Category Archives: pianist

Five years later …

or nearly so, I am still sorting through my late husband’s things.

I should be past overpowering sadness by now.

I suppose I am, mostly.

But being a writer and photographer hinders that absolution.

Just when I begin to ascertain peace in my life, words intervene; I write about him and tear those nearly closed wounds open again.

It is as though he died this day, this moment, this hour.

Sadness seeps through the crevices the words carve.

Normal humans move forward, live their lives, make something of themselves from the shattered remains.

I want that, too.

But I’m a writer.

I’m a photographer.

I keep tearing those wounds, just as they’re healing, open.

I love writing about everything and photographing God’s perfect beauty; but it has a price.

I pay dearly through my words for they rip open wounds I’ve desperately attempted to close.

I bleed, painfully, and use photography to heal me.

Each image I capture stitches the brokenness and, simultaneously, pours remembrance on not quite yet healed hurts.

If one is not an artist of some kind, time will ease your pain.

For the rest of us, those with creative pieces in our soul, time simply laughs.

When the words, melodies and images are in our head and heart, there is little time can do.

What it can do is soon undone by what we are.

Sadness is my destiny, peace my hope.

And yet I write.

I photograph.

My hope is great.

My healing never really comes.

I have to ask myself if I would be willing to sacrifice my writing and photography for peace.

No, I answer.

I can live without peace.

To live without words and images would truly and altruistically destroy me.

That which brings me sadness will fuel my hope.

I am a writer and photographer.

Therein lies my hope.

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If I had a song to play …

I would play it now.

But I don’t.

Not because I don’t love music, the sound of it, the melody, the thought-provoking, beauteous sound that it makes.

No, none of those.

I don’t because I can’t play a note.

Not one.

I haven’t even mastered Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which most kindergartners can play on their I-Pads.

It is pathetic, in a profoundly sad kind of way, that I depend of others to give me my music fix.

Ok, let’s be specific.

My piano fix.

I love many kinds of music, but there is something about the piano that takes me to that other place.

I love hands, and that may be part of the obsession.

Hands can tell so much about a person.

Being a photographer, I spend a good deal of time photographing hands as each one has a story to tell.

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Some are gnarled and twisted with arthritis and yet still maintain the ability to button a jacket.

Some are destined to labor and become calloused and sore as they work, year after year after year.

Some are chosen to be used to create music, others, prose.

Some are used to touch the afflicted, without fear of contamination, and to comfort the comfortless.

Some are of no use at all, hanging silently and without guilt or guile at what they, were they so inclined, could accomplish.

Some are at the ready, pressing the shutter button to capture images that will take the present well into the future in images.

Some are folded, reverently, in prayer as they pray and give thanks for all manner of things.

Hands, more than any other feature, have a story to tell but, as hands, they are too humble to say so.

Look.  See.  Experience.

And know that simply by looking at someone’s hands, you have had a small glimpse into their soul.

handsPapaw’s hands

rideforjuvenilediabetes-22A Cyclist’s Hands

fishermanhandsA Fisherman’s Hands

littlehandsA baby’s hands

violinhandsA Cellist’s hands

clarinethandsA Clarinetist’s hands

bassoonhandA musician’s hands

 

When the wheel never stops turning …

life can become more of a trial than a joy.

The thought process becomes so discombobulated with the inundation of information and images that simply focusing on what is relevant becomes a near impossibility.

My family and friends know that some of my blogs are about them.  They are about life as I live it, so how could they not be?

This particular blog is about photographs that aren’t my own; photographs I want to take.

It is about images I want to see with my own eyes, not through someone else’s.

It is about the words that surround the images.

It is about the music I play that enhances the images and the words that describe them.

It is about the the things I dream of.

These statements alone make me sound like some kind of fanatic, but I’m not a fanatic.

I am a photographer.

I am a writer.

I am (somewhere in my soul) a musician.

I want to see, write and hear for myself.

Experience the heat, the cold, the adrenaline, the magic, the music, the inspiration, the awe.

I work for a living so that I can traipse around to places I want to see, photograph them and then write about them.

It may sound as though I am putting down the importance of nursing, something I have done for 25 years.

I’m not.

Just today, a patient made me cry when he told me that I was a bright spot in his day and he looked forward to my visits more than he did meal-time.

If you have ever been in the hospital, you know that meal-time is one of the highlights, and so I felt very moved.

But I wanted, more than to speak with him and encourage him, to photograph him.

I have been on a photographic journey, teaching myself, learning from others, finding God in the creation He so beautifully paints, for more than 30 years.

It is my center.  My sense of self.

My life is made up of images.  They rotate through my head like a never-ending carousel .

Image after image after image after image.

And the words.

Mrs. Campbell in eleventh grade gave me the courage to have  confidence in my words.

She was my favorite teacher and the one, above all, that I remember the most.

And yet, I digress. (But thanks, Mrs. C)

I can’t even begin to explain, with all of my words, what the words, when coupled with the images, does to me.

It shatters me on a level that is the most perfect shattering a person could ever hope for.

I wonder sometimes if I am vain.  I certainly don’t think much of myself, so that kind of vanity is out, but the images … I like them.  I want others to like them.  I desire, not to be famous, or even rich, but to simply be able to live out my life doing what I love.

I don’t think that is too much to ask, but therein lies the vanity.

I look at myself and see nothing special … I look at the images I see through the eyes God gave me and I see great things.

I don’t mind, particularly, sleeping in my car.  I don’t need much more than toast-chee crackers and an occasional diet Dr. Pepper.

But I need to see.

To experience.

To feel.

I want to know what a North Dakota winter looks like, what a New Orleans Summer smells like, what driving along the coast road from California to Washington State feels like.

I want to see the beauty, to feel the air, to see the endless flat road of Kansas extending out in front of me.

I want to taste the fog of San Francisco and breathe the vastness of a Montana sky.

I used to think that I wanted too much, but a wise woman (my mamaw Daphne) told me “some people want the simple and others want the extravagant  … wanting is wanting whatever the dream may be”.

She taught me to not be ashamed to want the things I want and dream for the things of which I dream.

If I can see the things I want to see, I won’t need others to show them to me and if I can play the piano myself, I won’t long for someone else to play for me.

So my dreams are this … to see my country and then see Ireland, to play the piano and to have a jeep, preferably red .

That is the extent of the the dreams I have for myself …

I have much deeper and greater dreams for those I love and cherish, but myself?  It is the simple things that stir my heart.

I have hope.

I have faith.

Nothing else is required.

It will happen when it happens.

And it will happen.  Of that, I am certain.

Until next time, be well, my friends … be well.

And don’t forget to dream.

flowersfornini

If I were granted a single wish …

I know, without hesitation, what I would wish for.

And, though it is second highest on my list and likely what many of my friends will think of first, my most cherished wish is not to own a  jeep.

It is to be able to play the piano.

No, not simply play it, but to master it.  To become one with it as though it were an extension of myself; much, I suppose, in the way my camera is now.

A part of my heart, my soul, my spirit.

A bursting forth of all the melodies that live inside my head.

I practice and practice and practice and yet never seem to make any real progress.

Oh, I can play at it a bit, but let’s, for a moment, live in reality, shall we?

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t wish I could play.

Wanted, more than anything else, to be able to sit down and just play.

Whatever.

Whenever.

I have friends who play.

My friend Randy is a genius on the piano and many times, I have watched his hands move effortlessly across the keys and found tears that I wasn’t even aware of sliding down my face at the simple beauty of the sight as well as the sound.

He played one of his original pieces at my late husband’s funeral and it was astounding.

It is the song I most request him to play.

And he does.  Play it for me, that is, because he knows I have a love to hear and watch him play.

I have other friends who play, ones I have heard though have not seen, but in my mind, I bring their hands into focus as they make music out of the air they breathe.

I hope, one day, to see it as I hear it, for while it was beautiful to hear, it would be magic to see.

It is the only thing that I can think of that I would give up photography for.

Yes, I said it.

I would trade photography, something I love more than life itself, for the ability to sit at a piano and play with the knowledge and privilege of an accomplished pianist.

Those who play often take it for granted.

That ability.

That gift.

That beauty.

I make music.  Some of it quite lovely … but I don’t read music and therefore cannot write music which leaves me with no way to portray it or save it so that I can play it again.

And so it is, though a lovely thing at the time, lost to me when I need it most.

I don’t want to depend on others for something that completes me and yet, I find myself doing exactly that.

And sometimes, I am simply left wanting, wishing and imagining.

Such is the way of it and, I suppose if I want it to be different, I will have to bring to the surface my inner pianist.

She is there, I know she is.  I just haven’t found her yet.

pianist

a pianists’ hands

There is something …

bassoonhand

about hands that has the capacity to make my mouth water.  Tonight, as I sat by a  friend as he played a song on the piano, I was mesmerized; as much by his hands as by the music they made.  They rolled effortlessly across the keys, without thought or direction … simply playing.  I couldn’t look away and wished for my tripod and a light.  I wanted to capture that moment, but I didn’t want it enough to risk losing the magic. I was surrounded by those powerful notes, feeling them touch my skin as they were absorbed into my blood, my bones, my thoughts; that is not something I would risk losing, even for a photograph.

pianoandlighthands

The hands of an artist are mysterious and intriguing.  My art teacher has the ability to practically breathe an image onto a page.  Each time I go to class, I stop and stare at a portrait he drew. The realism of it makes me shudder as it evokes precise images of a very frightening movie.  I fully expect the portrait to come to life and say, in a menacing, crazy-man’s voice, “Heeere’s Johnny!”.  But, I digress.  The hands.  The permanent ink spot on the finger, the darker shade on the pinkie edge, the way one lies flat on the table while the other draws; I sometimes find myself distracted by his hands and forget to pay as close attention as I mean to.  I want to photograph those hands, but it isn’t the time.  There will come a time.  I need to.  And I will.  When it’s time.

The hands that hold the hammer are strong and sure, yet gentle enough to bottle-feed a newborn lamb.  Those hands would belong to my Daddy.  He and I didn’t see eye to eye for way too much of my life.  I was too soft-hearted to hold my own against such a strong personality and sense of self.  I perplexed him, I think, more than anything.  At some point in my adult life, we became close; close the way I always wished it would be.  It was then that I started noticing his hands.  More often than not they were cut and bleeding, the fingers and palms thick with callouses from years of hard work.  I have taken many photographs of his hands, have managed to fade in to the background and work, unnoticed, as he does what he does.  Working, praying, fishing, gardening.  I have hundreds and each time I look at one, I am reminded of the love and strength in them.

fishermanhands                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are others’ I wish to see, to photograph.  Some of them are musicians, others not. I do find, though, that the musicians and artists have a greater pull to me as their hands are a part of what they create.  Just as my eyes are  essential instruments to my photography, so are their hands in the paintings they paint and symphonies they play.

clarinethands

Photographing hands is an ethereal experience for me.  It is sometimes heartbreaking, the emotion that they invoke.  Knowing that I am close enough to that which I seek, to see it clearly through the lens of my camera, is the kind of moment I hope for.  I know, when I no longer notice that there is a body attached to the hands, then it is time.

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If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men ~ Romans 12:18