Prose – A Flawed Life

I have a strong affection for all things and people flawed.

This goes back to my artist mother’s sensibilities, who always declared to me “I don’t like symmetry.” Symmetry was a word I learned early from her, and out of that I constructed an image of flawed representation. I grew up with her representations of her art, and she often pointed out the flaws in her pieces to me. I quickly ignored her because I was enthralled by her beautiful paintings and decorations.

A little later, I would learn the value of seeing my own flaws in my work when I became a concert flautist and always strived for perfect rendition of a piece. Back then, at the age of fourteen, I had the courage to stand solo in a packed auditorium of 2500 to play my heart out to the audience in my own flawed yet perfectly moving pieces.

Soon after I stopped performing in concerts, I taught myself how to let go of the sheet music and play improvisational jazz on my flute, which freed me to be an artist. At least in my borrowed philosophy of symmetry, I no longer was bound to meter and notes on a printed piece of paper. I looped my compositions so that they could begin and end at any point I wished and repeat with changes to pitch, melody, and breath for as long as I wanted to play. I usually played for six hours a day to my own pleasure.

No longer a throng of applause and standing ovations, but a deeper sense of myself and my creation through being a musician.

I have let go of my flute to favor writing. One day I will pick it up again and start the long road back to the improvisation which so fulfilled me and moved me.

I have had a very flawed past with very flawed people in my life. Thank goodness I have them still.

9 thoughts on “Prose – A Flawed Life

  1. I am very asymmetrical. The asymmetry of the people in my life offers them many more surfaces to share and a far better fit than building blocks will ever offer. Much love,
    xxx

  2. You are asymmetrical. You are. I know a few of the people in your life and without their myriad surfaces, they might be a glossy eight by ten. You know them far better than I do, of course. The people in my life are many-splendored as well. As soon as I think I know them, they present a different aspect of themselves and thus are an eternal surprise.xxx

  3. I was brought up on and lived a symmetrical life: everything exact, squared neatly at the corners, a place for everything and everything in its place. Some time before I retired and onward, I’ve been busting out of that mould and loving every minute.

    Interesting post, Gail. I haven’t been conscious about the changes I’ve been making–not really–until this post. Thanks for that.

  4. I have never thought of asymmetry in quite this way..it isnt odd to me.. but its one I ha e never considered beyond the artistic eye …
    You know the parellels in our lives are sometimes so intriguing..
    I played the oboe, well enough to have been able to to college on a scholarship had I cbose.. I’m tone deaf as to the way a note like..say an A…is flat or sharp..a skill that doesn’t bode well for an oboeist as you I’m sure know and one that caused me such great anxierty when first chair in a youth symphony that travelrd the world..
    I quit. I did learn to play the blues however and improvised with that. My creative abilities to go beyond the boundries of what we are told we greatly muted and my fear of failure and ridicule at the time were so strong I risked nothing in fear of being outed as someone other than who I was seen to be…I bought an oboe fifteen years ago… played it several times. But found my artisticflow in colors and form and words that dont have to be perfect…not like the A which tunes the entire orchestra..
    Great thoughts. Hope you are well.. and happy.
    Love Lizzie :):

    • Lizzie, it’s wonderful to hear from you! Yes ,the parallels are something I could write about. I’m fascinated and comforted at the same time. I, too, had so many pressures as a young musician to be perfect and perform beyond my abilities at the time that I had to drink shots of whisky at age fourteen before a performance in first chair with solos in order to quell the tremors in my hands. I have just set my music stand up again. I almost sold my flute last year, but want to begin anew with love and kindness toward myself. No pressure.

      Love and Hugs,
      Gail xxx

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