Posts Tagged ‘humbled’

Bach Cello Sonata No.1

October 11, 2017

In G.

And 5 and 6 as well.

Yo Yo Ma.

That is what I am listening to.

It was an intense day and I feel it slowly easing out of my body and sliding to the floor in a big puddle.

I could slide to the floor in a big puddle.

When I need to calm down and unwind I like to listen to this in particular.

It is sweet and I find it wistful, God I miss playing the cello.

There’s a spot about 1:50 into the first sonata and I can feel the bow in my hand, I can see my fingers striding over the neck of the cello and I can feel it between my legs.

I can get weepy thinking about it.

One would suppose that I would be past it, this yearning, but somethings stay with me a long time.

I don’t know that I ever really got over the loss of playing cello.

And I have had it suggested too many times to count that maybe I pick it up again.

I think.


Let me do that.

In what fucking time?

I could give up writing in the morning.

I could play music for my morning spiritual fix.

I could not buy a car and buy a cello.

I could go over to Roland Feller and blow my heart out on a cello.

Roland Feller is the luthier for the San Francisco Symphony.

I went once, with a friend who worked out of the Burning Man offices when I was nannying there many years ago now.

He is a professional cello player and gigs about and plays with the San Jose Orchestra.

He gave me lessons for a while and one day took me to Roland Feller.

I would have never known that there was a luthier there.

It is an extraordinary nondescript house next to the Popeye’s Chicken on Divisadero Street.

There is no signage.

You have to make an appointment.

There is a gate and a call box and it looks like some cheap apartment, well, it’s in San Francisco so it’s probably not cheap, but the door opens into this gold mine of classical music instruments.



Stand up Bass.


Oh and the cellos.

I played a few different ones and I remember one in particular, it was luscious, the sound so rich, so vibrant, it made me quiver with delight.

My friend teased me a little that I was passionate and looked as though I might be having the sexy thoughts.

I had never had a cello quite that caliber ever before in my hands.

It was exquisite.

And one day.


I have written on this topic before, I will have another cello.

I’m not there yet.

But one day.

And in the mean time.


I have my Yo Yo Ma and I have Bach.

And Debussy.

And Chopin.

Oh the Chopin Cello Sonata in G Minor.


So good.

The Bach is my favorite, but that Chopin is glorious too, passionate and brash and stupendous.

I love that I love classical music.

I don’t look the type.

Except, well, maybe that’s not true.

I feel like I might look the type, that there’s a brazen woman cellist in my heart.

Maybe she smashes herself on her music like I smash myself with my poetry.

Maybe one day the two will get back together again.

I don’t expect that I will ever be great, I never was great, but I had heart, yes, I had great big heart and I knew it and so did my most ardent supporter–my orchestra conductor, Mister Ziegler.

Where ever you are, you meant something to me that few teachers do.

He supported me, he was honest with me, he argued for me.

He brought in my mom and my step father, the fuck (egad, maybe I need yet another inventory on the man, christ), and sat them down and tried, oh how hard he tried, to convince them to not let me quit cello.

Quitting cello was not my idea.

It was my stepfathers idea.

We didn’t have enough money and my parents, god I can’t even say that, the man was never a fucking parent to me, he was a violent misogynistic sociopath, but not a parent, had bought a house in Windsor, outside the school system I was in at the time I was playing cello.

There was no thought of a tutor, I had one actually, that my conductor had arranged with the school and I was given said tutoring for free, but to move away from the school system I would lose that.

And the school that was closest to me, the one that I would attend, DeForest, well, they didn’t have an orchestra.

Oh sure.

They had band.

But no orchestra.

They had cut the funding for the orchestra.

You should see the football stadium though, a work of art that.


My conductor tried to argue that my parents continuing my tutoring or that I commute in to Madison for school and still stay with the cello.


There were words, there was fire, I could see how hard my conductor was trying to get through to my parents.

My stepfather hated me playing.

He hated me practicing.

I got lost in the cello, I wasn’t there, I was gone, gone, gone, and he wanted me present and not in my fantasy world.

He also did not like that I read as much as I did, I shit you not.

What fucking parent doesn’t want their children to read?

When I was punished some of the worst punishments were being denied those things that I loved most.

Books and my cello.

Cello was first to go.

“Put it away and go clean the bathtub,” he said.

The the books were taken.

I don’t know what I did, I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had done to deserve the grounding to my room one weekend, but he was diabolical.

I had no problem being grounded to my room, fine with me, I won’t have to look at you.

I’ll read, thank you very much.


Oh my fucking god, the man had removed every single book I had in my room, everything was gone, it was stripped.

Thank God I had one underneath the mattress of my bed.

Fucking stashed my back up drugs thank you very much.


It wasn’t much of a surprise, after the cello was taken and my stepfather and my mom left the orchestra room with me sadly in tow, that once we moved to Windsor I was to be denied academic access as well.

“She’s too proud, she needs to be humbled, she’s not allowed to do it,” he told my mom, who had tried in her own way to get him to give his permission to sway him.

I was trailing behind in the snow walking down Windsor Road in the middle of a cold ass night listening to them argue about me and the invitation I had been given to join an advanced English class-accelerated and an accelerated math class.

I didn’t care so much about the math, irony, I was actually able to attend that, I think my mom might have had a hook up or something with the math teacher now that I look back, but the English was resolutely denied.

I can feel rage in my chest when I think about that.

“Too proud, she’s just too fucking proud.”

And maybe I was.

Pride goeth before the fall.

I have been humbled in many ways, but I still like my books and I still love listening to cello.

And I am beyond proud of how I grew and became the woman I am today.

Despite the horrendous odds against me growing up.

I got out.

And you can’t put me down.


I will not be ground down.

I will thrive.

I am thriving.

I am alive.





And yes.






What A Long, Strange Day

April 14, 2016

It’s been.

I mean.


I don’t even know how to process all the strangeness of it.

Pockets of silence and serenity, sunshine, breath, music, ocean reveries.


Tears on the steps at work.

Locked out for two hours.


So much for getting out of work early.

I couldn’t really do the cooking that I was there to do sitting on the front porch surrounded by six bags of groceries from Whole Foods and another from Lucca.

It was my fault and I knew it.

Admitted promptly when we were wrong.



I don’t want to.

Except I had to, I absolutely had to.

I could not find my keys and I had been back and forth between the house and Lucca Ravioli three times, I had asked every single store and restaurant that I had walked past whether any one had returned a set of keys.


How sweet the vendors and market girls and shop keepers, I ran into many of them later and they all asked after me, “did you find your keys?”




But it sort of, no I mean, it really fucking sucked for a good two hours.

I had a lot of time to reflect and sit and watch the sky, high and blue, the new green leaves of the Japanese maple next door pressing into the blue, unfurled, young, tender, a kind of new grass green that was almost a shock to my eye to watch them flutter in the wind.

I watched the clouds.

I listened to the birds.

I watched a female robin pull a worm from the yard next door.

I saw a daschund puppy waddling by.

I smelled a lot of pot being smoked, the marijuana scent floating down the block.

I heard the Irish lilting voices on the construction site two houses down.

I sat.

I waited.

I cried in my hands a few times.

My face a mashed up smoosh of hurt and sadness and rue.

I was rueful.

I remember all too clearly getting done with what I needed to get done right away in the afternoon as I showed up to work with a long list of things to do and a plan of action in my pocket.

I was going to get it done and then get the fuck out.

Go to the park.

Go to the DeYoung and finally get me some motherfucking art.

There was no art although there was much sweetness and beauty when I stopped to see the world from the front porch stoop.

I was worried about my keys and the fact that my scooter was locked up and cabled in front of the house in the drive way.

I kept staring at that.


I thought to myself.

I can always stash the groceries in the garage or ask a neighbor to put the perishables in their fridge, I might have to wait for the neighbors to get home, but I could do that and I can take a car back to my house and fingers crossed my housemate’s around and then I get the spare set of my scooter keys and take a car back.

I was not happy about it.

But it was an option.

The whole fiasco happened with a small series of words that usually gets me in trouble, “fuck it.”

The mom had a big delivery of groceries being delivered via Instacart and I was tired of waiting and I figured I could get out to Lucca and back before it was delivered and worst comes to worse, they put the groceries on the steps and I’ll be back before you know it.

Fuck it.

Just do it, because I didn’t have anything to do.

I don’t know, Carmen.

Maybe next time you just sit your ass down and make a cup of tea and check your e-mails and wait.

Because when I rush I do stupid things.

Like leave my keys on the kitchen counter.

I cannot actually remember the last time I lost my keys.

It is not a fun experience.

Especially when I am ordering sliced turkey from the counter guy at Lucca and the mom pings me and says, hey the grocery delivery is there can you let them in?

Oh fuck me.


I debated lying.

But nope, can’t and in hindsight boy am I glad I was able to connect with the mom.

I told her I was at Lucca and I knew she was mad and I apologized and zoomed back to the house, digging for my keys as I was on the run and where are my keys?



I ran back to Lucca, no keys.

I scoured the ground.

I walked back and forth.

I started crying.

TEARS are not helpful right now, stop it.

I dashed them from my eyes.

I text the mom back.

I asked if they had a spare set in the garage, I know the code, I go into the garage, I get the spare key I take all the groceries…


They don’t have a spare key in the garage.

Fuck me.

And the neighbors don’t have a spare and the family is actually about to board the plane.

I tell her I will get the groceries secured and figure things out, and she pings me the number to the dog walker.


But humbled.


So very humbled.


I sat and sat and sat and waited for the dog walker to finish with her dogs and drop offs and finally, two hours later I am let in and yes.

Sweet Mary, mother of Jesus, my keys are on the kitchen counter.

I burst into tears again.

The dog walker gives me a hug and says she was happy to help.

I started cooking.

I did all the food prep and made homemade pizzas for the boys tomorrow and a very large batch of pureed broccoli soup.

I talked to my person on the phone.

We talked about how I was in pain and experiencing disappointment, I got the news from the program co-ordinator that there really wasn’t much I could do about the weekend of Burning Man and maybe I could miss one day of the first weekend.

She attached the attendance policy and all I could see was the great big F you get for missing too many classes and I just sighed, surrendered and said, ok, I guess I can’t go.


Get it all done here at work and go to Lucca and get the cold cuts and get done and go have a day for you and.


That’s not at all what happened.

Really, in the end, nothing bad happened, I was humbled, I made a mistake, I am not perfect and that can be uncomfortable to see.

But see it I did.

I was also unexpectedly available to take a phone call from a woman I’ve known for a few years who wants to film me for a documentary.


Um, ok.

We had a really nice chat and it was cool to be asked to collaborate with an artist as an artist.

I might not be able to go to Burning Man, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still make art or engage with the community.

I still am an artist.

I still am a nanny.

I still am a student.

I am a woman, slightly saddened by turns of the day, but I know, in my bones, with a kind of unshakeable faith, there is a good reason for all of this.

I don’t have to know what it is.

It just is.

Hello reality.

It was, interesting, er, good to meet you today.

Tumult does not mean an end.

It means an opening elsewhere that I had not seen before.

I am available for that apparently.

Whatever it is.

I’m game.

I’m in.

Bring it.


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