October 15, 2010

A Cellist’s Practice

What I’m Reading Today: Chapter 1 of my friend Pembroke’s nonfiction book about slasher films. I almost stayed up last night to read it! Fascinating.

I’m home today with a sick kid (and the well one decided to stay home too). My daughter was up all night throwing up. I was sleeping pretty soundly, though, so my husband got up with her most of the time. He’s such a great dad.

Last night I went with my mom to the symphony. The excellent cellist Beth Vanderborgh solo’d on an Elgar cello concerto. She was amazing to watch. Her face was locked in concentration, and her head cocked this way and that to focus and to listen to the orchestra and to catch the conductor out of the corner of her eye. Her arms and hands were superhuman. Such precision and strength and sinuosity. Her whole body was into it. I bet her toes were curling and uncurling in her black leather shoes. Her bowing was so expressive and nuanced, and her fingers flew up and down and up and down the frets.

It made me think about the time she must put in every day on her instrument. She must just spend hours going over the same bars again and again. The music moved me, but also the thought of her practice made me a bit despairing. I am not able to practice my craft for hours a day. Sure, I blog and write for my work-work, but I haven’t been able to work each and every day on fiction. I work more in fits and starts.

On one hand, at least I produce fiction once in a while but, then, this thought: If I don’t practice every day ~ whatever the reason ~ how can I hope to move beyond competent to good?

Questions of the Day: Do you practice every day?

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