Sunday, May 25, 2008

American Idol

Since the season finale of season 7, I've been researching and remembering songs that suit my voice. Those who are close to me or who've known me since the high-school-solo days know that I have fancied myself a singer and that music moves me, more than any other art form. A close second is words/literature, specifically the conciseness and subtlety of poetry... but see, music can marry the two-- tune/melody with words, and thus, for me, its power is unmatched.

I am reminded of my little son, Jack. Over the last month or so he's begun bouncing to rhythms, both musical ones (a new song on the stereo) and ambient ones (two blocks struck together). His lullaby soothes him. He's only 8 months old, but he is sensitive to sounds. They clearly please him and comfort him. "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast" (Shakespeare), I suppose. Even Harper remarked the other night while I sang to the two of them, "Mama, I like when you sing that song because it makes me feel calm." Music must just be a part of our human nature: the desire to make and hear beautiful, organized sounds, just as we attempt to beautify and organize our surroundings.

As I weed my garden and plant new flowers, I am gratified by the changing shape of our yard, the way it begins to feel cheery or functional, bountiful, tame, or comfortable. Gardening is satisfying in similar ways to music and singing for me; both change the way I feel, both improve my well-being, both satisfy, both make me feel more like myself.

I haven't been singing enough over the past few years. Since college, I haven't been involved in any formal or organized singing group like a choir or a band. As a result, singing has been left to the spare moments, moments I have fewer of as I've had my children. I used to sing on my commute to work as a teacher. The half hour to and from afforded enough time to sing with my favorite songs. But since I've been at home I haven't had a commute to myself. I'm never alone. Trips to the grocery store are with my kids in tow, Harper narrating and questioning, all of us singing along with kids' music. Kids' songs don't have quite the sweeping power of grown-up tunes. There are no notes to hold or phrases to belt, no differences in dynamics whatsoever. The words are often just-for-fun, joyful, or didactic-- never the gritty stuff of adult music. I've actively missed music, and as I've begun carving out some singing time the past few weeks, I've realized that it's not something I want to leave behind anymore.

Over the course of this season of American Idol, I've begun to imagine myself a singer again, as far removed as it is from my day to day. This fall (season 8) is my last chance to actually audition because I am 28 years old. Knowing this is my last opportunity for the show has infused a little urgency and excitement into my thinking. I've always wanted to pursue something musical, and this year, I am going to do it. I know its bold to say this publicly, but I am going to go ahead and dream big, and I am going to practice and prepare. I am making some time for my lofty dream.

8 comments:

Danielle said...

Wow! That's amazing. Fantastic. Go for it!! Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!

Mary said...

You know I will so be rooting for you all the way. I think you should have tried out Season 1 anyway! I'll start writing some songs about me that you can sing for your audition :) La ya!

Ruthie said...

Thanks for the encouragement! Wow, that was nice to find on here this morning. If either of you think of a song that would suit me, definitely pass that on!

The funny thing is that every nap time, while Jackie is sleeping beside me on the bed, I picture myself auditioning or singing for a crowd on the show (I believe in positive thinking) and my heart actually starts to race and my tummy really does get the butterflies. I take that to mean two possible things: either I really am going to be there doing that, or I really need to work on my nerves because I can get nervous about this thing just lying in my bed! Maybe it means both!

Mary said...

I'll brainstorm...it's gotta be something that shows off your damn stellar alto range though.

Catalina said...

Ruth, Oh my goodness! 1st I want you to know that american idol and ruth go hand in hand in my brain now. i don't ever think about american idol with out thinking of you. I am so excited about it. 2nd I just got to scan down your blog and your barrettes- amazing! The monkeys and bananas. wow.

Erin Largoza said...

YES, YES, YES! One of my secret dreams come true.

Tiffany Aicklen said...

I will beam with joy! You go! Your voice is something that's been missing in my life:)

Bri, Rach & Noah said...

Awesome! You have such an amazing voice. You must share it with the world. :D