Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Soothing the savage beast

I have always been what I consider a creative person. I can't draw, and I'm not good at graphics, but I found other outlets to pour my imagination into. Stories, obviously. In high school, I discovered theater and spent the next ten years performing. Then I discovered film, and spent five years behind the scenes.

But in the past year, I've re-introduced something else into my creative regimen. Music. I learned how to play piano as a child, though again, it was something I merely became okay with rather than highly proficient. In junior high, I moved onto band, and I played flute for two years before they insisted that I had to be in marching band in order to continue. Have you ever tried to march and play the flute at the same time? You knock your nose a lot. I lasted less than two weeks in that.

So I gave it up for a long, long time. Oh, sure, whenever I saw a piano, I'd stop and run my fingers over the keyboard. And I can carry a tune all right, I suppose. But that was it. Then, 18 months ago, I developed this insane desire to learn how to play the guitar. Don't ask my why. I don't know. But it consumed me until I broke and told my husband that's what I wanted for Christmas.

This was in September. Two days later, he took me down to the music shop, we picked out a guitar for me, and signed me up for lessons. The rest is history.

Delilah - that's the name of my guitar; I named her that for seducing me with her sexy curves - and I have an interesting relationship. I had to take last summer off from my lessons because of traveling plans, and my lessons since have been sporadic because of real life. I'm still very much a novice. But I get her in my hands, and I lose myself. It might make me weird, but I'm perfectly content to just sit and practice chords and scales. I find it soothing. It's me time. With Delilah, I'm not a mom, with kids clamoring for my attention. I'm not a wife, with a husband wanting me to help with the budget. I'm not a writer, wondering when she's going to finish that last round of edits. I can completely let go and just experience the music.

There is nothing that rejuices my creative bones than that. I always write so much more, so much better, after having my guitar in my hands. I think we all need these little escapes, these mini-breaks that help us refocus. My guitar is mine. What's yours?

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