Wednesday, January 12, 2011


remember when i said i wanted a harmonica?? well i got one -- actually two -- for christmas. here's the story.

kyle's mom and dad put one in my stocking. just a toy one, for funsies. i promptly tore open the box and read the included notes. i learned to play "row, row, row your boat" during a 10 minute drive home. then my dad said he had a real one. then my sister said she had several in her guitar case. so all of a sudden here are all these harmonicas that were right under my nose for months. my dad's came from the grand ole opry, but all the notes didn't work, sadly. so i started using one of my sister's. because there were multiple harmonicas now, my siblings and i learned to play "jingle bells" for christmas. we made videos of ourselves, which turned out to be really hilarious and slightly embarrassing, but a fun memory for us nonetheless. and now that i'm living away from home, they serve as a nice laugh when i long for their hugs.

anyway, the point of this -- i have a harmonica now. i real one. and it now serves as a true stress reliever. if you've read "extremely loud and incredibly close" (which i would like to dedicate a whole blog post to), it's sort of the same thing as with oskar in that book, except he plays a tamborine (which i also want) while he's walking down the street when he's feeling heavy boots. and he's nine. i am definitely not nine, and as fictional as he may be, his pain was very real and i would not venture to say my pain is the same. because it is not. but somehow, this small instrument serves the same purpose as his.

leading up to my leaving home, i would play for a few minutes before bed. packing up your life can be emotionally exhausting, so somehow, this helped. granted i can only play a couple of songs while looking at the notes on my computer, and i don't play very well at all. but who's really listening if i'm playing in my room before bed? the dogs? probably. i also played while driving on the way to georgia. unsafe? probably. but if i would get really sleepy, i'd just play "oh susanna" real quick, and poof! i was awake. it probably has something to do with the quick ins and outs of breath required to play the harmonica, but i like to think it's the magical healing power produced by music. or hearing music. or anything musical.

so here i am. newly in love with the sounds i can make with my harmonica, despite how unpleasant they might be, and i plan to continue my practice while living down south. hopefully the neighbors like harmonicas.


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