Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Go Inside (version 2)

I posted Go Inside a few days ago. (That was our writing prompt on the day I substituted for Abbie Rockwell's writing partner.) I sent my 12-minute piece of writing to Abbie and she sent me hers. I haven't been able to get Abbie's piece out of my mind, so today I asked her if I could post it. She said yes!

The students who take piano lessons like to perform for their classmates during the music lesson, on the piano in the music room. I save time at the end of the lesson and have them come to the piano, ask them what they will play, who the composer is, and tell them to start when the students look attentive.

The performance often brief, often the simplest of beginning piano pieces, but the class learns to be an audience, to be still, to listen. I tell them to listen to the first musical statement, then listen to hear if it comes again and it almost always does, even if only because of a repeat sign in the music.

The performers get exposure and practice performing and the listeners practice audience behavior. I tell the squirmy ones that inside them a quiet place waits to be discovered and that some of the students, like Fabiola, who sit so still and calm, content, already know where to find it.

“Is it hard to sit so quietly, Fabiola?” No, she says, and smiles from stillness. Damien puts his arms in and out of his shirt and rocks his knees up and down. “Damien, where’s your quiet place?” Poor Damien, wound up tight and angry, unsettled, without a drop of stillness or content. I want the music to pour into him and pin him down, draw his attention away from the hamster running on a wheel inside him that never stops, want him to rest from the inside out and relax enough to enjoy the music. He sticks his finger inside his cheek and makes popping noises, then Carlos copies him. Madeline starts her piano waltz and the others settle, listen, show what a good audience they can be. Damien rolls his eyes and groans.

I want to be Fabiola, don't you? Ever since I read this I've tried finding that quiet place. Last Friday in the middle of the night, I was sure I found it. It was nice and it lasted a few seconds.

But honestly ... with a name like
Fabiola, how could you go wrong? Fabiola Davick. How does that sound?