"Art is life seen through a temperament."
- Emile Zola
For years I've been telling the Business Guy I need to quit my job and start getting some culture. My usual schedule of playing the viola full-time in a symphony orchestra, raising a family, and squeezing in time to write fiction just doesn't lend itself to making time for sitting in the audience at someone else's performance.
I haven't exactly quit my job, but my sabbatical from this year's Symphony Season is certainly giving me ample opportunity to soak up the culture around here. In my own living room I've been devouring great works of fiction, to the tune of a novel or two per week, supplemented by nightly readings of the great Alistair MacLeod's short stories (for the fourth time, if you want to know). There was the Symphonic Art Auction gala fundraiser I attended last week, where I ogled some fantastic artwork. And a couple of weeks ago I attended the Season Opener of the very orchestra from which I am taking my sabbatical.
Most recently I attended a recital where two fine young musicians, a cellist and a pianist, gave an elegant and powerful performance of mostly French music. As it happens, I am acquainted with the cellist, a strapping young guy with fire in his eyes and an intensity to his playing that I saw coming when he was a wee thing in diapers, playing Mississippi Hot Dog on my viola while I babysat him (for three hours at a time; it was the easiest babysitting gig of my life). He knew as a toddler that he wanted to play the cello, and with its C-string and much smaller size, my viola made a good substitute. And now he and his colleague are on the Eastern Canada touring circuit, wowing lucky audiences. It was inspiring to see these young men, the next generation of Canadian musicians, well on their way.
I'm delighted to tell the Business Guy that I'm finally getting some culture. Next week it'll be a pops concert tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes. And who knows, for the first time in 33 years I might actually see the front end of the Messiah soloists! It's all grist for the writing mill, and I didn't have to quit my job to find it.
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