Saturday, July 28, 2018

Power, Fame and Sexual Fulfillment


Let me confess at the outset: my motivation for that title is ridiculous, but hey, it’s how I think. Had this totally random goal of hitting 390,00 page views by my birthday (that’s today) and need 44 more to make that happen. So I thought this title might attract attention.

But meanwhile, I’m obliged to say something about it. A 4-year old at summer school said to me yesterday, “My cousin says you’re famous!” Pretty strange thing for a 4-year old to be thinking about. The beauty of 4-year olds is that they don’t care. They just want to know if you know how to play and can help them if needed. As it should be. I thought of a lovely poem by Naomi Shihab Nye:

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.

I am a famous fish in a very small pond of Orff-Schulwerk and it’s just the right kind of fame. The kind built workshop-by-workshop with face-to-face contact and occasionally with books and articles and just enough to keep getting me work, but not so much that I have to wear sunglasses in public and sign autographs (well, I do sign books!).

As for power, yes, we all crave it and I am a little disgruntled that at 67-years old, my official titles of power amount to:

1)   Director of a two-week Orff Certification Course.
2)   Leader of the 5-person Pentatonics Jazz band.
3)   CEO of Pentatonic Press.
4)   The Headmaster of every Orff workshop I teach.
5) Chairman of the newly-formed Nunya Academy Board (proud of this one!) 

All of which is fine, but grumpy that I still don’t have an official title as Traditions Coordinator or Culture Bearer at my own school and that important decisions can be made without my consultation because I have no official role that grants me certain powers.

But the power I care most about is the one—or rather, the ones— I keep working on: the power to create instant community, to charge the energy in the room, to bring laughter, joy and happiness to a group, to negotiate my way through 88 keys to bring a room to a beautiful quiet, to lead a song that uplifts and energizes, to recite a poem that invites a deep listening, to tell a story that sets people free in their imagination. That’s the kind of power that really counts.

As for sexual fulfillment, well, did I mention I’m 67-years old today? Enough said.

So my birthday wish is for just enough fame to allow me to keep exercising my powers and the wisdom to know the intimacy of sex in other non-sexual ways. To remember that I don’t have to do anything spectacular, just simply need to remember what I can do. And to keep doing it.

P.S. Made it to 389, 999!

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