J.S. Bach Invention 1 in C major, BWV772
I am slowly retraining muscle memory. It’s only half true that if you’ve learned something well in childhood, you’ll not forget it ever. Of course, I can still read music notes, of course I can still ‘play’ the piano in my mind, but seated in at the keys, J.S.Bach’s Invention 1 in front of me, a piece I mastered as a young piano student, my fingers just stolidly and stiffly refused to respond according to how I remembered it in my mind. In fact, I could not muster enough strength to last more than an hour before my fingers, wrists, shoulders and back began to protest vehemently.
Of course the arthritis is a key factor, but the truth is, I had forgotten. My muscles had forgotten the rhythmic precision, the measured force, the intensity of focus, the phrasing, embellishments, the whole body coordination, the mental concentration and the holistic stamina required for something that appears so simple and straight-forward.
Nevertheless, the sheer pleasure that takes over the corporeal being when engaging every part – internal and external – in this innocuous activity is indescribable. My mind and body, all my senses, are activated in a fulfilling and vigorous way that no other art form does for me. Even though ‘making’ and creating my physical installations bring a great deal of satisfaction, for me, nothing compares to the space I am in when I communicate with music and music with me. There is a mutuality that exists beyond the audible, the vibrations, that which is unheard but sensed throughout the body,
I have been gifted with yet another embodiment of Clement Space. And this time, at last, I am able to share my practice ‘sphere’ with mother. I used to recoil from sharing this intimate space with anyone, it would literally send me into meltdown should someone invade or interrupt my practise, and I would only happily share when I feel ready to ‘perform’. Now, however, the process is freed up to include and embrace external entities as guests inside what was once sacrosanct. Is this “overcoming” an autistic trait? I do not see it that way. There was nothing wrong with my not wanting to share what was sacredly private, and there is also nothing wrong or right with my now allowing a very select few to enter this space. It is merely how I have evolved, without conscious or forced effort. That is not to say that all and sundry are welcome, but more a symbolic gesture that perhaps mother is at last someone that I have allowed into this space in this way.
And I am glad for it. For mother, mostly, but also for myself.