I once put my flute away for well over a year. Played my uncle’s wedding in October of 2010, didn’t open the case again until sometime spring 2012. Honestly, it could have been stolen from the case and I wouldn’t have known; not sure I would have cared. In those many months a lot of life happened, most of which was written about here and in If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back? There was a cross-country move, an educational implosion, a spousal career pivot, the venture into homeschooling, and the beginnings of a soon-to-be-published book. And that was just the big stuff; the little stuff, the day-to-day crap, that’s what about did me in.
So Beast lay dormant for many, many months. Yes, my flute is Beast and my piccolo is Tiny. I feel like I should start a cartoon series: The Absurd Adventures of Beast and Tiny. I digress as usual. I’d think about playing from time to time, but the mental reaction was like two opposing magnets: sliding around, no connection, all about the nope! It takes a lot of…it’s hard to describe, so bear with me here. It takes a lot of energy to weave beauty from air. Physical energy is one thing, but in this case it was the mental and emotional energy I just didn’t have. Energy of musically conversing with a (usually long-dead) composer and psychically connecting with the teachers you’ve had and the teachers they’d had and simultaneously paying close attention to and responding to several dozen auditory, visual, and physical inputs…it’s a required musical energy that I’ve never experienced in other parts of my life. Those months in which Beast snoozed in its case were some of the most challenging months of my life. I didn’t have the mental and emotional bandwidth to even consider opening the case, much less the musical energy it’d require.
The drought finally ended in spring of 2012, when I learned our new community had a summer concert band. I hadn’t played in band since 1999, when I graduated CU-Boulder with my masters. I’d played, but mainly small groups and chamber music and church services and a lovely period of weekly candlelight Taize services. But band? My love? A long stretch of no. I needed to be in that band, and by god I was not going to suck. So one lovely spring afternoon when I was alone in the house I knocked on Beast’s case and asked forgiveness. Reintroduced myself. Got reacquainted with the relationship I’d had longer than my husband. Not gonna lie, it hurt. Beast was unfamiliar to my lips, my hands. My neck and jaw and shoulders ganged up and demanded to know just WTAF I was doing, something they’ve continued over the last decade. Beast and I took it slow at first, and by the time fall rolled around my skills had returned enough to audition for a new high-level wind ensemble; I landed the section leader seat of the flutes. I’ve sat there ever since.
All this to say that sometimes you take a break and sometimes a break just happens. I’d not intended to put my flute away for over a year, but when I pulled it back out I was a more mature player. I knew myself better and I enjoyed it more. I felt more like me than ever before. And the same with Laughing at Chaos. I’d not intended to stop writing for so many months, but life overwhelmed me, in good ways and in bad. I’d think about writing something and instead of opposing magnets I’d just feel sad and even more overwhelmed. Angry. I’m not going to do something just to do it because then it sucks and I’m unhappy and life is sucky and unhappy enough so why add to it. And so my little slice of the interwebz lay silent.
It’s only been very recently that I’ve started to hear the words again. I’d think about writing and it wouldn’t overwhelm me, wouldn’t make me sad. I’ve had a short story in my head, something I started for NaNoWriMo in 2019, and my thoughts keep returning to it, wondering what the characters are up to. I’ve found myself writing snippets of blog posts in my head in the quiet moments, something I’ve done as long as I can remember; it’s only been since 2006 that I actually wrote them down.
So I’m writing again. I expect I’ll continue to write about giftedness and twice-exceptionality, simply because I have life experience there and I want to offer a hand back to parents lost in the weeds. I anticipate I’ll be writing about being an empty-nester, something that just landed on us in recent weeks. My third act of this production called Life is probably gonna show up. Being the mashed up filling of the Sandwich Generation is…well, it is and it sucks and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it but right now it hurts.
Writing makes me happy and I’m happy to welcome it back into my life.