Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Order form

Yesterday evening, after practicing a bit for my concert tonight, I looked into the file for my bassoon order. It's been sitting in a filing cabinet, collecting dust, much like the bassoon itself had been. Some strange stuff in there, including letters written by my high school self, wondering where I was on the waiting list, and how construction was going. Drawings made by my teacher, for all the custom bits he thought the horn should have. A Christmas card from the company, with photographs of the shop. It brought up some fairly buried memories, not all good. I was a kid when we ordered it, the decision sparked largely by a favorable exchange rate, but I think at some point I'd had visions of being serious. Later, I learned how much musicians got paid, and how competitive jobs were, and it didn't seem like an environment that I wanted to be a part of. The trajectory away had already started by the time the bassoon showed up. It's a good bassoon, so good my teacher tried to trade for it (seriously -- for his very nice professional horn plus a substantial hunk of cash). But I didn't really feel it was my right, my parents had paid for it after all. Even if I'd wanted to, which I don't think I did.

There were some mistakes made, largely by my teenage self. The maker had a long description of all the whisper lock options, and the 15-year old me had chosen the coolest and fanciest. But it never worked all that well, making loud clacks in operation, and sometimes sticking on. The other overall issue is just maybe too much stuff, every key available, resulting in more holes in the bore, more weight on the horn. I realized a week or so ago that there was a key I'd forgotten about, and hadn't touched, much less relied on, in the time since I restarted. Clearly not something vital.

But mostly there are feelings of guilt, and of being undeserving. By a year after it'd shown up, I was at college, still playing, but rarely practicing, not taking lessons, not progressing, getting wound up in other things. After college, I put it away, figuring I'd restart once I was established, and had my life figured out. Never happened. The life figured out part, anyway. And I'd feel guilty whenever I thought about bassoon, guilty to my teacher, to my parents, to the horn itself. I never quite felt like I deserved to be playing on such a fine instrument. Like the wood deserved better. Feelings of worthlessness. Still struggle with those. It's dark, and cold outside, maybe that has something to do with it.

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