Saturday, August 30, 2008

Playing trumpet in an empty stadium

Long ago I saw a photograph - maybe in the OSU Lantern - of a lone trumpeter practicing in empty Ohio stadium. I haven't found that picture online; it is probably somewhere in my stuff. But Geoff Carr's photo, above, is well worth looking at.

The visual metaphor intrigued me, and I wrote a short story that was the backstory, how that kid came to do that, and why. The story was titled "The Practice Room." I cared too much about it to run it through the rejection machine, so it is so far unpublished. The manuscript is somewhere in my boxes; maybe the photo is with it.

This blogging is so much like sending your song into empty space. I do not get comments, so I can assume nobody has looked at the blog except my best friend and my husband. Lost in the crowd. There are a million, or millions, of us blogging; it's the new Dear Diary.

You pick what blog to read by its theme, don't you? Someone promises to straighten you out, or dishes dirt on the people you envy. (A waiter just got a book out of that.)

The guy playing the trumpet alone in an empty stadium that can seat 50,000 people is just playing for himself. He doesn't care who hears him. This isn't about audience, but, I liked to think, about music. He was practicing. I loved that, as I love the trumpeter in the graveyard, far away beyond the hill, playing taps on Memorial Day. No iPod will ever capture the sound, no video the feel of those slow, lonely notes echoing over the peaceful dead and the temporarily alive.

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