Hope

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Femme_cueillant_des_Fleurs_by_Pierre-Auguste_Renoir%2C_c1874%2C_oil_on_canvas.jpgI rushed for the train, ignoring the man playing  jazz at the St Pancras piano, but seeing it was late went to hear him. He was listening to a young woman singing her own song. She harmonised very simply- an octave in the bass, a triad in the treble, not even using inversions, and only chords I, IV and V- once, a VI. When he looked at me I wondered if he wanted me to go.

She left for her train, and he sat down to hit blue notes in a way those of us who do not, envy. “Do you play?”
-a little.
-Would you like to?

I sat down to play Giorni Dispari, a not terribly difficult piece, not terribly well- though with feeling.

“Oh, more than a little,” he expostulated, warmly, and I bathed in that warmth. I am thinking of it now. I went for my train.

What is that “A little”- mock-modesty, perhaps, to elicit praise; or my best estimate of my talents; or not properly valuing my gifts? It is the kind of thing I hear from others: it might be for varying causes, to hide ability in order to get one over on someone, or even because it is the done thing or the fashion.

I procrastinate, and retreat, because I have little hope, or valuing of my gifts, or belief in what I might achieve. It seems that seeking to evaluate my achievements and abilities might help me: discounting them does me no good. My feeling of never being good enough- if that were true, I would not be here.

He who fears he shall suffer already suffers what he fears.
-Michel de Montaigne

7 thoughts on “Hope

  1. While I truly only play “a little,” to be able to recognize those chords and the richness of his blue notes enlivens and brings pleasure to the experience of listening. Then to sit down and play with his gentle compliment is simply a validation of your abilities. It takes some courage to do that.

    I think many artists are guilty of comparing themselves to others. It’s all a continuum and you’re not alone in devaluing your gifts. The fact that you recognize it is a great step towards valuing it.

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  2. I am sure I have read this before – which is why I refrained from commenting earlier today. Is this deja vu on my part, or simply craziness? A lovely vignette anyway, with a lovely message attached. 🙂

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    • Well, it is my thing- undervaluing gifts, etc., but the story was only a fortnight or so ago. I noticed a friend had the essais in her loo, which means she is very good at assimilating information quickly or has unenviable digestive issues.

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