Site Meter Peculiar Susceptibility: Some sparrow, some special gem

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some sparrow, some special gem

I saw it plastered (or stapled) all over Hyde Park on my last trip to Chicago.

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I was in the city for the wedding of the first friend I ever made. I was returning to a city which had held a degree of symbolic potential for me. I had constructed Chicago as a place to which I could go to be freed from tethers - all of the expectations I had established and crushed and resculpted into simulacra of their prior selves during all the years I had passed in Connecticut. Chicago was a place where suddenly it didn't seem to matter to me that I don't have a PhD. In Chicago it didn't matter how I acted in high school. Personal history seemed to fall away in the face of this city, nestled in the middle of the continent and away from the sea.

Still lost pet bird.

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When I was a teenager I thought I wanted to be an opera singer. My house was filled with the flutterings of vocalise. I would walk in the woods behind the house and sing arias off the edges of the cliffs.

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There was something terrifying and addictive about singing at that level. You are at once vulnerable and celebrated. You make a thousand exhibitions of your own unique self - of your voice and the ways it is beautiful and distinct.

These days, my voice has lost its flexibility and its range. It's no longer lithe enough to dance across runs, soft palate strong and arched. I rarely sing anymore ever. I reserve it for children (Brahms for Leah; Handel for Aidan; Fauré for Laura), or the car, or the empty woods.

I had been so scared that my voice wouldn't be exceptional that I forced it - deliberately - into dormancy.

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Still lost pet bird.

9 comments:

Franklin said...

I'm fond of this one:

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/WebMedia/Images/72/NG725/eNG725.jpg

Meghan Maguire Dahn said...

Ooh. That's a good one! I remember seeing that painting there. I love how it engages that idea of birds as these objects of amusing spectacle. And I love that the little girl seems frightened by it all.

There is a certain fascinating vulnerability to being the object of spectacle.

betsy q. bramble said...

Funny...Chicago is the same thing for me. Although if I moved there, I would have to pretend that the lake was really an ocean, otherwise I'd lose my sea legs. I certainly don't want that happening. Losing a pet bird in Chicago might just do it to me.

It's been a prospect for the past couple years, and continues to pick up momentum as such. [The move, not the loss of my sea legs].

Meghan Maguire Dahn said...

Lake Michigan can be impossibly blue. And it has tides, doesn't it?

But there is something about the salt-water coast that gives one moorings.

Anonymous said...

You're not nearly as smart as you think you are.

Meghan Maguire Dahn said...

I find myself to be unintelligent to a frustrating degree, so I guess I'm in bad shape if I'm not nearly as smart as that.

melissa said...

hahahahahha. what a bitch. it's amazing how insecurity manifests, isn't it? i have to say, i'm pretty damned smart. but miss dahn still manages to be smarter than me, you snidey little piece of anonymous crap.
kisses!

Call me Billy, from Connecticut. said...

Poor birdy. This makes me sad.

Meghan Maguire Dahn said...

This is what I'm talking about.