Saturday, September 24, 2011
"Hello...is this Anne?" the voice on the other end of the line will ask. And then, just barely possibly, "Congratulations."
Instead, it's my mother: "You left your camera here." It's my dentist: "Your husband has an appointment." It's our contractor, wanting his check.
But I keep running for it. I hop off the exercise machine. I scrabble frantically beneath the couch cushions. I haul myself out of bed and dodge an awkwardly placed pile of shoes trying to stop the bring bring bring. My chamber group, which learned in July that we were in the finals of a national competition, has spent the last 2.5 months waiting to learn our fate.
On Thursday, I stumbled downstairs. I thought: "Husband. Groceries." The unknown number flashed across the screen. I picked up the phone.
I've felt, ever since...strange.
It's taken me awhile to figure out why. I've won my share of stuff, in life. Probably more than my share of stuff. I've won essay contests and poetry contests and fiction contests and scholarships and grants, mostly when I was young, but on into my twenties as well. Winning always felt good, but it was a superficial kind of good, especially if I'd worked hard -as I often worked hard- to win.
Turns out there's a difference between winning as a goal and winning as a byproduct. Between winning for something you've deliberately crafted as a vehicle for winning, and winning for something you do because you love to do it.
It turns out to be a powerful distinction. This particular chamber group has its share of the business of being human, but it is, in my life, something I'm unmitigatedly thankful for. It's good music-making with good friends. I work hard at it, and I believe it in.
It turns out I can't say that for very many things. Usually, in my world, it's one or the other. I work hard at speech therapy, but I don't always believe in it. I believe in writing, but I often let it slide. Throughout my life, probably out of some combination of self-protectiveness and perversity, I've tended to work hard at things I don't believe in and half-ass things I do.
I work hard it, and I believe in it.
It's radically simple and unbelievably complex, and it makes me feel, more than good, more than anything else, vulnerable.
On the other hand, it's nice to have someone else believe in it, too. Look for our debut CD, to be recorded and released by a major label.