So this post is a little more than belated for Wednesday Appreciation Day, but it was just that sort of mood I guess. So indulge me, if you will.
There is a film that I adore with every fibre of my core, and one I return to time and time again when I am feeling a little soul wearied. It is Stranger than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell as the unsuspecting real-life protagonist of an award-winning author’s next work, played by the glorious Emma Thompson, who in herself is something of an idol of mine.
In the film, we are introduced to Harold Crick (Ferrell), an IRS auditor, pedantic, bordering on obsessive, when it comes to regiment in his daily life. But with a series of unexpected turns and the looming prospect that his life may indeed be short-lived and his days outnumbered, Harold begins to finally branch out from beyond those comfort zones that he once clung to so fastidiously, and to pursue inner passions long kept in the dark.
In his new quest, Harold longs to play guitar and enters the realm of the music store, to find his very own instrument. A defining moment that will set in motion the Harold that Harold secretly dreamed of always being, however many days he may have left.
Of course, this will not be easy, and Harold is at first presented with quite a quandary. For you see, “It wasn’t just about Harold finding a guitar. It was about finding a guitar that said something about Harold.” While one seems to say, “When I get back to Georgia, that woman gonna feel my pain…” Others say, “I’m very sensitive, and caring, and I have absolutely no idea how to play the guitar.” And another, “Why yes, these pants are Lycra!” With a hundred and twenty two choices before him, finding the Right Guitar is no easy feat… Until… Harold comes face to face with a battered, and abused, sea-foam green Fender. “Despite its obvious maladies,” this guitar speaks to Harold with both “conviction and swagger.” “In fact, it [looks] Harold directly in the eye, and [states]very plainly, ‘I rock.'”
And then a funny thing happens…
“With every strut, Harold Crick became stronger in who he was, what he wanted, and why he was alive. Harold no longer ate alone. He no longer counted brushtrokes. He no longer wore neckties and therefore no longer worried about the time it took to put them on. He no longer counted his steps to the bus stop. Instead, Harold did that which had terrified him before, that which had eluded him Monday through Friday for so many years, that which the unrelenting lyrics of numerous Punk Rock songs told him to do… Harold Crick lived his life.”
Now, if you’ll be so kind as to hear me out, I’m not saying rush out, right now, buy a second hand, beat-up old guitar and change your life… The self-aware life means that we must all follow our own paths in pursuit of the things, however seemingly insignificant to others, that bring us joy, great or small.
What I am saying, is that we all, each and every one, have music inside us, a song, a melody, a whistling away, an instrument… A way, really, of being, and one that resonates deeply in this wonderful place we get to call the world. Even if we are not always conscious of it, your resonance, your instrument matters, and is always making music. Out there. As long as you are a living human bean, and perhaps, who knows, maybe in a greater beyond after.
Inspired by Stranger than Fiction, I love to ask people if they could be any musical instrument, what would they be? Me, myself, as much as I once longed to be something grand like a cello, I think these days I’m quite happy to be a colourful, merry-making little xylophone. And I recently rekindled a friendship with someone who thinks of themself as a triangle. Oh, how that brought me back, to pre-primary days when I coveted that beautiful little silver triangle, so very lovely with a single ‘ping’!
And what a wonderful thing it is when we get to make music together, with others. My xylophone to this humble but sublime triangle, so very free of ego, that brings so much joy to my time here. I am gifted, in true, to have this triangle in my life, whether on good days when all is merry- and music-making, to those more sombre and darker days when the melody evades me, and this triangle’s singular vibration seeks me out, finds me and resurrects me to myself, to my own music once more.
So, my dearest readers, whistle a happy tune washing those dishes… Sing a lullaby to sleepy eyes… Let your voice ring out loud and clear, your very vibrancy, even without saying a single word… And cherish, oh cherish (!!), those who join your merry band of music-makers!
And to my triangle, you know who you are… Thank you for meeting my song, for hearing me, as you do so well. You are loved.
The Creator by Wassily Kandinsky