Life

A Cycle of Violins

The title is my feeble attempt at making Violins sound like Violence. It’s been done before and I’m trying it here. Plus, Sex and Violins had already been used.

Sometime this past spring, while I was asking myself some hard questions like, What’s It All About and What’s Up With My Neighbours, I realized that I didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle.

It was so obvious.

I knew so little about them in fact, that I started reading. Soon I was dreaming about Harleys and Hondas and it wasn’t long before I was getting quotes for riding lessons and planning my schedule around when I could take them. I rented Easy Rider and The Wild One. I re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I love that book.

I talked to colleagues and friends who had bikes. They shared their experiences with me. Motorcycles are simply romantic and there’s no denying it.

Then my dad gave me a violin.

It had belonged to my grandfather (not my great-grandfather), although he didn’t play it. The violin hung on a wall in his antique store for years before my father inherited it. Since then, it sat in its case for decades, tucked away in a closet at my parents house, without strings. My parents had once brought it to a Luthier who said it would cost around $500 to repair, which didn’t seem worth it.

So I looked into it and bought some strings, and some tuners, and for about $25, I was pretty sure I had a functional violin. I signed up for lessons.

I also forgot about the motorcycle.

My teacher, a talented Russian woman, tried it out it and said that it has wonderful tone. I can’t tell you what piece she played on it, but it was full of both sorrow and joy. When she was finished, she said, “Your violin. It is effortless. It plays itself.”

It took everything in my power to resist the temptation to say, “In Soviet Russia, violin plays you”.

After three lessons, I’m getting pretty good at Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.

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