Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nimble Fingers, Fumbling Mind: an autobiography

"...The message is clear: if you want to know me, read my work." - From an interview with Barry Lopez.

There's a big outdoor fire just through the woods, up close fires are difficult for me these days. I grieve the luxury of being a Northwest type woman who used to chop, split and stack alder and fir for a season of wood burning. But, I have chosen a different sort of life and though old friends are bewildered by my limitations I cannot blame them. I've changed so in the years in between. So I close the door tight against the smoke, and sit to write behind the closed door.

The quote above from an interview with Barry Lopez shared with and reprinted by Terri Windling has me reflecting on the art, the work, the expressions that make for a hand-crafted life.This morning I sat with an open 'page' in the space of my on-line writers group. I felt something wanting to be said. Something of a hybrid between non-fictional truth telling and fantasy: myth.

Nimble Fingers, Fumbling Mind

"Mind you I know it is a blessing as well as a curse to own these nimble fingers attached to a fumbling mind," it was a disclaimer meant to put him off the scent. Rather than look up and confirm the smoke-screen I crossed the room and poured myself onto the piano bench. Half-written scores of melody lay in stacks, I pushed them aside to make room for my ass.

"Find center. Middle C. Start the scales from there. Go. Play."He wasn't buying my distraction. Poured more coffee into his china cup, added milk, two lumps of sugar, stirred slowly and sipped. Sun pulsed through the streaked windows as my fingers struck the smooth whites and blacks, tempting my mind with the bottle of vinegar ... should wash that window; the cat would love a walk before it rains again. My fingers struck the smooth whites and blacks. I'm really too old to get very good at this. My fingers strike the smooth whites and blacks.

A small mouse squeaked from the hearth rug at the far-end of the music room. My fingers loosened now the strikes on the smooth whites and blacks were quicker. The squeaking kept pace with the scales. I thought about stopping, but looked up and saw him wave me down.

"Keep playing."

I did that. My fingers were loosened enough to do the scales with less effort. Over the tops of my glasses I turned and saw the young piano teacher pull from his pocket a wad of fleecy wool. He tossed the wool into the fire. Before the wool was overly burnt, Mouse Woman rescued her prize and started making wonderful piles of mountain goat wool with her ravelly fingers. Mischief had been avoided. Music was being made. Balance was brought to a fumbling mind. A most satisfying end. Mouse Woman loves satisfying endings.

My Inspiration: http://books.google.com/books/about/Mouse_Woman_And_The_Mischief_Makers.html?id=cbFMhIafXkEC
If you have never read the stories of Mouse Woman you are in for a serving of wonderful magic. I found Christie Harris' trilogy Mouse Woman and The Mischief Makers at my local library.

Can you relate to having nimble fingers and a fumbling mind?

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