That Solid Inward Comfort of Mind

22 Responses

  1. I got a time-to-go-to-school-and-my-homework-is-blank-AGAIN stomach ache just reading about piano practice. Fortunately, the young lady seems wiser than either of us at that age.

  2. chlost says:

    Oh, man, Jocelyn, this post brought me back to all of the growing-up angst that I suffered for so long. I was there on the piano bench again, in the band room with my hated trombone, and handing in a report which had been hastily written early that morning. And I still got A’s.
    The loss of innocence-Girl has so wisely turned it to a positive thing. She truly is a Girl of discovery. Wish I’d been more like her.She’s got a wonderful future to experience, that one. And you are a great mom.

  3. Jazz says:

    Wow, that’s one mature girl you have there. More than you and I put together probably.

  4. lime says:

    i am humbled by her poise and ability to process disappointing reality with such maturity and perspective. and her ability to step outside her comfort zone in an effort to make things more the way she wanted….being the change she wished to see. bravo, girl. bravo!

  5. Jess says:

    That girl you have is something, all right. She really is amazing.

  6. I love what Lime said, so I will just say “ditto.”

  7. Deborah says:

    Beautiful, Jocelyn. I am in admiration of the way you tied your Mrs. Wolverton (whose name I first read as ‘Wolverine’) experience to Discovery Girl, which is pretty aptly named, when you come to thnk of it. Your Girl is a remarkable human, and her down-to-earth assesments – from zits to staged photos – are waaaaaay beyond her years. (Mind you, she isn’t all nature – there’s a lot of nuture in there.)
    She’s gaining critical thinking skills, and there’s not much that’s more valuable than that to help her to face Life head on. And yet again, reading you, I’m wishing I could just go back to those growing-up years and tweak a few things.

    As for practice times, I had to laugh. Maybe one day I’ll write about being a piano teacher. I recognized myself in Mrs. W, for sure.

  8. Aww. Life can be so not what you are expecting. I’m sorry they didn’t let the kids actually have more fun together.

    The first part of the post, though, made me laugh because it brought back memories of standing in front of the clock, starting at it as I tried to hit my required half hour practice for band. Often in my McDonald’s uniform so I could rush out the door and get to work on time. But before I got to your second chart, I thought, “Jeez, at least I had the sense to lie about my practice times.” Of course, I was a hardened 16 year old at the time. Our band director used to get so irate at our obvious lack of practice that he’d throw things at us.

  9. I meant that to come from here.

  10. J says:

    Oh Joceyln- I so know the feeling of wanting to protect your child from devastation, and aching with both pain for your kid, and the impotence you feel for not being able to help.
    Your girl is amazing. But how could she not be, she’s yours.

  11. Pearl says:

    That was beautiful, from beginning to end. My Dancer (a thoroughly swinging clarinet player who knows all the hot spots and wows even the coolest of customers) felt all of this, while the Me that has clear memories of those moments where we see something clearly for the first time, wept for Girl’s disappointment — and then wept again when her mother gave her permission to feel these things and helped her see they “why” of it all.

    Fabulous writing. Really.


  12. cloudia says:

    tour de force!

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral


  13. Friko says:

    You know it’s a good piece, I don’t need to go on about that. Still, good piece.

    Is the loss of innocence really ever as clearcut as this? Like you say it happens over time. I would even say imperceptibly, not with a crash but a lot of tiny scratchings. Some instances we hardly even notice, the only feeling which arises is a vague sense of disappointment. It’s only when grown-ups make a big deal out of it, ‘talk it over’ that the child is made aware that a lesson has to be learned. Your girl has done what all children do, she’s assimilated the experience and moved on, taken what she needs from it and discarded the rest, none the worse for a reality check.

    I used to fib all the time – not to myself, to others – in spite of being a creepy little teacher’s pet. Again, it’s what all kids do, I think. We need to please, grown-ups are such weird creatures, like those people at the magazine, (is it a magazine?) who couldn’t be trusted after all.

    Thank you for your comments to my post. You are much braver than me about writing long posts, I keep mine short-ish because they are blog-posts which would otherwise not be read. There is a lot I leave out. I’ve sidetracked myself by writing these ‘adventures’, they are not part of my memoir, just something I remembered the other day. I am beginning to think that I should not have started them at all, there are episodes which people might find shocking, which I will therefore have to tidy up.

    I was looking for an email address on this blog; if you wanted to get in touch about something at any time, use mine on my blog. I’m not promising great revelations but Deb and I sometimes talk about things which aren’t postable.

    • Jocelyn says:

      There is an email address here, but clearly it’s not clear enough:

      I’d love to know what’s left out.

      And, yes, agreed that loss of innocence isn’t usually as clearcut as this. My point, indeed, is that it’s a very rare thing to have a moment hit where we can feel our brains shifting and going, “Ohhhhhh. I get it. I didn’t get it before.” My husband and I had several conversations, trying to pinpoint if either of us had other moments in life that seemed so surprisingly clearcut.

      Also, with regards to post length: I think write in service of your self and your story. If it’s good, people won’t stop after 200 words (or whatever). For each of your Age of Aquarius posts, I’d have kept reading long after you stopped. And I don’t think there’s anything you could have included that would have put me off (then again, my sensibilities ain’t so dainty).

  14. Oh, this broke my heart. But then mended it a little at the end. I’m glad she’ll be okay.
    Damn illusions.

  15. An absolutely delicious story written with a revealing sense of humour. I have bookmarked your blog and will read everything. I am so delighted to find good writing in a blog yet.

  16. Bravo Jocelyn! You’ve managed to nail that loss of innocence thing right on the head. I remember many moments like these in my life, and yeah, it sucks, but it’s a necessary part of growing up. You truly do have an amazing girl there, I think she handled the whole thing better than many adults would. She’s going to do just fine in life. Oh, and the piano practice….flashback to my own clarinet practice days, only clarinets don’t have any place to hide underneath and flip your ponytail. Needless to say, I don’t play the clarinet anymore. 😀

  17. Kathryn says:

    Just to make you feel better – I read blogs today well past 11 am, still in my house coat, and I’m older than you are and have less time to pull my socks up, so to speak.
    Oh, your dear girl. Scales fell from her eyes, etc. She sounds like such a wise woman, and I love how organised and purposeful she is. Dealing with disappointment is a valuable life skill, and she’s nailed it! Bravo, American Girl!
    Yah, I wimped out on my practise minutes too, but my instrument – the guitar – was much more forgiving (only the treble clef to learn, eh?).
    I can play, by ear, the right hand of Music Box Dancer, on the piano, and accompany myself on the hum-a-zoo. I’m not the only one who is left breathless by this.

  18. ds says:

    Way to go, Girl! (all I can add; the others have said the necessary stuff before me)

  19. Choochoo says:

    Hehe, my mum thought it would be a good idea for me to learn violin when I was a kid. I did practice more than five minutes, but there wasn’t a lot of improvement. So little improvement, in fact, that everyone seemed pretty relieved when I wanted to quit.

  20. Robin Preble says:

    Loved, loved this one. I, too, am committed to staring reality in the eye and seeing whatever it is that I see, and yet I sob my eyes out on certain occasions that mark my children’s journey into this very same reality that I am committed to seeing. You captured it all very well. I can’t wait until you write a book some day.

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