Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

The Flute

I mentioned my flute before, in my post On Being an Aspiring Writer. I’ve actually had the instrument for several years now, since at least 2009. I got it, the music lesson books I own, a music stand—just had to have the music stand!—and a special fancy flute case after saving up for it all. At the time, I was determined to become a great flutist in addition to a great writer.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well. LOL

I haven’t gotten rid of the flute or any of the other things I got with it because, in the back of my head, I have this idea that I will one day pick up my flute and learn how to play. Sometimes I do actually do this. I’ll set aside a couple hours a day for practice and carry on with it for two or three weeks, or maybe a month. Inevitably, something happens to interrupt this habit, and I let it fall by the wayside in favor of writing. Writing has long been and will always be my first love.

But I refuse to give up the flute. Sometimes I look at the flute, in its case, and feel guilty for not actually practicing with it like I tell myself I want to. Most of the time, I make excuses for not playing it. It’s not the right time, the timing has to be perfect, I absolutely must have at least one month free when I can really ingrain the habit of practice into my habits. Whatever. But there it sits, waiting for me to pick it up, unzip its fancy case, and assemble it to practice on.

The biggest thing I tell myself—it may even be a lie—is that I’ll get a teacher. Some nebulous half-conceived day in the future, I’ll suddenly have enough money to pay a flute teacher to come teach me to play. This, more than anything, is my ideal situation. I imagine I’ll come by the money for this teacher from a job, when, the truth is, if I work, I’ll have to do it full time in order to have any hope of making ends meet. And, while the structure the job will introduce into my life will be a great asset, it will also take a lot of time, and what little time I have left, I know I’ll want to devote to writing. Yet I dream, and I imagine having this wonderful full-time position that will allow me to have a teacher come tell me how to play my flute, when the lesson books I have are perfectly capable of doing that. I even bought a lesson book with a CD of the lessons being played, with a drumbeat and everything.

I haven’t actually picked up my flute in over a year. Almost two years now, in fact. I intended to do it last year, but things always got in the way. I also intended to pick it up in 2013, but then I found the cancer, and it was all I could do to write, never mind introduce a hobby of playing music into my life.

Part of the reason I keep the flute is simply because I love it. I can imagine myself playing it, and the sound of it I hear in my head is enough to convince me to keep it. The rest of the reason why I keep it is because I want it to be there if I should someday decide to stick with it. I’d like to learn to play to give myself another creative outlet, something to exercise my mind. Even though I don’t know right now if I’ll ever pick it up again. It’s a comfort just knowing its there.

I’m in the middle of a period of thinking of picking it up again right now. Each day, I think about hunting out my lesson books. I consider setting up my music stand to put them on. And I imagine opening my flute’s case and assembling it to play.

Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe.

4 Comments

  1. If it’s a comfort to you, keep it. It does no harm, and picking up the flute now and again refreshes your mind by doing something different.

    And maybe someday, you will practice consistently and learn. I want to hear about it if/when you do.

  2. I agree with Erin. It’s doing no harm and it’s inspiring you to dream about it. However, I do have one minor quibble. Yes, you need to practice all the time to reach true proficiency, but if the sound gives you joy, why not set it out and play a quick tune every once in a while. You’d be amazed how good you can get just playing Mary Had a Little Lamb, and it’s good for overall lung health too :).

    Thank you. You’ve inspired me to think about getting my flute out as well :). I have a basic lesson book, a stand, and the flute. I collect wind instruments because I love the sound of them, but I haven’t progressed much past the recorder lessons I got in grade school.

    • Thanks, Margaret!

      LOL re inspiring you to get your flute out. First Erin with her drawing, now me with my flute. I can’t wait to see what creative endeavor you come up with to inspire thoughts of doing.

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