5.15.2005

Dreams

I think I've decided to sell this electronic keyboard I bought about eight years ago. I spent a lot of money on it back then, and I thought it was worth the investment because I was convinced I'd use it to realize my long-slumbering creative musical dreams. And I wrote 1 1/2 songs on it. (That half song becomes important when you've written so few....)

I've been lugging this keyboard (and it's real big and real heavy) around forever, but I've never really been able to use it. It's too complicated, and I've never had the time or motivation to actually learn to program it. I know plenty of boys (I'm sure there are girls out there too but I don't happen to know them) who can hook those things up to a computer and be writing cheesy techno in a matter of hours, but I'm just not one of those people. Somehow, inertia has prevented me from even taking up my musician friends on their offers to teach me.

Getting ready to let go of it has gotten me thinking about the spirit of musical instruments. As I attempt to rid my life of clutter and unnecessary objects, I look to my stable of instruments: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, cello, grand piano, flute (listed from newest to oldest)... heck I think I even have a violin thrown in there, and I don't even play violin. Part of me knows they should be the first thing to go. My flute needs a complete overhaul. My cello could probably be donated to some ailing youth symphony program. My guitars are almost an embarrassment, since I only just started playing those but I've already hit a plateau in skill level beyond which I might not realistically rise. And then there is the keyboard. The Kurzweil K2500 that has cluttered up many a sacred space of mine...

Instruments do have lives. Perhaps they do not themselves have spirits, but they do channel ours, and they deserve to be played. This one was used by a well-known band to record a major-label album. I think those guys remember me not because they know me so well, but because they know that I was the one who let them borrow the keyboard. They wrote songs on it and took it on tour with them and played music on it for audiences all over the country. They even wanted to buy it from me at one point, but I wanted to keep it. I remember telling the guy that I "still had my dreams" and he said, "there's nothing wrong with that." I agreed with him then, and I think I do still.

But my dream of playing my keyboard is reaching that frightening and very busy intersection with pragmatism. I only have so much space, and the truth is that this is one dream I haven't even come close to making true, in eight years. I always thought that one day I'd have a room in my house where I could keep all my instruments, where I could go to play piano and not worry about bugging my neighbors, where I could invite friends to play chamber music, where I could have my keyboard all nicely set up next to a computer and speakers and mess around with it and my other instruments and just see what forms of expression were born. That part of the dream is looking more and more unlikely. (I live in an apartment that can't even accomodate the keyboard comfortably, to say nothing of the grand piano that my dad is still storing for me.) Pragmatism is a bunch of cars zooming down the street, and I'm trying to get across carrying my keyboard of dreams. I can see that something's gotta go...

Even if I shed the baggage, I still need someone to hold my hand.

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