Soliloquy: the act of talking to oneself

I ran into a friend over the weekend, and over a impromptu cup of coffee we talked about many things. One question, which has been in the forefront of my mind lately, is who do we write for?  All this content we put out there, what are we hoping to achieve?  Who do we want to reach?  For me, understanding this is part of the process of getting naked, so I’m going to share a previously friends-only Livejournal blog post that I love:

December 26, 2006

When I was in college (the first time) my boyfriend at that time was in a class for recording music, and one morning we were able to book the studio for an hour and mic the piano with about six mics and record this improv of a theme I’ve been toying with since I was about nine years old. I was 18 at the time this was recorded, and I am 21 years old now. I am still playing with this theme:

Click Here to Listen to: “Soliloquy” Danielle’s Theme

I remember I started playing but the first 30 – 60 seconds were not recorded so the beginning comes in suddenly without some of the quiet build up. This is all improv of a theme that haunts me. This theme that I would play at night when I was stressed out and happy, or overwhelmed with emotion of any kind. I would go to the piano in the foyer and turn on the lamp so that it would illuminate me like being on stage and block out everything. I would play the same thing over and over exploring it, and learning that constant style of playing that would become my own. I loved music, and as repressed as I can be verbally about how I feel, when I would play the piano it was always deeply intimate. There was an unspoken (and later, clearly spoken) rule that no one was to talk to or touch me when I played. If the rule was broken the shock of coming back to the world was often devastating.

This theme originated from my obsession with triads and then later with chords and finding that there were many combinations of three that made incredible sounds. At first I was interested in C-E-G, then C-D-E and now I’ve started to partition my ramblings into sections with their own distinct patterns laid on top of the overall theme.

So what is this theme about? I thought about that a lot, especially when I was faced with the challenge of giving it a name. I chose ‘Soliloquy’, and I still think that is very appropriate to this day.

Main Entry: so·lil·o·quy
Pronunciation: s&-‘li-l&-kwE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -quies
Etymology: Late Latin soliloquium, from Latin solus alone + loqui to speak
1 : the act of talking to oneself
2 : a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections

I’m sitting here listening to the recording over and over as I write this and I am thinking about all the imperfections, but also remembering so clearly where I was at. Not just sitting in the cold studio and reflecting on 10 years of playing that brought me to the recording… but of what another 10 years be like. And will I still be playing this theme? Sometimes I desperately want to give it up so that I can write something new, but everything comes back to this theme and I can’t let it go. It’s the only thing I want to play, and I can play it for hours and hours on end without boredom. And every time I go back I find more complexity and more that interests me, more to explore. It’s an obsession.

I was at my parent’s house this weekend. They had sold my piano without asking, but they bought it back when I expressed the depth of my pain to my father. The fools at the piano place managed to tune and voice it to a point of sheer boredom in tone and my sister and I were lamenting that it will takes years of pounding to sufficiently break it in again. The action is still slow (but I like it because it is familiar) and now the E notes still are off at the octave. When you get right down to it, it’s a factory made late 80s Kawaii upright. But it was like a pet to me, it was something I cried on and poured out my heart to in the only way that I ever have been able to bare my soul, through music. I was something I would stroke when I walked by it with the same touch as a lover.

There was a time when I thought I would be a professional musician. I thought that I wanted to make music for a living, but I am certain now that I don’t want to. I don’t give a damn about the audience – I didn’t write this for anyone but me and if people like it I want them to like it because when they hear it they understand all the makes it a part of me. Or maybe they will see themselves in it too, and I will reach some place in them that is hardening and difficult to touch and they will realize that they are getting dangerously numb. I don’t know if I’d ever know that had happened, I don’t think people tell each other when they’ve touched their soul anymore. Heartfelt expressions like that get brushed aside. But music has moved me, since I was old enough to stand I have danced and since I was old enough to sit still I have made music.  I have raised my voice in song with a choir of over one hundred voices, and I know why Christians had a choke-hold on music for thousands of years.  Reverence.  Joy.  Passion.

In music I find exaltation, and I have experienced nothing higher.

We write, and create, for ourselves first.  I still work on this piece of music today, it has changed a lot since this recording and so have I.  I express myself through creating music, and hope that there is someone else out there who will understand that expression and help me see myself more clearly.  Each blog post is a soliloquy, a bit of talking to oneself.  A variation on the theme that is the progression of a life.


  • Rupert

    I came by your blog via Meg’s YouTube Mark Kozelek covers (I’m a big MK fan and dabble in the same). Your piece is great and your post is so true – about music – about the effect it can have – about losing oneself in it – it nearly brought tears as it always does when I meet or hear of someone who truly understands the power that music holds. My hat is very much off to you. (and keep on playing Soliloquy, always, it’s beautiful.

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