Remember the days when your parents told you you could do anything you set your mind to? They forgot to distinguish "anything" from "everything."
I went to a music-oriented high school. I took four years (and a summer) of Musicianship, learned species counterpoint--tutored species counterpoint. I played the violin, the piano, the recorder, and was an active songwriter. At one point, my friend Tara and I co-wrote an entire album of songs in one night (under the guise of the band name "Oceans Gray," which we also decided that night). I was definitely on the fast track to a career in music.
I was pretty much the laziest musician ever, if we're being really honest (which is probably why I sucked so badly). Well, lazy about everything but singing. This was partially due to the fact that I was also dancing something like 15-20 hours a week, and my high school was . . . challenging, we'll say 'challenging'--and all this equated to was a whole lot of commitment and not a lot of time. Which sounds like an excuse, because it was. It was partially because I wasn't looking my 'destiny,' if you'll call it that, in the face when it was staring at me. Who wanted to talk about gerunds and pluperfects when you could be dancing at Radio City Music Hall, wearing spangly Rockette outfits*? Or when you could be on tour with Fall Out Boy? I mean, let's ignore the fact that I started writing my first novel when I was 11 and the fact that the one time I got in trouble in English class was for daydreaming about my characters instead of listening to a Heart of Darkness lecture.
When I was in 7th grade, I won the famed Academic All-Star award given annually by The Fresno Bee. It was by sheer power of maintaining a decent GPA (which was not so much about smarts as it was about doing homework) while my mom drove me to a-gazillion-and-one activities. All the while, though, I was convinced I was going to grow up to be a professional dancer. Or a teacher, when I got sick of ballet class (sorry, Regine and Noel--I really didn't mean those things I said O:). You can imagine my dismay when I saw the article after it came out and the first line was (and I semi-quote), "The life of a writer seems to be calling Gabrielle Castro."
Turned out The Fresno Bee was more perceptive than 7th-grade-me. Didn't realize it until grad school, when I developed a bad case of hyphenitis and didn't fully recover.
*there is actually a video of this somewhere, minus the spangly.
What I learned: music theory is boring (sorry, Mr Jones), violin practice is also boring, and physical therapy from consistent is just repetitive and expensive (and eventually boring). It took me a while (and a couple of years of withdrawal), but I find it safe to say that writing is the most fun (and least expensive) of all the things. It also takes less time and I can sleep once in a while.
The conclusion: playing music for fun is MUCH more enjoyable when you have fewer expectations you place on yourself. Admittedly, I do miss choir. What I don't miss: rehearsals.
This has been another Life Learning moment with Rie Lee.