My place among the music

I didn’t read much poetry when I was younger. As a child, I didn’t find myself lost in words as I hear some writers were. I don’t know if I had a favorite book (perhaps “A Light in the Attic,” or “Misty of Chincoteague” – the story of a family raising a filly born of a wild horse). I did love those books. Misty fed my healthy obsession. I loved the way horses smelled, their soft velvet noses.
But I don’t remember studying much poetry is early schooling. Bits here and there, “The Raven,” Shakespeare. I just wanted to be outside. But I wrote poems before I really knew what they were. Something sounded in me, called me to a piece of paper when I was 8 years old and my hamster died. Something else needed to be said after we buried him in the backyard. My small grief, which was not so small at the time, over the loss of a beloved pet needed another body. And then a love potion for my parents in first grade. 5 years divorced and I drew a picture of them facing each other, arms out, casting love dust, flowers and grape juice. Or the ode to a best friend – I made two. My mom matted both – one for me, one I gave to her.
I wasn’t surrounded so much with other’s poetry when I was younger, but what I was surrounded by was music. My mom was a cello player in her younger years. My Dad played the guitar and once owned a music shop in Napa. I remember the jam sessions, my brother strumming along, picking up strings and chords. And I’d listen trying to make words.
My uncle blew a great French horn – we used to watch him in the Christmas parade at Disneyland – purple tights, he looked like something out of Robin Hood. My aunt played the flute, my grandma the guitar – she played at hospitals until her arthritic fingers swelled and she couldn’t anymore. And my brother – self taught – guitar and the keyboard. I’d listen with my ear to the wall. He sounds like Prince and Billy Corgan, but better. And we can sing! Some of us I’ve never heard. We have quiet voices at times. It’s a shame we don’t use them more.
But I started with the recorder, by force, in 4th grade, moved to the flute, the Viola. My mom floated the idea of the piano – but I felt my fingers were too small.
I always loved listening, the movement, the sounds, but none of them called to me. And I wonder now if my music was words? If the words came more naturally than any note? I can strum a guitar, but not very well. I can sing. But when I think of my lineage, my grandpa a teacher and writer, my grandma a singer and musician I feel the combination of music and words. I feel the poetry.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My place among the music

  1. Dear Rachel, what a beautiful, tender piece of writing. The music got into your bloodstream so early, it must have been before words. Your heart needed to make something to commemorate your beloved hamster, to as if longing were magic make a drawing to bring your parents back together. You knew words were important early on, you just had no name. And singing, and the flue and all the music you heard in in your poems, will be in your poems, it can’t be helped and oh how it will help you! Lucky girl! The rhyme, the rhythm, the beat–it’s all there for you, now in words. xo

    • rachvb says:

      Dearest Melissa, thank you! I suspect I heard the music before I was a full-fledged body. I still have the poem somewhere. I’ve been meaning to look for it. It’s fun to see where you’ve come from, how far you’ve been. And despite the fact that that small potion broke my mom’s heart to read, she kept it. She’s had it for all these years. My mom’s good friend wrote to me once, that as a little girl I was so quiet absorbing it all. I didn’t say much, but she said if you looked in my eyes you could tell I was paying attention, that something was going on. I just soaked it in.
      It’s strange and amazing to hear stories of yourself so young. We really are born what we are supposed to be.
      So much of what we do is about trust. Trust in our own inner ear. It’s a beautiful thing. xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Valid XHTML Strict and CSS