Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Post Office delivers!

Dad's got his blanket and I've got my banjo! Woot.

I'd been expecting it to take longer than it did for the blanket to arrive, but it's there. Happy dance.

And my banjo... Well, I got to my friends' house last night and they asked me - did I see the big box in the entryway? Why, no, I hadn't. From Deering Banjo, to me. Whoo hoo! My banjo!

Like a kid at Christmas, I tore open the outer box and reached in, to find a second box. This one had cool Art Nouveau decorations all over it and was shaped like... surprise! a banjo case. Happy dance. So now I am the happy possessor of an out of tune banjo. Saturday's plans include a stop by my local music shop for a tuning doohickey (the kind that is electronic since I have exactly no musical confidence*) and maybe some hardware for a strap. (I plan to weave my own strap, since I can and even know what pattern I'd like to weave for it - and because I have plenty of handwoven straps around that aren't quite what I want, but will do as a placeholder.) After I have the tuning doohickey, plans include playing with the banjo until I'm told to cut it out, for heaven's sake. And I plan to ask at the shop about an instructor for getting me actually started.

* I was once told by the choir director at the church I attended at the time that God didn't need to hear my singing, in large part because my voice didn't blend with the others. I couldn't know at the time that my voice didn't blend because I was beginning puberty and my voice was beginning to lower into the sort of tenor that many female blues singers have. It took me years to discover that singing didn't have to hurt, after she'd had me singing in a really awful falsetto. On the plus side, I did become a reader at a younger age than the church usually allowed, with her full support, and I also did liturgical dance. That deeper voice was an advantage when it came to reading from the prophets, and I had the coordination to do modern dance and ballet before some of my classmates. On the minus side, I spent years ashamed of singing, even by myself.

As an adult, I've been challenging myself to reclaim music. I sing along to music in the car. I belt out spirituals and labor songs when I'm by myself. I've even done some sacred harp singing. Actually owning my own musical instrument is a little intimidating, but also freeing. Hah! She didn't like my singing? How about singing *and* banjo?

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Blogger Little Black Car said...

Yaaay! New banjo! Can you post pix? I {heart} Art Nouveau. And banjos.

3/08/2007 6:36 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I'll try to find my camera...

The banjo itself is pretty simple - it's the Deering Goodtime, which some have described as looking like a banjo by IKEA. Very simple, very light, a banjo in blonde wood. The sound, once I stop breaking strings, is supposed to be light and plunky.

3/09/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger the laughing gypsy said...

Thank you for giving voice to an epidemic, and to breaking out into freedom! I'd bet 98% of your readers have been silenced by "well-intended" you're-not-good-enoughs. Mine came from my mother's thoughtless comment decades ago. I'm sure she forgot it the moment she said it. In my mind, however, the pain is still fresh with the recollection. Ah well, whatever i lack in skill I make up for in enthusiasm (though your old choir director would argue it's hardly a balanced trade!)

Its definitely a call to compassion and encouragement as we formulate and deliver our own words to others...

Your banjo sounds beautiful! Play on!

3/09/2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I think part of the problem is something I heard described in an interview with the group, Uncle Earl. One of the members said that she'd grown up with music being "a plastic disc" that other people did. So we expect real people to sound like Enya, who even says that she doesn't sound like her recordings.

So, well, while I probably don't sound like much as I sing "Twa Corbies", or as I practice "Skip to My Lou", well, I'm making a joyful noise. (Hey, "Twa Corbies" is all too often called a depressing song. Think about it from the raven's point of view - food, nesting material, an interesting bit of gossip...)

3/09/2007 12:46 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

I like "Twa Corbies" (but then, I like vultures, too)!

By the way, if you want to hear a really bad recording of me playing the dulcimer not-so-well, go here. It's "John Brown's March" and "Booth Shot Lincoln", with the dulcimer capoed to the fourth fret and played in A. I don't even play "Booth" that way any more; this was about ten years ago, but you get the idea.

3/09/2007 1:18 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

And I cannot sing to save my life but I do it anyway. And I'll keep doing it. Simon Cowell can . . . well, I won't say it in polite company.

3/09/2007 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You go girl! You will have sweet tunes before you know it. We are a banjo friendly house: bring 'er on over here to tune! (Okay, well hop a plane and bring 'er on over.) I don't know how he does it but my husband has been playing banjo lying down as he recovers from a broken foot. It's been his sanity helper and companion when I can't be. Best of tunes to you.

3/09/2007 2:57 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

CD, I liked the music. Thank you! It's got rhythm and melody which is more than I can currently say about anything I do. It was a little cranky about the slow connection, though.

And Simon Cowell needs to learn that an English accent does not make him sound sweeter. Sorry. Now, Tom Baker I could listen to as he read the phone directory... but that's just me.

QP, wow! Now, that's impressive. I hope his foot is better soon. As soon as I've checked with the building manager that it's okay to go out on my balcony again (they just had safety inspections, so we weren't to go out) and once I can do a song, any song, I'm going out there to practice. Hey, other folks blast us with amplified pop music and rap, so I figure I can sit in my balcony chair and treat everyone else to me learning "Daisy Daisy" endlessly. Or at least until someone comes along playing Reggae. (What can I say, I like living in a partially Jamaican neighborhood.)

3/09/2007 10:21 PM  

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