my childhood, I would go back to that time.

One of my earliest memories of music as a child isn’t of a specific song, but of a specific artist. When it was time to clean the house, my mom would put on a Keith Green album – on a turntable! – and proceed to clean our little townhouse while singing along to the music. I doubt I was very helpful, but the experience of “helping” and having fun while doing work has stuck with me. I asked my mom once why her Keith Green albums skipped and she told me it was because I would jump around and dance when they were playing, causing the needle to skip and mar the surface. Over 20 years later, any Keith Green song resurrects echoes of a simpler, more carefree time and makes me feel like it’s time to clean the house!

While childhood chores don’t always leave positive memories, these did. I don’t have positive memories of shoveling the driveway, but to this day vacuuming is something I don’t usually mind (even stairs, most of the time). Music still makes chores more fun. I hope that someday, my children have positive memories like these that pop up at the sound of a familiar tune and someday, when my mom is no longer here, the music will still remind me of fun times spent living together.

The Sound of Silence

This week’s Daily Post Challange got me thinking about the sounds all around us, some significant and not, and what it would be like if they were absent. As a ruminated, I remembered something my sister and I asked each other while we were growing up:

If you had to choose between being blind or being deaf, which would you pick?

It’s one of those questions you ask a child when you’ve never experienced living without a sense and this post is by no means a thorough examination of the each disability.

My sister and I are nearly complete opposites so, not surprisingly, our answers were different.

My sister would choose to do without hearing. I can’t remember her reasoning, but I’m sure it was well-thought out based on her passion: visual art. She spends her free time taking photos, creating charcoal drawings and paintings (to see some of her work, you can visit her website). It shapes how she mentally “sees” the world. To her, not being able to see the beauty around her and capture or recreate it in some format would be unfathomable.

I, on the other hand, would rather be blind. Sure, I appreciate nature and the beauty of God’s creation. New ZealandThere is something captivating about the wild, untouched mountains of New Zealand or the endless billows and rolls of clouds as you fly above them.

 

But nothing takes my breath away like that silent moment immediately following a triumphant chord that rings in harmony. Music surrounds me nearly constantly. Well-performed vocal and instrumental music can wrap around me, wiping any other thoughts from my never-ceasing brain and carrying me away with its ebbs and flows. Imagining a world of silence leaves me feeling alone and isolated even when I picture people surrounding me on all sides. But for some reason hearing them without seeing them is not nearly as scary.

Of course there are things to miss about either one. I imagine running without sight would be difficult. Driving would be impossible. Interacting directly with people who aren’t familiar with sign language could be a challenge. All of which are navigated gracefully by people every day who didn’t get a choice in the matter. But it’s an interesting hypothetical exercise to step back and think about how your passions shape your choice.

Think about that one for a minute. Which would you pick?

A Singer’s High

There is something incredible about the moments of silence that follow something powerful. For just a few seconds, everything pauses to absorb the impact of what has just occurred. There is no rustling of papers or jackets, no coughing, no speaking; you can still hear the ringing of the words or notes that came before. Everything is suspended in the previous moment, like they don’t want to give it up so they’re going to extend it as long as possible.

Recently, I had the opportunity to perform in two shows and then attend one all in the same weekend. Even though it was a long and tiring weekend, it was a great one for just this reason. All three shows had several moments like this. They lift you out of whatever fog you might be in, whatever worries or physical pains are bogging you down. It’s incredibly hard to describe to someone .

I love that moment. I get passionate and excited about it. It’s my favorite part of performing – the moment when a song is over and everything came together and the audience in enraptured. As the director’s hands come down, I can’t help the huge smile that crosses my face. If there’s a singer’s high, that is it.

resurrecting the applesauce name

I would like to thank the gods of Apple who invented the iPod.  And who made my kick-butt iPhone capable of playing music.  It is this genius that gets me through the tedium of grocery shopping: navigating through mothers with screaming children, people who don’t know where they’re going (unfortunately, I’m often one of them), college kids who stand in the aisle figuring out who’s buying what…it’s much more interesting when you put it to music.  Plus, you don’t have to listen to anyone yell at you when you piss them off!

And while we’re on the topic of the awesomeness of the iPhone, I love the calculator feature.  Really.  Grocery shopping on a budget is much easier when you keep track of the exact numbers as you go, instead of just rounding and adding them in your head.

So, thank you, gods of Apple, for your strokes of brilliance.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers

I’ve discovered a new group!

Per Wikipedia, Scala & Kolacny Brothers is a Belgian girls choir that does arrangements by popular musicians and bands.  If you’ve seen the trailer for The Social Network, you’re heard their arrangement of Radiohead’s Creep.

I’m loving their stuff.  It’s haunting.  I’ve always loved choral music – a side effect of classical training and singing in choirs my whole life.  But they are awesome.

Unfortunately, iTunes only has two of their tracks, but Napster has more.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to start budgeting for music purchases…I wonder if I can justify it as an educational expense? Ha!

OD’d on people

I find it interesting that, when I’ve OD’d on people, I don’t even want to listen to music with words.

Instead of going to work today, I had the awesome opportunity to take a class on business writing.  A large part of the class was on editing, which is a recent obsession of mine.  The instructor was excellent, taking time to discuss punctuation in detail and recommending several great books.  It was a small class, about 10 of us, so participation was high.  I was in my element.  Writing and editing!  Love it!  But at the end of the day, I was done with people.  The hour-long commute didn’t help.  But I was so done with people that I scanned the radio stations until I found the local classical music station.  And it helped!

I’m weird, we all know this, and here is more proof: driving along in my lovely car being surrounded by quality classical music has long been a dream of mine.  When I was driving the Taurus, the idea of driving along in a new car with a good sound system listening to classical music was inspiration.  Today, I fulfilled that dream.  Thank you Volvo and WFMT.  And thanks for getting rid of my headache.