So, we are in Pittsburgh. We’re in our hotel room with our laptops, which detect a hotel wireless network. This seemed like good news. Except it requires a password, and nobody at the hotel actually knows what it is. They keep telling us things that don’t work. As a result, I am writing this without knowing when I might be able to post it.
Paul is napping, which I was doing until just recently as well. We left this morning at 6am and got in at about 3:30 this afternoon. Pretty good, we thought. Had some food, wandered around my old college campus for a while, and then came back and crashed. There is a dinner we could be at right now, but I have doubts about us making it. We’ll see.
Seeing the campus was interesting. There are all these new buildings—some of which I saw when I was last here, about six years ago, others which are new even since then. Much is the same, however. We walked through CFA and I showed Paul the big wooden table on the mezzanine upon which I used to nap between classes. All the voice teachers I knew when I was there have retired, it seems… I didn’t recognize many names on the studio doors. Robert Page is still here, evidently, as his name was on a banner advertising an upcoming opera in the new arts complex (one of the buildings that did not exist six years ago). Despite the fact that I don’t approve of some of his teaching methods (primarily inspiring exceptional musicianship through personal humiliation and fear), he is one of the people I learned the most from here, and I’m glad he’s still around for the benefit of the students here, or at least the ones who are able to work with him in a constructive way. I think Ralph Zitterbart may still be here as well, though I admit I’d be terrified to run into either of them. They would be so disappointed in my career path… I’m not sure I could stand to see it on their faces. Both were convinced of my future as a great lady of the opera (despite my open dislike of that business), and though they reluctantly accepted my choice of a musical theater career, and maybe even could have handled the couple of years I spent as a folk singer, I think that they would be dismayed at my current involvement in the music world, aka none whatsoever. So yeah. I’ve been disappointed enough in myself and my lack of direction in recent years… I don’t think I could bear it from them as well.
Which brings me to a question I’ve pondered for a long time… do you think that people have an obligation to use the talents they possess? Throughout my life I’ve heard people say things along the lines of “It’s a crime for so-and-so to waste such talent!” What do you all think of this? Personally, I am torn. On one hand, I know I have said or at least thought that about other people in my lifetime. On the other hand, there are those who clearly have thought that about me in the past, and probably think that now as well. I can sing. I know this. I have always been able to sing. It is probably the most significant talent I was born with, and certainly the one that has been the most fully developed. It is, in fact, the only thing in the world that I can say with complete certainty that I do well. It is the one thing I have always been able to count on. It is the one thing I have with which to impress others. It is, quite possibly, the only thing about me that is truly out of the ordinary, or well above average. When I was working in musical theater, it was the thing that set me apart at auditions. It was my ticket. It was what got me jobs and lots of them. Without my voice, I was a decent actress (nothing special… a little quirky in some ways that worked for certain roles, but nothing extraordinary) with a sweet midwestern baby face and a body that did not match and was extremely difficult to costume well, even at my thinnest (which was still heavy by industry standards). My voice is what put my foot in the door, always. Even if, ultimately, a certain director found he/she liked my acting or liked my persona, the only reason I ever got in front of them in the first place was my voice. I know this. In that business you have to know your strengths, and I did. I knew my strength and I used it.
So. I don’t sing anymore, not professionally, or even non-professionally. There are a lot of reasons for it, some of which are easier to explain than others. I still love singing, and I do it around the house and in the car. This wedding, however, will be the first time I have sung in public for over three years. I miss singing, but there isn’t an outlet for me to do it right now, and I’m not sure when there will be again, if ever. So what does this mean? Am I wasting some divine-given talent? Am I frittering something away? Should I be ashamed? I don’t know. I really don’t.
I really need the internet. See what happens when I am left to ramble on and on with nothing to stop me?
There is a guitar in my hotel room. I had to bring it to practice my song for the wedding (though someone else is playing at the actual event, thankfully). This is very strange, because I haven’t played it in forever, and it is actually the main reason I stopped singing (folk music, anyway). It hurts. My fingers are all fragile and delicate now. Plus it stares at me from its case. Menacingly. *narrows eyes*
Hm. The city is on fire, and there are rats in the grass and the lunatics yelling in the streets, it’s the end of the world, yes! Or perhaps it’s just college students. So difficult to tell. God I’m old.
Ugh. My stomach is angry with me. This could possibly be due to the fact that I ate O fries. Anyone who has ever lived in this part of Pittsburgh will understand what I mean. I hadn’t had them since I graduated from college (which was in 1991 for those who care). It is possible that O fries at the age of 34 are a very bad idea. Oh well. They tasted good. My husband went crazy over them.
I really need the internet.