Saturday, August 11, 2007

Magic

When I was young I believed in magic, in a magical life. Then, as happens to most people, I had all kinds of "realities" thrust at me and lots of opposition to following my dreams. Trying to convince someone not to follow their dream, no matter how unimportant or illogical it may seem to you, does nothing to help that person, even if you think that by following their dream they might not "make it". Langston Hughes wrote "Hold fast to dreams/ for if dreams die/ Life is a broken-winged bird/ that cannot fly./ Hold fast to dreams/ for when dreams go/ Life is a barren field/ frozen with snow." I have no idea when I learned this poem but it comes back to me every once in a while, probably to remind me to dream big, to reach for the stars.

I can't remember the first time I read Bridge to Terabithia but I think it wasn't until college. One of the main things that I remember about it was being so inspired by Leslie Burke, that she was such a beautiful girl with the kind of magic in her life that I wanted to always remember to have. Fast forward to graduation and the next eight years of my life. Dreaming big, after I graduated and soon after got married, my new wife and I follow through on our decision to start our new life together in Massachusetts. We didn't know anyone, didn't have jobs, but we wanted to do what we loved: play music. Since we still needed to support ourselves, we both got non-musical day jobs which brought us a steady paycheck. We also started freelancing in orchestras in the Boston area (but almost all our gigs were outside of Boston). I later started teaching elementary and high school students every week. This was a very busy time for us but one of the things that probably hurt me the most musically was my inability to stop doubting myself and my musical abilities. I also started thinking more and more that there was no way we could really support ourselves solely with music. These things were moving us further and further from realizing our dreams. In short, our dreams were starting to die.

After Nicholas was born and Tonya stayed home full time with him we really needed to make a decision: working full time for the company I had been a temp with for over two years. Although I had previously been offered a position six months or more earlier I had turned this down, trying to still focus on music. The realities of a new baby and basically half of our income cut made the decision for me! Luckily my boss was still interested in transitioning me to a full employee. Another part of my prior hesitation was that this job involves lots of travel. In the five and a half years I've been with the company my family and I have lived in four different states (excluding Massachusetts). In fact my daughter that just turned three hasn't lived in one place more than 14 months! And to think I wanted stability!

Obviously this kind of moving around can and has definitely hurt us musically but there have been some benefits that have come out of it, the biggest for me having been able to perform with the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra for almost a whole season. I was also able to take a few lessons from John Kasica, who performs with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I probably wouldn't have had these opportunities without my job taking me there, so I've always counted my job as a blessing. The only problem is that as I have been moved further and further from music the more magic has left my life, the more art has left my life.

Well, no longer! In less than a month our lives are going to drastically change: We're moving to North Carolina where I'll be a graduate student at North Carolina School of the Arts. This includes no more apartment life since we have acquired what is turning into a beautiful little house. I'll still be working for my company but will be doing this from home so with being a student and working full time life will be extra busy but it's going to be wonderful. It's going to be fun. It's going to be magical. I'm going to make it this way.

I'm not going to let anyone (or myself) pull me down this time. Several years ago I opted for a "stable" job, something that brought me a steady paycheck every week but never the fulfillment that I truly need. Tonya and I watched the new movie version of Bridge to Terabithia tonight and once again I was reminded of what a beautiful magical girl Leslie Burke was. Her inspiration has come to me again and once more I'm dreaming big; I'm going to reach those dreams. Life will be more magical than ever.

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