This Won’t Make Sense

I’m starting to sense a problem with this whole Story a Day thing. The fact that I have to write something everyday is daunting. That, of course, is a major part of the appeal, and if I can’t get myself to do this, I don’t know how I can expect to finish an entire novel–but it’s hard. Sitting down to write something is hard enough, but when you’re forcing yourself to, it’s rather torturous. And when you consider the fact that this is self-imposed, it makes the idea of quitting so much more tempting–I don’t have to, so there’s not punishment whether I do or don’t.

However, I do sort of want to grow as a writer, so I’m going to keep it up. Grudgingly. I’m sorry that it hasn’t really been up to par. I don’t really know what it is that I ended up writing yesterday. I think there was a gag-reflex-typing kind of thing going on, and then I published it or something, because when I look at it now, I definitely don’t remember writing it.

My only solution to this is to not write some awful made-up crap that I skim off the surface of my liquefied mind (which, by this point in the day, is pretty much all it is). In other words, all you’re going to get is the narrative rendition of today’s drum major workshop.

I want to point out in advance that although I call it a workshop, it really isn’t all that cool and it does not take place in a little wooden shed in my grandparents’ backyard (that’s the image that always comes to me when I think of “workshop”). It’s just a congregation of a bunch of us band kids who want to be drum major next year. Try not to expect much excitement.

We were dismissed to go to the bathroom before the lesson began. When we were all back–the nine of us who were trying out, plus our two current drum majors, Bryant and Erin–our band director told us “combatants” (his words) to be seated.

He holed himself away in his office for the rest of the afternoon.

We stretched and spread out. I moved stands and chairs in the second tier, leaving enough room for my friend–a freshman like me–and my boyfriend to stand nearby. We began with cues.

“Cue on count one,” Bryant started, conducting with both hands. “One, two, look, prep, cue!” While his right hand kept moving, his left speared out towards an invisible alto sax section, who were to enter on count one.

“One, two, look, prep, cue,” we all repeated to ourselves. Erin came around the room while Bryant surveyed from the podium.

Erin approached me, and I almost couldn’t take her seriously in her Princess Leia costume–almost. “One, two, look, prep, cue!” I tried and failed. “Put your right hand on autopilot, let yourself focus on your left hand. –Look, prep, cue!”

“How the hell do I prep?” I demanded, getting frustrated.

Not fazed by my outburst, she explained, “On three, you look at them. On four, you bring your left hand–fist–to your chest. One one, you take your heart out and throw it to the band.” She demonstrated in her graceful, sure motions, pulling out her heart and thrusting it out to her left.

“That’s so sweet!” I squealed. She smiled and nodded.

“One! Two! Look! Prep! Cue! –Look, prep, cue! –Look, prep, cue!”

My hands couldn’t keep up. She sighed and moved on.

Bryant watched me in dismay. “You’re panicking,” he observed. He pulled my hands forward. “Keep them out. Fingers together. Palms facing out. Thumb curved. –Look, prep, cue!”

I threw my left hand clumsily outward, then brought it back immediately. I didn’t look, and I barely prepped.

“…Almost.” He conducted with me, leading my hands. “–cue!” I cued. Not well.

He cleared his throat and stepped back on the podium. “Band, atten-HUT!”

“One!” we said, thrusting the word forcefully from our diaphragms.

“Okay! A lot of you got that. It’s hard, I know. When you get home, listen to the show, practice your cues. Now, dynamics…”

That was a long practice.


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