by The Deity
I play violin.
Until a couple years ago, I said, “I used to play violin.”
I thought my monthly crack of the case meant I no longer played violin. No one ever hears me play anymore. I make all sorts of mistakes. My fingers move slower than they did two decades ago when I learned by ear. My right hand lacks rhythm. In summation, I’m no longer very good.
So I told others over drinks or during ice breakers that I used to play in a quartet. I used to play in youth orchestras and attend summer camp for string instruments. I used to bargain for fewer minutes of practice time with my mother. I used to play violin.
It wasn’t until I was in an Irish pub with a group of people who loved music for its own sake that I comprehended my foolishness. I was handed a violin and asked to play. And I did. It was far from perfect, but in that moment I felt whole again. I remembered the transcendent feeling of resolving a chord progression; the physicality of simultaneously hearing and playing; the eagerness of finishing and starting again.
Amateurism is a joy. Doing something for the joy it gives you is a worthwhile pursuit.