My house is a mess.

This is actually the usual state of affairs. I'm not a fan of dirt, but I have a high threshold for clutter. A scarf is tucked into the leather recliner, ostensibly forgotten when I was folding laundry last night. The blanket on the couch next to me is trying to ooze onto the carpet. There's a magazine or journal on the back of the couch that, when I look out the window, pokes me at the base of my skull.

Even with the clutter? I'm feeling pretty organized. Mostly because I spent 45 minutes this morning at the piano - my honky-tonk, have-I-tuned-it-in-the-last-year? piano that my folks bought for me when I was in 6th grade, and that I've carried with me ever since. It's bright, and a little worse for wear, but it's mine, and when I press the buttons it makes music. I made an appointment with the piano tuner for tomorrow, and sat down to see how bad it really was.

I won't lie - it's pretty gross. But I've played worse. (And let's be honest, with the lack of playing in my life, I've played better than I'm playing now.

But how I'm playing doesn't detract at all from the fact that I am, in fact, playing. Bach 2-part inventions (while keeping my foot on the floor - I'm a bit of a lead foot, gas pedals and damper pedals both), Mozart sonatas. Trying to get the fingerwork right on a Chopin waltz. Revisiting Debussy's "Fille aux cheveux de lin" and not only remembering all of the c-flats and f-naturals, but actually getting that shimmery inversion correct and in time. Aaaahhhhh... Notes on pages and fingers and ears and eyes all working together have a way of making me feel calmer, more organized, more capable. Dunno how, but it's the truth. And, since I've been doing it in one form or another for almost 37 years (oh sweet jeebus, that's a long time), it shouldn't surprise me that it's integral to my well-being.

I think that I walked away from a big part of my musical self when I decided that I wasn't going to perform anymore. I must've forgotten that the performing wasn't the thing I enjoyed, not really. I enjoyed the playing, the figuring things out, gaining speed and facility, speaking without words. And - no surprise - I still enjoy those things. I'm no pianist, and I wouldn't wish my practice sessions on any unwitting ears (the animals will just have to deal, I suppose), but I do love to play.

So what if the house is a mess? The mess will still be there after the next piece. And I just need to play one more...


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