Mud, under pressure, can turn into gemstones – but girls under pressure may flee, or fracture, or…


c7160a8f02e65d637e5921bcf92e0738Geologists, correct me if I got this wrong. I can’t force my teenager to do anything — not even the threat of spiders will motivate her to put away the clothes piled up on her floor. So if I suggest this as a blog topic for her AP English class, we know she’ll dodge it.


In emailing a friend about “the German Illiad,” (Nibelungenlied, starring Siegfried and Kriemhild, Gunther and Brunhild), and the friend gagging at the names, I got to thinking. That song my daughter couldn’t/wouldn’t perform at contest is 100% FULL of words like these! I realize opera singers rise to any occasion and sing in any language the lyricist throws at them, but this 16-yr-old daughter has only so many weeks to memorize, correctly enunciate, and sing — with great feeling — these lyrics:



The teacher chastised her and dismissed her – kicked her out of her studio – for refusing to do the work to enter a fiercely competitive, high-pressure state music contest. The girl has performance anxiety. She loves to sing, but not on stage. We pay the same $200 a month others pay, and do you imagine all of them go on to major in music? The teacher might like to believe it, but there are no guarantees that everyone in her studio will go on to major in music performance.

And so my offspring has been demeaned and demoralized for not being “dedicated” enough to come through and perform this solo. Oh, the teacher has a memorization system, and her students historically have learned, memorized and peformed similar pieces, but my daughter, from infancy, has resisted any form of PRESSURE to “just do it.”

Mud, under pressure, can turn into fossils, rocks and gemstones, but it also takes a lot of TIME. Mariel isn’t fast as lightning that heats desert sand and turns it into glass.


As for the teacher, a blog-rant has been brewing in me all week, but I hesitate to air anyone’s dirty laundry in public. I don’t want to incriminate the teacher as some kind of diva or bully. I do want to exonerate my daughter. She deliberately made a choice to risk being thought of as a “quitter” rather than be forced, threatened or guilt-tripped into doing something that was killing her love of music.

1280x720-geo Soprano Sylvia Schwartz sings Schubert’s ‘Du bist die Ruh’

Du bist die Ruh,
Der Friede mild,
Die Sehnsucht du
Und was sie stillt.

Ich weihe dir
Voll Lust und Schmerz
Zur Wohnung hier
Mein Aug und Herz.

Kehr ein bei mir,
Und schlieߥ du
Still hinter dir
Die Pforten zu.

Treib andern Schmerz
Aus dieser Brust!
Voll sei dies Herz
Von deiner Lust.

Dies Augenzelt
Von deinem Glanz
Allein erhellt,
O full es ganz!

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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