Let me catch you all up.
(I can’t even remember where I left off, but it was in the summertime, I believe.)
School started. I have an excellent schedule this year – I am in my first band class and I have a Shakespeare class. Yes, indeed, we have a class devoted to Shakespeare, and let me tell you something: Shakespeare is one clever dude.
AP Language is very hard. It involves a variety of reading I have never experienced before. It takes me a half hour to read two pages of text now. But I extract much more meaning from words, and appreciate the little things in writing – style, sentences, words, punctuation, structure. It is strengthening my bond with written words, and I have been feeling increasingly more guilty about not blogging until now. Writers truly make decisions for a living.
Personal finance is a class I know I will use what I learn from, but I am just swaddled in drowsiness as soon as I sit down in the class. Perhaps it is the fact we spend the whole class on the computer, or that it is mostly mathematics, or that it is just strengthening my aversion to money in general – yes, I want money, so I can pay for the things I need and want, but no, it is not something I care exclusively about making lots of. Nor do I enjoy the meticulous tracking that goes along with having a lot of money. I am afraid of credit cards, too.
The marching band season is halfway over already. I am in love with the instruments I play in it; percussion is largely fun and I think the idea of a wind instrument is beautiful, in a way. To play percussion, it takes a lot of pride and confidence – and it is pretty important in our band; our show has a lot of pit breaks – so it has really helped me move from feeling like a girl trying to prove herself to feeling like a valuable and responsible musician. If you are ever unsure of yourself, try percussion and your confidence will soar – after, of course, you hit all the bumps in the road to decency. And why I think wind instruments are beautiful is because they are a part of your breath when you play them. Your success depends on your being – are you tense, have you got enough lung strength and stamina, did you save your chops, did you eat/drink anything before you played, are you warmed up? Guitar is this: did you tune, are your hands clean, have you got a cable to plug in? At least, that is how we are viewed…people forget what else we have to do: do we have the tone we want, are we loud/soft enough, how should we voice the tune/chords, did we warm up…Nevertheless, I think wind instruments’ connection to our bodies is beautiful and I like the idea of it. That also strengthens my bond with my guitar – even though it doesn’t require breath or lips, it is still my voice and I need to take care of it and ready it. (I will talk more about this some other time.)
I am now a licensed driver. Woo hoo. Check #5 off of my 20 before 20 list!
I am in the Christmas spirit. What the heck. I’m not even religious. Just a few weeks ago it was hot and humid and gross. Now it is cold and wintry. I am wearing big sweaters and my cow hat (a sure sign of chilly weather) and scarves and gloves…My cheeks are flushed and my hair matted down from hooded and hatted days…I wear thick or long socks with moccasins and jeans or leggings. This is my element, I think. I do love all the seasons, summer especially, but I am built for the cold. I am naturally a warm person – physically and characteristically, ha ha – and I have a mane of curly blond hair that I like to think likens me to a Swiss or German mountain woman…I have athletic curves that more clothing sits better on than less clothing…My skin is not of the dry variety, so dry weather softens it instead of cracks it.
So why do I feel like Christmas it’s time? To me, Christmas isn’t gift giving, or church-going, or ham-eating…Christmas is: bundling up, reading lots of books, feeling guiltily happy that loads of snow is piled outside and I am forced to stay indoors and sit by the fire, being in the mood for hot chocolate all the time, listening to jazzy music, falling into the tradition of watching the classics: Peanuts Christmas, Rudolph, Elf, and feeling the excitement of a new year approaching. I just call it “Christmas.” It has nothing to do with the holiday (besides the movies). I think I should just call it “The beginning of Winter.”
I am feeling way festive this year. Except for Halloween. Maybe it is because I won’t be eating any of the candy – I doubt anyone is handing out good dark chocolate that doesn’t contain milk – and I don’t feel like dressing up. Halloween is on a Wednesday. Plus, I feel like I am finding my own style, my own groove, more deeply than before, and the idea of locking that in a costume renders me uncomfortable.
I looked up my October horoscope – for Sagittarius, the fun sign! – and the short version of it is: this is the month of Love. Good Lord. If anyone knows Sagittarius, she might know that they are difficult in love – we are independent folk that bolt from interesting thing to new interesting thing – and our tingling love radar isn’t always (rarely, I think) correct. There is one gent in particular that I think is pretty suave, but I have my suspicions that he’s got a girl already…can’t tell for sure…I feel like sleuth, though, which is an upside.
The first jazz band meeting was a few weeks back and six whole guitar players showed. I was initially furious. I was very, very close to putting my forehead through a music stand, but thankfully I chose to sit still. At the end, I was feeling quite low, mulling over the idea that maybe jazz band wouldn’t work out this year – for Pete’s sake, THREE guitar players is too many – and I wouldn’t get playing time, and it wouldn’t be like last year – I’m feeling heartily nostalgic, now – but something turned that around. I got a ride home from a guy in my neighborhood-ish and I said something like, “I could always play trumpet, but I came to play guitar” and he said, “We NEED you on guitar. You’re the only one who plays jazz and can read jazz charts.” (The other players appear to be rockers.) I don’t think he realized how complimentary and validating that was for me. I think he was just ranting on music, generally, but the fact that he kind of casually noted my value to the band made me rethink the situation. Someone who is a really great player thinks it’s a given that I am valuable – I don’t have to prove myself or anything, I already have a good status. He went on to agree with me that “I don’t have the chops, but I know what I’m doing.” I now view the situation thusly: this is my chance to do something for myself and kind of move up the totem pole of musicians in the school. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone – and when I do go to band and know what I’m doing, it will show the director that yes, Sam is getting playing time, she is here to stay, she has seniority, and we can’t let these rockers overtake the rhythm section or we’ll DIE.
I listened to this jazz podcast – one side note about it: the interesting thing is that the artists I’ve listened to interviewed on it I didn’t particularly love their music, but the interviews were very enlightening and I loved listening to what they had to say; they were so wise and cool and really comfortable with themselves, which is something I hope rubs off on me – and the woman, Renee Yoxon, spoke of this phenomenon “the imposter syndrome” that I instantly connected with. She defined it as feeling unqualified to teach singing because she went to school for physics, not music, but decided to get over it and do what she loves. I define it as feeling inexperienced and unqualified to put myself out in the music scene of my town and my school, but I know I’ve got to get over it, or nothing’s going to get done and I’ll NEVER get any experiences!
I got my first job working at a pumpkinfest at a local farm. I sell tickets with my sister for 6 hours a day, weekends. It’s cold and involves so much counting that I’ll be surprised if I am not a math wiz by the end of this month. Check #8 off of my 20 before 20 list!
International day of Peace went by quickly and while I couldn’t do anything big for the holiday because it was a Friday and I have football games on Fridays (marching band) I still spread the word and sent out a mass text to my friends to make sure they knew about it. I will do something to make up for my lack of celebration. I’ll throw my own peace day.
I’m also getting sort of restless and batty because I know this is the current seniors’ last year here. I know I will miss them, whether I am close friends with them or not. I am on a sort of secret mission to become good friends with as many of them as possible so I won’t regret not befriending them when they leave (which I KNOW will happen) and I’ll be able to stay in contact with them. I know I’ve got to make the most out of this year, starting NOW, so I’m buzzing with ideas and anticipation of putting them into action (the scary part).
So all in all, my main feeling is validation. I’m thrilled to be a junior, finally an upperclassmen. I’m warm with secret glee that I am accepted as a valuable musician at my school. I’m starting to do things, whether solo or accompanied, for myself, by myself, with no shame or fear. At the same time that I feel like I am doing many solo things, I feel more friend-populated than ever before. I am digging into some key musicians and finding my inspirations. Like I said:
I’m finding my style.
Even though I know my style will never, EVER stay the same, it will always be shaping and growing, it is a comforting idea, a confidence-boosting idea,
A lovely idea.
If I had to sum up my feelings in three words right now (three words is a fantastic, round number that I use probably too much, but it is my sweet spot, if you know what I mean), it would be: