There is a shelf in my office above the external monitors where I keep mementos, and I was studying them today. The small statue of Brahms was a gift from my piano teacher when I finally mastered the dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note that makes “Brahms’ Lullaby” notable. Next to it is a similar statue of Beethoven.
The first time I tackled his “Moonlight Sonata,” it took a year to bring it to the level that I was capable of then. Several years later, I resurrected the piece to see what skill I’d gained in the interim. And just this Spring, I worked on it for the third time. That’s when I realized that, while I like the statue, I really never liked “Moonlight Sonata.” In an unguarded moment, I told my piano teacher who shook her head. Her philosophy is that there is so much music to play that it’s not a good idea to work on something the student doesn’t like. We immediately discarded the sonata for “Fur Elise” by the same composer.
In addition, I have a statue of Kevin, one of those yellow minions of movie fame. He is filled with yellow Tic Tacs®, but as far as I know has never offered any to Brahms or Beethoven. Then there’s the coffee mug with the names of banned books printed all around it that doubles as a pencil holder and reminds me of the Freedom of Information Act for some reason.
There’s a small fork I use as a backscratcher, a tin of paperclips, and a snow globe with New York City in miniature captured inside. Several books and a French-English dictionary complete the grouping.
I often look at these treasures for inspiration, and so far they have never let me down.