Hold on to Nothing, Except Grasp the Accordion

Nunca te olvidaré; vives aquí en mi ser.

I frequently listen to David Gray’s album Sell, Sell, Sell when writing. I can’t tell you why–his mood is dark and fatalistic and, therefore, doesn’t lift me from my own chronic fatalism. Then I arrive at the song with the repeating line, “There’s no way to write it, there’s no way to write it, there’s no way to write it down.” Sing that line ad infinitum, and you will get the gist of the song. There’s no way to write it down, apparently, which means it (whatever “it” is) must be sung. 

I envy singer-songwriters because their pursuits are both literary and physical at the same time. As a musician, I’m a colossal failure. Still, as you see from the photo at right, I’m trying to be exactly that. I’m waiting for the elevator that will take me from my head down to my soul, or my soles, whichever you prefer. I’m still attempting to write it down AND play it on my diatonic accordion. Between my head and that place where poetry and artistry reside, lies a dark and drafty shaft. The elevator stopped running years ago, and here I am–waiting, waiting.

But do you see that Spanish line at top–the one I typed in bold so you wouldn’t miss it? Literally, it means, “I won’t forget you. You live here in my being.” That must be true of music and poetry. I believe it’s true because I knew it was true a long time ago.

This post is to give an update on my learning to play my Hohner accordion. As with anything else, there’s this enormous gap between what I want to play and what I can play. I hear it–I feel it, but my fingers haven’t learned to finesse the buttons yet. On the other hand–well that’s the same, if you want to be literal. I’ve learned the bass buttons no better than the diatonic scales. But in a figurative sense, and, on the other hand, I have to admit I’ve improved greatly since the accordion first shipped.

Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by the idea that “there’s no way to write it down”. And “it” is so ambiguous as to create this illusive image of a light flickering in the distance–of a ghost gliding away, a lantern bobbing in her hand. I can’t quite see her, or the light. She’s too far away from me. 


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