My senior year in high school was also my last year of piano study. For my final recital, I chose "Hungarian Rhapsody No 2", Franz Liszt. My instructor was Mrs. Burkette, a very large woman who wore rosewater and ate oranges while I played. She, settled in her chair and seemingly distracted, was capable of pouncing like a cougar on the least of errors. She thrilled at my recital choice, that I'd developed a love for Liszt who, in her mind, was a god whose name she nearly always only whispered. I never, even years later, had the courage to tell her it wasn't my love for Liszt that guided my decision but my love for Bugs Bunny.
It took months to learn the piece--- sixteen sadistic pages --- during which I called Mrs. Burkette's beloved Liszt names that would've melted her metronome. But, learn it I did and well. Still, on recital night even with congratulations and roses, I knew I'd not touched Mr. Bunny's performance. I likely never would. But then, neither would Tom or Jerry.
Last night I sat down at Aubrey's keyboard to pound something out. I quickly realized what eight years without touching a piano could do. I got a lesson in humility and a good reminder that we lose what we don't use. Thwack!!
I make art every day and I'm pretty good at it. I realize it's the same for dancing, doing algebra or crisp conversation. It's the same for writing stories, making love or juggling cats. It's the same for problem solving and typing and saying the alphabet backwards.
As much as it pains me still, I must quote the plaque over Mrs. Burkette's piano, the words that taunted me for so many years:
Practice makes Perfect
I think the coffee is done now. I will get some, and go to the studio and practice, practice, practice....