When I have taken time off from the oboe, I dread going back. Even if I crave it, and desperately wish I was active again, I fear those initial few notes. The reeds are unrecognizable in their case – WHICH one did I use for that last concert? Is THIS one any good? – and feel uniformly horrid. I’m not quite sure whether I am soaking them up enough. The instrument is clumsy under my fingers. My lips feel puffy and unresponsive. Although I know the oboe better than almost anything else, the first day back feels awful. It seems that I’ll never get back to the freedom and ease and authority that I left behind. Sometimes the expectation of that discomfort can keep me away for another day or even two. I can let time pass, wishing I was playing but unwilling to work through the re-introduction.
I’ve been playing the whole time here, don’t worry – but for the first time in my life I feel about writing the way I do about the oboe. I let this blog go – heck, I let any thoughts of real life go – while in Colorado. This rental condo is too small to accomplish anything but the most crucial tasks when Zoe is awake, and by the time she goes to sleep we are tired and not feeling reflective. During the days I am either working – playing rehearsals or concerts – or practicing and making reeds, and on the days off we hike. It’s been five weeks of awesome, and on the other hand I can’t wait to get home and be normal again. It’s time to teach, it’s time to get back into the routines of home-ownership, it’s time to write regularly once more.
For three years this blog has been a way for me to work out my thoughts and put them into words. In the process it has helped me to improve my teaching, my playing, and my understanding of my own career. I have met people through ProneOboe and feel part of a community in a way that I hadn’t before. I feel smarter than I did as a non-writer. I do not intend to give it up.
But I have missed it. For the past several days I have been hearing sentence fragments float through my head. I come up with interesting ideas to write on and in the rush of my days they waft away again. When I think about sitting down to actually capture them the thought sounds dreadful. I can’t remember how to start.
But I can assume that, like playing the oboe, this skill will come back. The first day is rough. The second day feels slightly better, and eventually the process of getting my thoughts onto paper will again be fluent, cathartic, and fun.
I’ll see you on the other side!