The art of possibility

1:52a.m. I just dumped out the last half of my sweet tea into the sink. I love that stuff. But, I can't un-see what I saw through the drive-through window at Whataburger today: I watched this woman dump an ENTIRE BAG of white sugar into the canister. I think I could have gone my whole life without knowing, but alas. Halfway through that cup I began to feel a layer of sugar building up in my mouth. It was the end.

Anyhow, on a more philosophical note, since I've been home on break, I've been paging through some old favorite books. Ben Zander's The Art of Possibility is one of them, and it is also great inspiration for new years resolution #2. (see previous post.) I do not find this book to be one to read cover to cover; it is more fun to read the chapters sporadically, even flip open to a random page and read. I remember Mr. Zander talking about his book- he said his goal is for it to lie next to the bible in every hotel room...and I think that'd actually be a great thing for humanity.

My favorite moment: 

The risk the music invites us to take becomes a joyous adventure only when we stretch beyond our known capacities, while gladly affirming that we may fail. And if we make a mistake, we can mentally raise our arms and say “How fascinating!” and reroute our attention to the higher purpose at hand.
— Benjamin Zander

I was lucky enough to work with Maestro Ben Zander as part of the Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra my junior year of high school. We played Shostakovich's 5th symphony- it was one of the most transformative performances of my life. Mr. Zander's unbridled passion inspired me to take the kind of musical risks that left me hanging on that border between reality and fantasy, and I was not the only one. The whole orchestra was transformed, and the energy within that specific group of people is something I will cherish and remember forever. Specifically, one time in rehearsal, he asked us to be silent and reflect on the oboe solo in the 3rd movement. "How lonely..how utterly lonely," I thought to myself. It was strange, because lonely is a feeling that comes from within, yet Shostakovich had brought it outward. It was my first experience realizing this phenomenon. And that's just the thing about music, or any art really. It is mind-boggling to think that "lonely" can be embodied in an oboe solo. The beauty lies in the fact that Shostakovich created an expression of a universal human condition. Oppression and loneliness are a part of many lives, and when you listen to this oboe solo you feel oddly at peace because you are not alone in your suffering. The older I get and the more experiences I have, the more I realize how important it is to reflect on these milestone performances and to get in touch with the way my 16 year old self felt experiencing it all for the first time. 

 Ben Zander and Bridget, 2010 All State/TMEA convention

Ben Zander and Bridget, 2010 All State/TMEA convention

I also really took Mr. Zander's "How fascinating" approach to failure to heart. Writing those words next to the grades on all my Pre-Cal tests for the rest of that year really did wonders for me...