Throwing Back to 2009

Once there was a band called Mechanical Violet. They were a group of four ladies who loved the hell out of life. They covered a single song, “Postcards from Italy,” by Beirut. Becky had vocals and tamborine; Eleece had trumpet; Alicia had ukulele; I had clarinet. We had fun putting it together. A really fun memory from a much-cherished time.

The other day on Instagram I posted part of Mozart’s “Waltz Fantasy,” a piece I played on the clarinet in 9th grade, when I felt most in my prime. A friend from the Mechanical Violet days more or less commented on that post about hearing some Beirut for my next video.

So I got to work.

Found some sheet music for ukulele, flute, oboe, piano, and percussion. I also had to look up ukulele fingerings to convert from the tabs on the sheet music. (I also played lines from two strings instead of all four, because clarinets can only play a single line and not chords, and because this was already turning out to be a lot of work.) I kept everything in the key of C, since only I would be playing with…me. Me and my shadows.

Recorded the parts, put them together. Not perfect editing-wise, but definitely recognizable. As I rewatched this a small sob got caught in my throat. Damn you, nostalgia. Miss you, Mechanical Violet.

From the Instagram Archive: November 12, 2018

I’m exhausted, so I’m recycling content from another social media platform. And maybe because I’m so épuisée, I’m especially emotional. Which is okay to be. But I’m seriously about to fall asleep. Good night.

This is a newer article than the original post. It seems a pretty good general overview of stuff I read for work. This image links to the PDF of the article, if you’re interested in reading.

Helpless.

I read about cancer every day.
It’s my job, curating data for a database for an app that pathologists use to help diagnose cancer.
I hate cancer. I hate what it does to families, friends. I hate how it crushes them. I hate how helpless I feel, when I see friends whose parents have passed on because of it; when Reilly’s mom feels so nauseated and has to stay in bed after a round of chemo. That it has become a new normal over the past two years. But she gets up and lives the best she can. She takes a deep breath and finds the strength to smile despite everything. Nausea. Weakness. Mouth sores. She makes Sunday dinner and we eat together and laugh. And before we head home we ask about the upcoming week’s treatments or tests—another new normal. We make sure to pray for her.

While my job has no direct impact on her situation, I make sure to do my best at it. It’ll help someone.

So, not completely helpless.

Fangirl Introspection

Some public figures are incredibly generous engaging with their fanbase. I need to be careful with this, as it can turn pretty quickly into delusion. On my part. Like we’re friends or something. We’re not. I’m just a fan.

Take Instagram. And take violin superstar Hilary Hahn. Her account. I’ve been a fan for over 20 years. She (or her social media manager) has liked a few of my comments lately, and it’s been easy to crank out really lengthy responses to her posts. I mean, there are boundaries, right? A point when it’s too much? And I’ve just kept pushing, seeming the biggest weirdo. AND I DON’T EVEN PLAY VIOLIN.

Here are some of the comments I’ve made, from the most recent to three weeks ago. (These are not counting the ones she hasn’t liked.)

Pretty embarrassing. Yeah, it’s too much. Ultimately, participating in social media gives me the opportunity to come to terms with my fanaticism. Also, perhaps I realized too late that I’ve stopped commenting cold, and instead I have been using her posts as writing prompts. I haven’t been respecting her space. I’ve been trying to perform and practice writing in her space. Pretty rude.

So I’m trying to dial it back.

We’re not friends: I’m a fan. She’s an icon. There’s obvious distance.