Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Be Like That



All I ever wanted was to be an opera singer. Between the ages of 10 thru 25, I was consumed with this desire. I took bel canto lessons and practiced for hours each day. During high school, I earned honor credits with the musical training I received off campus and I went to college, on scholarship, in hopes of earning a vocal performance degree.

As an adolescent, I would shut myself in our family room, crank up the stereo, turn off the lights, sit on the naugahyde sofa, close my eyes, and listen. Just imagine the allegro con brio from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Or Chopin's Heroic Polonaise in A flat major. I heard passion, hope, sorrow, and triumph. I wanted to sing like that.

Dreams don't always mesh with reality, however. I wasn't Beethoven or Chopin. In short, the future I had hoped for during the first half of my life changed. In my junior year of college, I switched my major to English Literature. Why? Because I loved books! The Romantics, Victorians and Transcendentalists especially. Here began my second life.

Today, I still sing. For my mother, husband, and children. Sometimes in church. Writing now fulfills the need for self-expression that I thrived on as a vocalist. Even better, I can write and no one has to look at me out on a stage. At last I've found my niche! But old habits die hard. After finishing a writing exercise this morning, I clicked on my iTunes music library, turned up the volume on my computer, laid my head down on the smooth surface of my desk, closed my eyes, and listened. Jessye Norman's Amazing Grace. Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Masterpieces all. In them, there is longing, joy, genius. I thought to myself. How do I write that? Be like that?

Have you ever heard a piece of music or seen a painting or photograph and then wanted to capture it in a story? What were your dreams growing up? Besides writing, what are your other talents?

15 comments:

  1. I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I was lucky to be able to combine that former love with my writing blog and film excerpt vlogs for people.

    My aunt was an opera singer! though I never got to hear her sing...I always love lookings at paintings and seeing how they strike me.

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  2. Your story closely mirrors my own high school and early college years. I wanted to go to Julliard and be an opera singer. I switched to an English major my sophomore year.

    I always hear music and want to capture it in writing.

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  3. Oh wow!!! You are so amazing!! You sing opera!!! Yay for you!!! I've just watched a BBC4 programme on "what makes a great tenor" - beautiful!!! and it's all to do with art/talent/perseverance/persistence/technical knowledge and passion!

    I do know I excel at being an empath!! Oh and baking.:-)

    Take care
    x

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  4. Roxy, this is a lovely post.

    You've touched on something that I long for, too. Oh, to create something that makes someone else FEEL.

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  5. I started my college career in music too! But it took less than a semester for me to realize English was my true love.

    But I think it's the same type of reason - wanting to create something or be a part of something that can affect people so powerfully. Both music and writing have that capability :)

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  6. Beautiful Roxy. :) I'd love to hear you sing someday. Dreams are a funny thing aren't they? It's strange how they can change so quickly sometimes. For better or worse.

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  7. All I ever wanted to be was a soprano..... I'm an alto bordering on tenor.... :O(

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  8. I have no musical talent, but I remember when i wanted to be an artist. Then I learned that I had no talent there either. Good thing I always wanted to be a writer through all the rest, because that's what works best for me!

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  9. Roxy: Do you follow Fanatico Um (http://fanaticosdaopera.blogspot.com/)? You will love it!

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  10. Yes. I am incredibly inspired by other art. When I listen to music, I try to think about how I could describe it in writing. I wanted to be an actress and a playwright. Still working on it. I also sing, but would love to do jazz and improv. Still working on it.

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  11. Letting you know that I tagged you on my blog today. You can play along, or not.
    Have a great day.

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  12. Oh bless! Sounds like you can sing and enjoy it. I used to sing Abba's 'Thank You for the Music' at Top Volume. The irony wasn't lost on my family. I do make soft sculpted textile figures and I love websites and publishing stuff. :O)

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  13. So cool to know that about you! I think we are all creators and we search and search until we find a way (or ways) to express it.

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  14. I loved this post. My mother was an opera singer, and wanted me to be one, but the idea of stage and travel and audience scared me too much. However, she did bequeath me a love of opera and classical music, and you listed some of my favorites. Music gets into a lot of my stories, as well. And, yes, sometimes I think of a passage of music or see a lovely painting (I paint and write) and think how lovely it would be to write a passage with the same rhapsody of feeling. Great quesion.

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  15. That sounds nice, to lay there and listen to the music. It's good to know that if one dream doesn't go the way you thought, it will be replaced by something better. Or at least something compensating...

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