Saturday, September 19, 2009

on hearing, and being overheard

I love a rainy morning when there's time to stretch luxuriously in bed, snuggle a little deeper into james' arms, breathe deeply and wake up softly. The patter of drops out our window and then through our freshly-opened french doors set me in full-on cozy mode. So as James trucked off to the Portland Green Renaissance Fair, I trudged out to the porch, blanket and book in hand, for a morning of reading and listening to the rain.

For whatever reason, reading on the porch always makes me want to play piano. Something about being outside with an open door, soaking in the peacefulness, makes me want to create--whether writing, music, or whatever else. Today it was music.

I haven't decided yet if it's vaguely reverse-voyeuristic that I like to think that my neighbors can hear me practice. As I played, I could hear neighborhood goings-on out my door and windows: Bud opening up his garage and taking off for the morning, my across-the-street neighbor loading up his car with something that seemed to take a whole bunch of trips, another neighbor out talking to his dog... and I couldn't help but hope that they could hear some piano drifting out the door, infusing our street with a sense of music and peace.

Shyness makes me reticent to actually play for people. If someone asks me to play for them, I feel like I've somehow trapped them into it, like once I start playing they're obligated to listen to me even if they decide 30 seconds in that they'd rather be doing something else. And I'd never straight-up ask someone to listen to me. It's the same shyness that makes me not talk a lot, or not offer opinions: I will give them when asked, but otherwise don't think to assume that people want to hear. So playing when people can just glancingly overhear--when they can choose to listen or to simply let it float around them as they go about their day--satisfies my desire to create for people without forcing them to accept it.

Maybe it's crazy. Maybe I'm crazy. But the idea of someone walking down the street, pausing a second to soak in a little Mendelssohn and then continuing on their way, perhaps with a new smile on their face or a new appreciation for the day, makes me super happy. Even if I am a crazy piano stalker in reverse.

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