Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

In Honor of Breaks: A Totally Rambling Summertime Post

Me, at age 16, shortly after arrival to America“Summertime, and the living is ea-ea-ea-zy, fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….”

Fun fact: Once upon a time, at age 14, I sang this song, ¬†silly accent and all, and played it on the piano, on national Russian television. ūüôā

Since then both the video and the audio of this little milestone had been lost in the craziness of emigration and moving and growing up and ¬†living. But sadder than that, when I sit at the piano now, all that comes to me are the song’s first two chords. (It was a unique arrangement, nothing I can find in sheet music, or re-create by ear). ¬†As far as the rest of it goes, beyond the two first chords, nothing comes or ever will again. It’s been too long. My fingers have lost the memory. I have no nostalgia for performing on TV ever again. But my fingers miss the song. I wish I could let my voice loose to those chords again, wish I could let my kids hear it.

This is what happens when you let go of something for too long — be it a song or a story. Right? You face the danger of losing it forever. Sometimes that’s just all right. Some stories deserve to be lost. But once in a while, you risk losing a treasure.

But there is another side to this “practice, practice, practice” coin. Once in a while, I believe we need to stop working on our craft so damn hard, stop completely. At least, I do.

It’s not easy either. Now that the semester is through, and I have finished writing and revising a novel I have been working on for (ahem) years, I am under strict orders from Shelley, my last semester’s advisor, to¬†rest.¬†I tried to resist at first. I kept going with some poetry, even though I could sort of feel it, my zeal and creativity grinding slowly to a halt. Now, before I go off to my next residency at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (next week!, OMG!) I am not writing. I am enjoying my family more. I am even becoming somewhat competent at our own crazy version of pool volleyball! (a HUGE surprise, trust me). Still, it’s hard. After the¬†months¬†of living my story, of my fingers flying over keyboard letters like they knew where they were going better than I did, not writing leaves¬†a¬†hole, an emptiness. Where had my super productivity and focus from the last six months go? My desk is a mess, I am waay behind on laundry, and I can barely go grocery shopping anymore without forgetting the sour cream and the hot dogs!

Look at this post, even, what am I saying here?

summer sky

All of this only proves, of course, that I need this break, don’t I?

I am doing the best I can. Taking in the lazy-making  swelter of summer, I try to just be, in the softest possible way, even if not writing makes me feel a little helpless, a little blind, a little lost.

This is all good, I know that. Seven days from  now, I will be flying to Vermont. Before loading up with new inspiration, meeting my (last!) VCFA advisor and charging up with new ideas, I need to be as empty as possible.

So, cheers, guys. Here is  to summer and to rambling. To emptiness, and to just being. Here is to floating.  To memories of music. To making new memories.

Soon I will be writing my head off again, I sure hope so!

But today, I cheer for  just listening.

Happy summer, my dear friends!

I will post again in late July when I come back from residency.




June 30, 2014 Posted by | Personal Mirror, VCFA Adventures, Writing Mirror | | 13 Comments