To a dramatically inclined sixth grader on the threshold of the throes of adolescence, Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” was the most sublime creation the world had ever produced.
Every note overflowed with emotion. The entrance of the strings was cause for a theatrical closing of the eyes and a deep sigh. Then the build, the suspense, the rapture when the theme burst forth at the top of the orchestra’s range! It was like someone understood what being a(n almost) teenager was like. The heartache, the pain, the interminable yearning, the quiet longing at the end, and finally, humbly, the soft acceptance of it all.
What’s interesting to me is that, despite having no idea what heartache and yearning and humility really meant, I felt emotions more strongly as a fanatical, fantastical teen than I do now. Why is it that as we get older, we put more of our emotions in a box and out of sight? They’re immature, we feel; they’re not what socially adjusted people do. In fact, nowadays I feel like I have only two emotional states: focused and panicking.
There’s a great song in the phenomenal musical Next to Normal called “I Miss the Mountains”. The mother Diana laments the loss of emotional feeling as one of the side effects of the medication she’s been put on.
Sometimes I, too, miss the mountains. I’ve grown up and learned how to control my emotions (does inhibition count as a drug?). And let’s face it, life as an adult is fairly boring. So where in my own life do I get to explore the glorious highs and lows of humanity, of life, of love, of misery?
Barbara Streisand. Music.
Emotions are an essential component of an actor’s life. If you can’t at least feel them, how are you going to be able to call them up on command? And yet for the last three years, I allowed music to escape my life almost entirely. Occasionally I’d inhale a bunch of Katy Perry or Rihanna Pandora, to try to figure out what was contemporary pop these days (and to have some clue what my car-owning, radio-listening sisters were talking about), but I stopped listening to the radio, stopped listening to CDs, stopped using my iTunes to make playlists or keep my music organized (you don’t want to know what my iTunes library looks like these days), and stopped listening to my iPhone on the commute.
So I suppose it’s a homecoming of sorts – music was what released much of my dramatic nature to the world in the first place, before I “matured”. To come back to it now at times feels indulgent (wait till I tell you about my run the other day!), but I consider the moment that I finally sat down and created three or four iTunes playlists a couple weeks ago to be one of the healthiest choices I’ve ever made.
What are you listening to these days?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiskadoro/5255304087/”>fiskadoro</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>