The cello will be my downfall! At work, the school’s bell choir often practices in the foyer outside my office. This is all fine and well, but today they had a girl playing the cello with them. For some reason, the cello pulls and tugs at me and makes me want to cry the way no other sound does. It is tugging things loose.

You see, when I started taking this medicine, I stopped crying. I am guessing this is because my medicine is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, meaning that in addition to managing my pain threshold it has the bonus side-effect of also being an anti-depressant. Last year, when Nancy got sick, I started crying on a pretty regular basis. When she died I began crying pretty much every day. When I started on the medicine, it suddenly stopped, and it was rather jolting.

However, I don’t think I’m done grieving. It is similar to how the medicine works on my pain: I can still tell that something is not right, that the pain is still there just below the surface, I just can’t feel it. Similarly, I feel like my grief is still there, just below, being numbed out by neurotransmitters. And, just as drastic shifts in barometric pressure strip the numbing layer off my pain threshold, some things open up the emotional haze like a seam-ripper.

That brings us back to the cello. Still, it fascinates me how tone and sound can evoke such strong and specific emotional responses. Sound is a mystery to me, something I can’t grasp the way I can drawing and painting. It is always so sharp, too. My exposure to the cello is pretty low, I’d say (except when I was questing in the damned blood elf land with its damned blood elf music. I was teary-eyed through the whole zone!), so it always surprises me how strong I react to it. And it’s a very specific tone, too. The bass is too low and the other strings too high to make me weepy.


5 thoughts on “Cellos”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. The cello is one of my favorite instruments. I love the double bass, but like you said, it’s too low, and violins are beautiful but a bit sharp. Violas are right out. I love mid-range instruments in general, which is why I lean to giving them more in my compositions; I’ll take a mellophone over a trumpet any day, a baritone over a sousaphone, a clarinet over a flute. And lord knows a marimba beats the living hell out of a xylophone. There is a one-act play called The Morpheus Quartet which premiered at the Humana Festival in the mid-to-late nineties, you might be familiar with it. In it, four actors portray a string quartet, each telling his/her own story, weaving in and out of each other’s speech and words. The cello’s story is of sexual desire and passion, not seedy or lascivious, but rich, dripping with erotic undertones and longing, and absolutely a wonderful personification of what a cello and its sound is. There’s always room for cello.

    1. and we ALMOST did it at centre too with myself, jessica chisley, leigh spencer brown and eric abele but it fell through. Le sigh. It’s a cool premise for a show and I really think you’d like it. DFlo would have been our esteemed director.

          1. Eep! I aspologize like crazy. Yes aspologize. Say it aloud…it’s better than apologize. Dflo, that’s the plan. In Cali now, moving to Boston in June for some stuff there stay a year or two then I’m hitting up Chicago. But if you wanted to get it together I’d be ok with a month or two stint in Chicago. Check out the city and learn it a bit. Let me know.

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