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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

TITLE: Confessions
By Ruth Neilson


Iíve hung out with music majors and listened to their endless conversations about operas, arias, and cantatas. Iíve even attempted to join the conversation only to make a fool out of myself in the process. Music. This topic was supposed to be an easy. Mostly because music was my life for over ten years. I have done it all: marching and concert bands, worship team, orchestra, and pit band.

Still I struggle. No fancy story to weave, not even a glimmer or a flicker of one of the many character voices in my head is speaking up. Why can I not bring myself to write about a subject that has been a part of my life for so long?

I quit band for the last semester of my college career and so many of my friends, both musical and not, questioned my decision. In reality, despite the excuses I gave my friends, I didnít know why. I just couldnít do it any more.

I dreaded every Tuesday and Thursday at eleven oíclock. The constant struggle to meet the expectations of a director who dealt primarily with music majors wore me down. I was drained, after each rehearsal.

No longer could I take mental trips during practice to whatever place or time the music emulated; I lost my passion. I missed roaming the open plains with the pioneers, or seeing the noblesí parade in their regal robes, even feeling the pain of a country torn in half because of war. I missed being able to become entranced in an ancient ceremony, or witnessing the miracles of creation and salvation before my mindís eyes. To be able to focus on the story buried within the notes was my true passion.

Somewhere, somehow, it vanished. Maybe it was because I started to write regularly, or perhaps, I just couldnít allow myself to relax enough to find the stories the last few years of college. Being thrust into a group that was primarily made of music majors forced me to constantly push myself harder. No longer could I play, just for the sake playing, but now, I was forced to play and endure the pressure of not being good enough.

I hated going to football and basketball games. They were three wasted hours because we sat and waited for fifteen minutes of playtime. Marching band was a thing of the past. Pleasant memories that I would dwell onóif I lost interest in the game or my homework that would accompany me to the game.

I still try to talk shop with my musically inclined friends. I still make a fool out of myself in those instances. I still listen to band pieces, go to concerts, and am even starting to see the story line in my mindís eye, but I wonder if I will pick up my instrument again. Itís just a matter of time though. But, until then, I will continue to make music my own way; through the clicking and clacking of my keyboard as I write.

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This article has been read 823 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 03/15/07
This is good. It's amazing how we often have trouble coming up with a story for the topics we know the most about, isn't it? I especially loved the last line about you making your own music on the keyboard. Isn't there some classical piece called "The Typewriter" that deals with this type of "music?" ;)
Dolores Stohler03/16/07
Really good writing. I think God has given each of us a heart for something which is to be our purpose in life. But it may take a while to discover this for ourselves. We travel a rocky road in which we trip and fall several times before we find that well-paved highway that leads to fulfillment.
Julie Arduini03/16/07
Really solid piece. Nice honesty displayed here, sadly too many of us keep plugging away when the joy of the project had long faded away. Great work!
Jan Ackerson 03/19/07
Wow! The payoff--the last sentence--was awesome!
Joanne Sher 03/20/07
Fascinating - and I LOVE your final sentence. I was right there with ya.
Myrna Noyes03/21/07
Truly a piece from your heart that reverberates with an all-too-rare honesty! You expressed your dilemma and confusion very well, and I think you were wise to step away from something that no longer brought you joy. Thank you so much for sharing this courageous piece with us!
Sara Harricharan 03/21/07
Heartfelt doesn't even being to explain this. Extremely transparent-I usually have trouble even trying to write something like this ^_^ -and very well done. I liked the honest, open style and tone. The title especially fit just right.
Sherrie Jackson03/21/07
This is scary. I was a music major in college. I joined band in sixth grade and spent years "doing it all," as you said. The band I was in in college met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at eleven. And I stopped playing my last semester.

And to top it all off, I had a heck of a time thinking of a story to write for this topic! Are you sure we're not the same person? :-P

Needless to say, I could relate to this story, almost too much. The thing is, I still enjoy taking out my flute and playing, just every now and then. Did so today. It's nice sometimes.

Thank you for sharing feelings that are oftentimes hard to understand, let alone write about.
Sue Dent03/21/07
Us creative people have a hard time finding what it takes to scratch that each sometimes. I started in art, might've made it to music if my brother hadn't hogged all the fame there. I now here I am writing. Also scrapbook. Or at least I did until I couldn't stand ignoring my writing. Yes, my keyboards a clacking away right now. Yours too, I bet! :)

Don't worry, I think you found your niche.
Sue Dent03/21/07
Each was supposed to be "itch." Good grief!
Karen Nolan03/22/07
Wonderful! Need I say more?