20.1.12

to find a minnow in the wide wide water

three years ago today, i met a sleepy minnow in amidst of electronic music. on 4 january 2009, i arrived to banff centre, my home for the year.  i have not played much piano for a long while since i finished my degree and it was all a big surprise to find myself in one of the world's greatest place- for arts but more importantly, for humanity. after finishing my doctoral degree, i enjoyed working at the coffee shop (the regular 5am - 130pm full day shift for the type A financial district crowd, mon-fri...) and i wondered what i should do with life. i did think hard about going into the corporates ladder within starbucks.  i told self that i did not miss music that much.

and three years ago today, i was getting ready to play a suite in a public concert on next day (which i havent done since i played my last doctoral recital), day full of practice and rehearsals, sharing personal tales and ideas with total strangers who i just met- only because we were all there with one simple purpose: to express and communicate.  in this particular evening, a friend was sharing her electronic music project in her studio.

and there it was: a human noise: a snore.
i was situated deep inside the studio, underneath the piano, sitting on floor with a wee glass of wine, ears open to all these complicated sound- and a snore. which was followed by a small 'ouch.'

i straightened my back, pulled my gaze from the ground to figure out what was going on- and there he was.

minnow was sitting up, rubbing his leg, with world war one trenches under his eyes.

haha.  the minnow also was on his first banff trip, greatly encouraged by a friend.  he flew in that day, across the puddle and a shuttle. he decided that his best solution to fight the jetlag is- to ignore it. so he bravely came out to the night concert in the studio with his banff connector lady. sat. crouched. lay down on the floor. and came the inevitable snooze and a snore.  and connector lady, baffled in embarrassement, kicked him to wake him up- which he did, with a small yet perfectly audible 'ouch.'

i was amused and intrigued.

the day after, i played in the concert and i was in a bit of a emotional state. such weird thing, to come back to the stage, to pick up a piece of music and try to express the self through it. to be honest, to give all that i can give. to show in public- even walking naked in a shopping mall in christmastime seemed preferrable (if only theoretically so)-  it was embarrassing. stressful. shocking. difficult. i did not play as well as i wouldve like to (though i realize that it's a bit much to ask- especially for the rusty performing self) and behind the closed door of my studio, number 151 of music and sound building, i was teary.  new pianist friend came by to see me. he left me with a warm, genuine consolation.  then came a small wee talk from minnow.  i thought: who are you, beautiful person?

we looked for chances to share time with one another. even if it was only during the meal time, with me eating mountain of browned meat, shattering his expectation that i would be a veggie. two weeks go really fast in banff. and as soon as i met him, it was time for him to return to the world. even with the flight delays and all kinds of stuff.  but we did have one afternoon to make music, talk and drink lovely red tea, as the dusk came down the sharp spines of the mountains, in the most beautiful colours of dark blue, grey and hint of bloodwood.  his last afternoon in banff.  at night, we all went to have a drink at the bar and to the morning, we talked, talked talked while others peeled off to find sleep and rest. we wished the morning would come a bit slower. there wasnt enough time.

and it's three years ago, already, that i noticed this particular minnow in the wide world with millions of fishes swimming around. and here we are- still a puddle apart! and with each day, i wake with a fresh anticipation: to hear from the dearest minnow.

everyday of those three years are tightly weaved with gossamer-thin, barely-there-spider-silk connections.  letters. snail mails. packages. thoughts. strange coincidental unisons (we refer this as 'quark,' where each comes with identical word/expression simultaneously). emails. texts. pictures. and when we are lucky, we connect in flesh and blood, with warmth and easy embrace.

after thousands of emails that connected us and probably millions of fragments and sentences, here's from one of the earliest emails we share:


... yes, I do feel as though you understand me; and yes it's rare,  especially to this degree. This is why I like you so much.  Because there is so often a mask or a vacuum between people that allows life to continue on auto. And we are on manual.  And because there's no refraction of the light between us, we can understand and be comfortable.  I don't have to be anyone other than who I am, for you; and that's a treat.

i am so lucky to have such a beautiful conversational partner.
minnow, you are beautiful. and here we are, three years. and we weave on.
thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Though much has happened in these three years, it's still every bit as relevant. and occasionally it's simplicity that hits the core. In this case, from me to you, a simple expression that says so much;
    Thank you.

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