Self-Portrait Of An Artist, Told Through The Piano

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Shutterstock

The key that unlocks the piano room door is silver. It is small and edgy — edgier than most keys. It goes regular into the top lock, but you have to put it in the bottom lock upside down. Once you unlock both locks the doorknob twists and you can ease your way in.

The piano is silver like the key. It is small but sleek — edgier than most pianos. It is electric – a keyboard actually – but with the damper pedal plugged in and the settings set to Grand Piano 2, it plays the part. Next to the piano is a marble desktop with green Spanish tiles, a perfect place to rest my glass of wine. The wine is bitter and sour but it won’t taste that way after a few sips more.

I come to the piano when I don’t know where else to go. I taught myself to play it, but people often think I’ve had years of lessons because I’m pretty natural at music and the way I move my fingers on the keys shows how at home they are dancing like that, white on black. Some people are impressed because they’ve always wanted to learn to play and hearing my story gives them hope. Some people are disappointed because they’ve always wanted to learn to play and have been content to blame their lack of piano lessons.

I consider myself lucky to have access to a piano, and wine. It’s a good combination and a good way to escape things when I need that. A few sips of wine and the notes blur together like magic, the sound echoes out of my thumbs as they hum across the black white stage. My fingers are alive with the sound, pounding the keys or skipping across them like lily pads as I write notes into songs, graceful, light, making ripples and vibrations. A session at the piano makes me forget the day, forget the ways I’ve let myself down, be at peace, easy, free. Sometimes I have a bad session, but even then I walk away knowing I tried, I released something, even if only dissonance, into the universe. I walk away from a piano session knowing there’s more to people than eyes and bones, more than lies — there’s quality, tone, rhythm, voice, a chance to create something new, a choice in how we spend our time. And playing the piano is good – I always know it’s good and not a waste. I dislike wasting time.

Sometimes I lock the door when I play, don’t let the sound escape. Today I open it, let in the heaving humid air. Page 4. A new set of notes to explore, another story to leave me wanting more. TC mark

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