Friday, March 6, 2009

Secrets

What happens when a "secret" is revealed?

I'm not the best communicator - I keep my secrets close. Actually, that's bullshit. I'm remarkably free WRITING them. It's SPEAKING them that gives me pause.

I've written before that perhaps I shouldn't be so guarded. I understand why I am, especially following the events of the last few years, but at some point, I should get over that.

In an old post, I wrote about finding a letter I had written when I was 16 years old, addressed to my "26 year old self." Inspired by that, in 2005, while sitting in a cafe in Beijing, I wrote another letter, this time addressed to my "45 year old self."

I won't go into the specifics, but I wrote that while I hoped I was "happy," what I hoped for more was that I could look back on the choices that I had made and judge them to be brave.

SK says I am too "meta" for my own good, and I know that I am most comfortable living in my head... so even as I wrote about bravery, I was conflicted. Sometimes bravery is just stupid. Sometimes cowardice is just smart.

But while it's easy to get lost in the mental masturbatory maze of trying to sort out the existential definitions of bravery and cowardice, that's not the paradigm that feels right to me.

In the middle of the night, as I continued working on Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C# Minor, I realized that my approach to this piece is actually the "right" paradigm for this current line of thinking.

Focusing on a single measure at a time is all well and good. (and in the case of this particular piece, necessary). It can be overwhelming to think of the piece as a whole at this stage (at least for me). But there's always the moment when all the individual measures have to be linked together as phrases, and those linked together as movements, and those linked together as the entire piece.

And approaching the piece as a whole can change the approach to a single measure. You realize that the dynamics or tempo need to be altered to suit what came before and will follow after. And sometimes an unexpected melody is revealed - the "secret" of the piece.

Now for the dash of reality and common sense: If I just spent time actually listening to a recording of the entire damn thing rather than just endlessly repeating a single measure at a time, that would be obvious from day 1. Not a secret at all.

So that's my ridiculously long winded way of saying... perhaps these "secrets" I hold so close, are not secrets at all. Instead, just a means of procrastination, of creating distance before I have to face the big picture. Is that bravery or cowardice? Stupidity or just practicality?

I'm not making sense to even myself anymore. So I think I'll just listen to my second crush, Vladimir Ashkenazy, play the damn thing. From beginning to end.

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