Posted by: Marie | October 9, 2011

(597) A mixed bag – Part 1 of 2

Post #597
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, April 5, 2011]

The last couple of weeks have been a mixed bag of experiences . . .

I’ve really enjoyed working on the composition that came to me in the middle of the night. I’ve been able to capture the other parts of the music that were swirling around in my head. It didn’t have an introduction or an ending, just the middle. I played it for the lady who is my piano teacher and she suggested a simple beginning . . . maybe the theme played very simply, then add more notes to it each measure until I got to the full complexity found in the main part. I took her suggestion and came up with a piece of music that was really starting to take shape . . . even though it didn’t have an ending yet.

I changed the name from “Glimpses of Hope” to “Pieces of Me” because it has taken on a tone that is not so consistent with hopeful thoughts . . . and, it is a secondary name that came to me during the night – both names came to me in the night. I think there will be a subsequent movement that will have a more hopeful tone and that the overall collection of movements could be titled “Glimpses of Hope”.

Photo by Martin Chen

I gave my mom a printed copy of the music and she attempted to play it on her piano. Then she laughed and asked what I had eaten for supper the night before it came to me that would cause me to have such a dark nightmare. I had to laugh . . . it is pretty heavy music!

I played the piece for my housemates on the piano at our house and they really liked it. And, while I was playing it, their standard poodle (the rescued stray dog who is the newest member of the family) walked over to the piano and stared at my hands . . . he cocked his head to one side, then to the other, listening to the music coming out of the piano with a very confused look on his face. We laughed and laughed at him! We are guessing he has never heard a piano before!

One day, James (the cop) and his daughter, Sara, showed up for her lesson as I was working on the piece. Sara asked to hear the whole piece, but we didn’t have enough time to listen to it, so I told her I would send her the audio file. She was so excited about that!

When I sent the audio file, I included this message: “When you are listening to the music and when you get to the end, can you tell if the song sounds “finished” or do I still need to add an ending?” She (with the help of her mother, Cindy) responded with: “We liked your composition, but we think it still needs a finish. Maybe when you take a nap you can finish it.”

It is really neat to have such an enthusiastic young fan!

(If you’d like to hear the recording, you can hear it at: wav file / mp3 file. The music only lasts two minutes, the last two minutes of the recording is empty space I left open for the ending . . . )


Just over a week ago, I announced in a blog post that I had come through the really rough patch and that I was back in the flow of blogging on a regular basis after a month-long break. But then, I haven’t been able to stick with the daily publishing schedule I had followed before.

I’ve done some thinking about that this week . . . I’ve figured out I’ve been holding myself to a “perfect” standard with my blog. And, that is not necessary.

I believe it is more important to put time towards higher priorities like preparing for piano lessons and like giving myself time to “do nothing”. It is a more responsible and reasonable choice to post to my blog when I can and let that be good enough.

In a step towards that way of operating, I initiated a get-together with my Hispanic friend, Maria, from the bus barn. I’ve not seen her much since I stopped working at the bus barn and I miss her. So, I invited her to take me around to all the houses she lived in as a child – she grew up in a family of migrant workers and they lived in all these tiny tenant homes on the edges of the fields they worked. She has lived in this area ever since she was a little girl. She told me stories of parties and dances and family gatherings . . . she came from such a rich culture. It was so neat to learn more about her life. I’m glad I took the time to do that.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. Hi Marie, I like the idea of not holding ourselves to a perfect schedule.

    • Hey, Evan –

      The funny thing is that the more I try to hold myself to a “perfect” schedule and/or standard, the less I’m able to actually do so!

      – Marie

  2. I like your piece, it definitely feels like it needs an ending to me. Though maybe not a very long one(?)

    • Were you able to download the wav file?

      I’ve played around with a number of endings since then . . . still haven’t settled on one I really like yet . . .

      • I was able to download the MP3 this time. No idea why – it was probably something I was doing wrong; just don’t know what.

        • Are you able to download the wav file? That is the format I’ve been using up until the two this week . . .

          • Yes the wav file now works as well.

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