Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I love taking music classes here in Ireland because when I talk in class, my voice comes out like jazz. Not, of course, the smooth sultry jazz which women tend to wish their voices resembled, and not the bright, edgy, slightly raunchy jazz peppered with blue notes that I adore. But next to the liltingly formal and jangling brightness of the Irish accent with its sharp vowels and flat endings, my voice is jazz with a little bebop in it. In my American accent, my words run together in an informal and carefully intentional lazy slur. Sometimes they rush too fast. Sometimes my pitch can reach the jarring heights of the trumpet’s more difficult registers. Sometimes when I speak out after a long stretch of silence or concentration, my tone is smooth and blue. That’s mostly when I hear the jazz in my voice. And that’s when I can stretch into the easy, sleepy smile of self-confidence which is so hard to attain when you are trying to settle into a different culture and cringe to be isolated or singled out. But jazz is something I’m willing to stand by and be singled out with.

Other than that, I’ve been reading a lot of Dorothy Parker, and have been inspired. Her stuff is already eerily familiar to me, even though I’ve never read any of it. I think she’s my literary soul mate, in addition to being my hero. To wit:

Or, Why I Try to Never Lie to My Friends
I thought to hide and begged off sick
Though secretly they thought me slick
But at my door they showed me pity
“My God, you do look shitty!”

There’s One in Every Crowd

Hold her liquor she cannot do
She’s tipsy after just a few
Ecstatic when she knows your name
But when she doesn’t, it’s just the same
Always a tease, she flirts with the guys
Giggling and smiling and batting her eyes
With slurring words she much delights
In bitching at girls and picking girl fights
She sees no shame in falling down
She’ll stumble and lie there on the ground
Or uses your shoulder like a crutch
I never did like her much
But with one sad drink I realize
I am the girl that I despise.

1 comment:

Heidi Fuller said...

I laugh. I cringe. I laugh some more. Oh ye reincarnate of Parker lore.