Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy
I’m back to blogging. I think what I find the most difficult about the whole exercise is working out why I am doing it – if I’m writing for myself, or for an audience. I will try to continue to be true to my aim of simply writing about what I enjoy writing about. This blog may become more of a diary at points, although I’m sure it will remain focused, to a large extent, on books. A spin-off blog about language and the brain may follow (probably not until next year). If I am accepted into Oxford or Cambridge, I will certainly start blogging about my experience living a childhood dream. Will I transform this blog into the Story of a Nerdy Australian who is Accepted into Oxford? Will I start a new blog? I like things to be clean and neat. It might be too messy to continue this blog if my motivations for writing change. Or should I embrace the mess?
If you haven’t already, I recommend that you read “Piano Lessons” by Anna Goldsworthy. I didn’t think it could be possible for a memoir about growing up in suburban Adelaide to be so absorbing. I read very few memoirs, so perhaps this is just what a good memoir is meant to be like, but I found it incredibly… inspiring. It sounds terribly clichéd when I write it, but I was genuinely moved and often astonished to learn that the incredibly successful and talented protagonist experienced major setbacks in her quest to become a professional musician. Sure, famous writers and actors and scientists experience failure and rejection along the way, but musicians? Reading this book revealed to me that I had always viewed musically-inclined individuals as somehow inhabiting a separate, superior plane to the rest of us, a plane where piano exam reports come stamped with guaranteed A+s, where brains do not tick over furiously during a performance; a plane devoid of ostentatious attempts to prove oneself. I learnt so much about the world of music, and what it has to offer those who devote their lives to it. The juxtaposition of the everyday and the sublime was beautiful and incredibly moving. And boy, can she write.
Other things I have read recently: “The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde. Very entertaining, and wonderful escapism. I loved immersing myself in this alternate reality where the whole world takes literature so very seriously. Several New Scientist articles. Am now reading a book on English by David Crystal.
Movies I have seen recently: Life of Pi. I loved the book when I read it several years ago, and the movie didn’t disappoint. It was beautifully shot, and more poignant than the book (from what I can remember – like I said, I did read it several years ago). The Hobbit. I adore the Lord of the Rings and so was happy to immerse myself in this fun romp through Middle Earth, but of course it has nothing on the LOTR trilogy, which so beautifully balances the fantastic with the slow-burn pace of the quest at its heart: the two little hobbits who defy all odds to bring the ring to Mount Doom. The Hobbit, by contrast, was downright unbelievable at points. At one stage the band of twelve dwarves somehow managed to fight off an entire civilisation of goblins. I thought Peter Jackson was very careful to avoid such scenarios in the Lord of the Rings, and I was grateful for it. I suppose, though, that the Hobbit is a children’s book, after all.