Domestic Chores

The predominant dream during the youthful and ascending portion of my life was one of a brilliant career in stagecraft, capturing great audiences with exceptional talent and fine mastery of the musical and performing arts, opening the hearts and minds of my fellow sisters and brothers through vibrant acoustic harmony and bringing a finely polished beacon of the brightest light on earth onto their paths so they could walk firm and proud away from the dreadful misery of normalcy and the greedy grip of egotism. While the strenuous struggle of distilling mantic dreams into the rough and tumble fabric of everyday life is certainly far from over yet, sanity demands a disciplined approach to getting used to the obvious fact that life must have had something a good bit more simple in store for me. Ever since the call to wander the seas has re-entered my life, my artistic talent has ceased to sprout with innocent lust and bluster as it tried so hard before. And as it is with the muses of this world, once all the passionate kissing stopped, life drained out of the flower’s stalk faster than a storm surge washes away the broken levies, and the little acquired talent withered away like tender crimson blossoms in the hot dessert winds. I’ve slowly come to terms with the bitterness and the various disappointments this descent from the lofty luster of rose-colored heavens down to the rusty roosts of good old Mother Earth has created. It feels like life has become so wild, so uncontrollable, so insecure, that there is no more need for artificial decorations and nice sounding alternate realities. Instead of plucking strings, slapping hides or pressing keys to enchant a distant audience I’ve learned the nonstop solfège of playing the right note at the perfect time when squeezing orange juice for breakfast; or when putting my straying, somnambular thoughts in nicely ordered ranks and rows at the crack of dawn while forcing my leaden eyelids to open for yet another lonesome day; or when hammering the stainless bolt to loosen it from its absolute seizure in the salt encrusted bond with its aluminum sleeve. I’ve become so fascinated by my neighbor’s wobbly minds and with your frightful hearts that the distance that before begged for music to ease the pain of separation has literally melted away and I now plant seeds directly in your fleeting soul without the need for having to politely ask for permission.

In the turbulent wake of this well-worded rationalization there remains a nimble notion of something lost, dearly missed and no longer found, unless a gigantic effort is made and a frantic search and rescue mission is organized. I still suffer from splurges of very elaborate artistic creativity, although sporadic and quite disjointed and definitely not career building. The happiest episodes of this urge to fabricate stuff and things coincide with certain practical needs, when all of a sudden the stern demand for a solution of an everyday problem excites the strings of an exceptional vibration, so to speak. It can be something absolutely mundane, or totally simple, such as the discovery of a couple brittle incense sticks while cleaning up some drawer and not having nowhere to burn them without making a mess, or without risking to set our wooden home ablaze! There’s usually a certain resistance to be overcome. You might be thinking: What’s the use of it? Or: It’s not worth the effort! Then you fiddle around with all kinds of improvised arrangements, but none of them works. Finally the day comes, the hour arrives and you focus on the task. The tools are all there, the materials lay all but dormant in the many crevices of the bilge. The coping saw cuts a section of dried bamboo about half an inch from outside the nodes. Thought moves methodically, disciplined gently but firmly by the sacred laws of creation. A chisel and mallet splits the round into three equal sections. Simplicity is an eternal must, as is maximum functionality with minimum consumption of resources. A long board’s coarse surface rounds edges and creates a footing. Looks are important and charm helps a lot. A discarded strip of steel, already holed, returns to the realm of usefulness. Avoid the normal, the obvious and don’t even try to be clever. Epoxy is the unification principle once again. Like a gifted sculptor’s hand has helped the shape break free from its amorphous hiding place. Voilà! Eureka! Finito! Finissimo!

So very much encouraged by the halfway decent outcome of that exercise I bravely continued up the Jacob’s ladder of creative bliss. Another study of form and function was needed to provide a suitable encasing for my Kalimba. I had purchased this cute instrument while in New Zealand in yet another attempt to have a suitable replacement for the concert grand piano I would love to be able to tickle on Aluna’s decks. There’s a story making its rounds amongst the bearded and red-nosed cruising folks. It tells the tale of a sailing pianist who had his steel sailing yacht’s decks peeled open like a tin of sardines to place his grand piano inside with just enough room for a bench. Some friends have actually shared an anchorage with the quite obviously wealthy loony and swore he was playing madly all night long. Aluna is by far too sensitive to harboring such weighty gadgets on board and my pocketbook too anorexic for quirks of this sort, so when I found out about the Kalimba from our good friend Fraser Bruce it was love at first sight all over again. Once I had gotten my hands on one the grating away of my thumbnails has aided the smooth soothing of my defeated artists soul whenever there are idle minutes on board. The only downsize to this story is that the box it came in was a sad and shabby affair, made from fickle cardboard and obviously not fitting the chromatic model I got. For some time my brain had tinkered with the idea of fabricating a box worthy of the treasure it encloses.

It was then only a matter of time until the fever of plotting, planning, prototyping, fiddling, fudging, tweaking and twisting set sawdust flying in the trade winds of the harbor, and soon epoxy was curing and fixing the project’s development into final form. The prime issue in the design of a box is how it can be opened and closed. Ideas came streaming in for solving the problem. As usual most of them were crap and had to be quickly discarded as unfeasible, unpractical or outright madness. But it’s in the dirty dung that fine roses are grown and eventually the appropriate shape emerged. Even my ever nagging and constantly self-critical alter ego and its cousin, the highly sophisticated and thoroughly snobbish Über Ich, turned out to be quite proud of the outcome. The hinges and latch are all made with and single piece of string! The box entered service as soon as the epoxy was dry to the touch and proved to be just about perfect for the task. If you too are a proud owner of a Kalimba, are less than enthused with its factory shipped enclosure, and call plenty of money your own, think seriously about getting in touch. I’ll make one just for you, custom built and delivered to your door!

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3 Responses to “Domestic Chores”

  1. Mario Mendoza Says:

    I’m ignorant of this instrument. Could you upload a melody or two to youtube so we might hear?

  2. Angela Zawadzki Says:

    Beautiful sequence pictures of the exquisite box instrument. it seems too me you are very present.
    Thank you.
    ¿Por cuáles pecados estás pagando?

  3. Rudy Says:

    I would have never made it to the end of this blog because of the conveluted complexities of your mind much like the twist and turns of the cerebral cortex of the brain itself. However I got a new samsung computer that reads your blog for me making it much easier follow your trend of thought. I always find myself re-reading nearly every other sentence at least twice. However I am going to send this computer back because I found it for $100 cheaper. Don’t know when I can afford to buy it because there is no monthly payment schedule like the more expensive one. but I can’t justify giving away the $100

    Good luck with the brown boxes.

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