Tuesday, August 28, 2007


These were some of the things that I wanted back: my bound books, bricks, paper costume, and violin music. Even so, I spent the whole day asking do I really need it? do I really want it? when will I use this again?? My jaw is sore from stress, my head aching from dehydration, and my back tired from rearranging and storing everything. As I rewired a picture frame, I thought about how much I love being an artist. Or, just being good with my hands.

One of the hard parts was figuring out my violin music. I went through old things like copies of first violin parts from symphony orchestra when I was 14. When Cindy and I stayed with Yoonshin this weekend, we talked about being really good at something early in life, and then giving it up later. They both were incredibly talented pianists, but like most accomplished musicians, had fraught relationships with the instrument / music / teachers. They don't play anymore, and people ask them all the time if they miss it. Yoonshin doesn't, and says so. Cindy used to feel badly about not missing it, but now is okay with that. [Why do people love asking that question anyway?]

I forget that sometimes skills can be like people: they come into your life, you cultivate them, and then you part ways. And no one is a bad person if they make that decision. Yoonshin wouldn't be the artist she is now, nor Cindy the editor she is now, if the piano stayed. I forget that you have to move things aside to make space for other things. I stopped playing sports when I was 14 to make room for more violin study. I stopped going to music camp to reconnect to my family in Korea. I skipped t'ai chi class to take jazz lessons. I had to ditch someone so that I could keep up on thesis production.

Today, I considered each of my violin books and their categories: etude, concerto I studied, concerto I always wanted to study, "must have" scale method, chamber music, for teaching, etc. I finally decided it was time to give up the things I feel like I "should" own, the orchestral music (I'm not an orchestral musician anymore and certainly am not taking auditions), and duplicate copies. I still can't let go of the fact that I likely will not touch these books again, and that I will also likely not teach violin again (but I still kept all of my method books for small children).

It's so hard to see that the relationship has to be reconfigured for my life now. I was never amazing at violin; I just loved to play and perform. But I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to appear hardcore, and that is where all those books come from. I still love to play and perform. I just don't need the books anymore. Which is why there is a big pile ready to be donated to the local school music department.


  1. Wise, wise blog.
    But I know the feeling. When I moved from my Pilsen studio (now Vespine) in several years ago, I finally gave away my big tool box full of oil paints. There was an excellent painter living next door, so he got them. I sold the easel.
    (Of course, then I bought a guillotine and a beater!)

    last night at Ragdale, avoiding packing. I don't want to leave...

  2. OMG I was going to say the exact same thing! So wise, you are.


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