It comes in the mail – the most inconsequential of instruments: plastic black, screws and levers joined to silver keys, the impenetrable double reed, which feels like a straw against my tongue. There is nothing noble about it. At recess after band class, I kick like a calf, hitting my teeth on the slide so the front tooth bends and turns brown, giving me a headache that sends me home sick. At home I drink a bowl of broccoli soup with a straw. I am flushed and nauseous, red around the eyes. When I start coughing, my father gives me a cabbage leaf for my chest. I go to bed sucking the oboe reed like a Popsicle. In my fever, I dream of an orchestra of oboes, each one tuned differently, the terrible sound of death, the requiem of ducks and ghosts.
When my mother dropped me off at music school in upstate New York, she said, “Oh Jesus help this kid be something special!” She wanted a child prodigy, like Mozart and Lizst, but I was just an oboist with so-so vibrato. When my mother left, I changed my name from Horace to Horatio. It was a boarding school. You could be whatever you wanted for a year. I told everyone I was from Argentina, which made things better, since I was last chair in the orchestra. I refused to speak Spanish since I was in America now and I wanted to be American. In truth, I was from Michigan. I wore Izods and stonewashed jeans, tight-rolled. I had a Midwestern slang. I said things like hoydie-doydie and naw. My father was an elder at a Pentecostal church. My mother cleaned our kitchen for a living. I was raised in a house with more bibles than aspirin tabs. No one caught on because in music school you spend so much time repeating minor arpeggios that you don’t notice other people’s accents or skin tone. You only notice embouchure and posture. You envy someone else’s G-sharp major scales and circle breathing. If you were an oboist, like me, you noticed the shape of a reed, the wood tone and nationality of the instrument: French Loree or Rogoutat. If you had a plastic oboe, like me, you were told not to leave your instrument on the radiator since it would melt and ruin a perfectly good case. I decided to rent an oboe from the music library; it was made of African balsam. “At least you don’t sound like a saxophone anymore,” Heather Wong said after sectionals. She was just being nice since she was second to last chair. The other players fondled their oboes like exotic wives, with bulbed bells and cotton pads and gold-plaited keys. The best players used peacock plumes to swab. I used an old sock and a piece of string. Sarah Sinigesson said her father found her oboe in an abandoned Egyptian attic; it was worth ten grand, she said. I said my plastic oboe cost me two-fifty brand-new. She said, “Oh Horatio, that’s just awful.” We learned to make double reeds with bamboo cane and colored thread. We shaped them with Vitry knives and a straight edge. I practiced for six hours every day. There was nothing else to do. I played Marcello, Vivaldi or Verdi, because Italians knew how to make something sound pretty with just a triad and some trills. But I was terrible. “Relax your wrists!” Mr. Blund would say during my lesson. “If I see you use forked-F again, I will cut off your hands.” Mr. Blund said he was very respected in Belgium. Mr. Blund said he couldn’t wait to get out of this God-forsaken penitentiary and tour with a real symphony. He was right. The campus was stuck in a knot of trees: a row of cinderblock buildings and a performance hall shaped like a UFO. Every room on campus was sound proofed with synthetic pads and asbestos. Everywhere you went it felt like an asylum. Juries were worse than The Gong Show. Anyone could sit in and offer remarks about intonation or timing. A bassoonist named Barbara Mushwater once stopped me in the middle of Wagner to tell me my retardation of the slurred note before the cadence was bad. I said I didn’t know there was such a thing as good retardation, but no one found it very funny. I said, “Could you be more specific than bad?” She said no, that about summed it up.
- Sufjan Stevens
(I believe this will be the basis of my short story/screenplay project. I think there is alot to build on, and it is an entertaining subject. Do you agree?)
want to explain the point of “Our Town” by Thorton Wilder to me?
i don’t get it. it seems too simple.
that’s the point. :P
i remember reading it in the ninth grade, and our teacher often described it as a ‘play about nothing’.
Its actually quite comparible to ‘A Chorus Line’ in the set up of the story, if you are familier with that show at all. The play is basically a run over the charactors in the story. with the narrator as the main charactor, because the setting is of his time.
"well… let’s start out with the situation. We are on the coach bus. about 10:45 at night. After a very long day in beautiful New York City. However instead of talking nicely about the day and Phantom Of The Opera (amazing) We have the most mainstreem pop playing including Lady GaGa and Brittany Spears (FUCK) as high as the bus radio would play might i add. Also we have teen age girls 17-18 dancing aroung and singing at the top of there lungs. They complaing about the opera while there vocal chords are screaming bluddy fucking murder. so i am tired and all i here is that shit. I would rather take it up the ass from a homeless fuck than listen to that again.. it was more retarted than The Roots being a house band for a talk show. I would rather trim a woolley bush than join in the rave party that was going on… All in All worse bus ride ever… well maybe Rosa Parks had it a little harder."
- A. Sechrist
"I’m sure Linda (bus driver) did not at all care for the shananagins partaking in the rear- although she looks like quite a handfull herself. To be absolutely honest, the positive brothers (street permorming ensemble) put the biggest smile on my face. Comedic, yet quite relevent to present day scenarios. Bravo sirs. I also must mention my thoughts about tonights broadway extravaganza- The Phantom of The Opera. Last tuesday, April 7th, I went to see ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Sheas-Buffalo. Now, I’m a big naysayer when it comes to phantom- mainly because its over-rated, and wayy to popular for my taste. But, my friend is a fan of the show (phantom) so I’m trying my best to find a middle ground here. Jesus Christ Superstar was so fantastic, so funaminal, magnificent, exceptional, so fucking illustrious, that there was a standing ovation not even three minutes into the show. (btw I bookmarked a thesaurus today) Phantom lacked power if you ask me, for 21 years, stationary, at the majestic theatre on 44th and Broadway, I expected better. Now, on Jesus Christ Superstar’s aspect; Ted Neeley (Jesus - age 65) was fan-fucking-tastic, and for a TOURING production, it had so much power and majesty, i was crying during the crucifixion scene- and where he asends to heaven. It was so moving, and silent- until one woman could not hold in her excitment and utter one word: "Hallelujah!" and the entire house irrupted with a standing ovation that lasted for quite a long time. Both were fantastic. But Jesus Christ Superstar took the cake on this.”