Monday, February 20, 2006


This is the piano at the back of the library in the high school; it’s my weekend hideout, where I can shut out everything extraneous in my life and just enjoy a couple of hours of music. It doesn’t matter that it’s out-of-tune, and that one of the C’s doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter that there are boxes piled up high, muffling the sound. I play for no one – and I can hear the music in my head regardless of how it actually sounds. A few months ago, I dug out a program music piece that I wrote years ago, a piece that was inspired by Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda. I don’t know why it is that I’ve stopped composing. It would be a cathartic experience, akin to my endless scribbling within my journals. I had written all these notes to myself on the "Oscar and Lucinda" piece: to add phrasing, to change a few notes and motifs, to distinguish the tempos between the different sections. I should polish it up and finish it. An audio version of it exists somewhere out in cyberspace, recorded a few years ago on a dinky MIDI keyboard, and cast out into the world to fend for itself. Over the years, several people have commented on it. I remember playing it for one of the kids at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club I was volunteering at a few years ago, and he exclaimed, “Hey, I know that song! I like it!” While I knew in my heart of hearts that there was no way little Ibrahim could have ever heard my composition, I was appreciative of his comment. Often, the best works of any genre – a painting, a song, a story – bring out some familiarity from within the recesses of our consciousness. Now, I’m not saying that my "Oscar and Lucinda" was great by any means, but I was thrilled that it had struck a chord with Ibrahim. It’s in part because of him that I’ve come to know that I’ll eventually turn back to composing – perhaps soon.

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