A Quiz

What event (or series of events) might lead to the following?

(‘scuse the horrible late-night blurryness in the below photos)

Thing 1:

(a paper chain)

combined with

Thing 2:

(the clock that almost ended my marriage)

resulting in

Thing 3:

(freshly trimmed, close-cut fingernails).

Can you tell what these three things have in common?

Consider:  loneliness and boredom.  Might they lead to doing something which requires short, neat nails?

Something like…


That’s right.  I’ve done it.

Or rather, I’m doing it.

Over a year after first mentioning the idea, I picked up my violin for the first time in six years.  It was – is – one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done in my life.  I know how skilled I used to be, I know my pathological inability to fail.  I knew what I was risking.  Honestly I feel so brave to have done it at all.

I missed this.  A lot.  Even though my ear is amazingly rusty, the muscle memory is so incredibly there.  I’d worried that I might’ve forgotten it all, but after just a few minutes of warmup my fingers were dancing again.  Sure there were lots – no really, lots – of wrong notes.  Sure my playing was rather halting.  But all the pieces I’d had memorized were still living somewhere in the deep reaches of my brain, and I’m slowly pulling them back up to the surface.  My sightreading (once a strength) is currently practically nonexistent and I’ve not yet even attempted shifting out of first position, but the feeling is still there.  Amazingly, ten years after I last played some of these pieces, every note is still living in my fingers.

I started slow – a Musette from Suzuki Book 2 which I played in a 7th grade recital.

May 25, 1999.  Just over eleven years ago.  Would thirteen-year-old me have been proud of 24-year-old me, as I labored at slowly picking out each note?  Or would she be embarrassed beyond belief?

Probably embarrassed.  Hell, 24-year-old me is kind of embarrassed.

But I kept at it – by the end of the evening I’d plowed through all the familiar pieces in Books 2, 3, and 4, and had started to feel my way through my Book 8 repertoire.  I still have so incredibly far to go, even to get back where I was in 2003 or 2004.

I used to be good. And with practice and the discipline that comes with adulthood and too much free time, maybe I can become that way again.

But wow.  My ear is rusty.  Nothing that weeks of scales and arpeggios can’t fix though, eh?


I hope I can get it back.


5 responses to “A Quiz



  2. LOL! We may have talked about this before, but I used to also play the violin. I didn’t do the Suzuki method but I used the books. I took violin from first grade until eighth grade.

  3. Please get it back and play for me again! Please! Do you still have that special Mozart book?

  4. Picture narration: After one day you forgot your pining so much that you neglected to cut away the paper chain. At 9 p.m. on the correct day your husband showed up at home and you had forgotten it was even the day for that. He saw that you hadn’t been wearing your wedding rings the whole time he was gone (no tan lines on your finger) and so you had to make up a story to tell him. “Mmm, yeah, it’s because I’ve been learning violin again, that’s right! Wanna hear ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia?'”

  5. Way to go! I still haven’t worked up the courage to pick up my flute again–I was a music performance major at a great conservatory for a year and now it’s been several years since I’ve played.

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