Back in 2007, when I wrote this for my blog at Violinist.com, I would have frequent, disturbing, “new violin owner/player” dreams. Now that my practice is no longer in its infancy, the dreams have faded. I suppose it’s like having a new baby in the house, compared to a teenager (different nightmares now — including waking ones). I was also writing a lot more fiction at the time I penned this. Fun to read, now. Allow me to share.
This first appeared at Violinist.com in 2007
I am in a room with my violin. Outside it is growing dark, a curious purplish haze. I pick up my violin to practice and discover, to my horror, that the bridge has fallen. As I fumble to upright it, the violin neck snaps. I stand there holding the body, neck now dangling limply, connected only by the strings like a demented marionette, and I begin to tremble. I live in the mountains, forty minutes from the nearest violin shop. It’s a Friday and my lesson is on Tuesday. What will I do? What will I do?
An insistent beeping noise commences as red lights begin to flash. A warning, then, that the violin will not make it. I clutch the violin tighter and the seams crumble beneath my hands. Now I am left with planks of wood and dangling strings. That’s it. I have lost my violin.
The warning bell continues to shriek. Why won’t someone turn it off? Reality finally permeates my consciousness. My eyes fly open, my hand shoots out and fumbles for the alarm clock. Finding the snooze button, I stab it and lie back down, heart hammering, mind racing. A dream. Just a dream. Thank God.
When I get out of bed ten minutes later, I peer into the violin case, just to confirm that the intensity of the dream didn’t somehow affect the violin. It’s fine, snuggled beneath its soft blanket, scroll peeping out like a baby doll’s head. I pull the violin out and hold it for a moment, breathing my relief in and out, in and out.
And so it goes. Yet another broken violin dream.
Then there’s the “my violin is missing” version. I am in a strange room with several other people and I realize I haven’t seen my violin for a while. Could I possibly have left it in my car? Surely not. No, I brought it in. And yet, it’s nowhere in sight. “Where is my violin?” I call out, my voice rising in uncertainty. “Has anyone seen my violin?”
No one responds. Then I recognize a man who’d been standing nearby when I arrived. Surely he would remember. “Excuse me,” I ask him, “where did I set my violin down?”
He is tall and dark-haired, with shaggy, vaguely menacing features. He looks at me now, his face carefully inscrutable. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says.
He has taken my violin. I can see it in his eyes. I cast a glance all around me. I see polite but blank faces. Carefully blank faces. Like in Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a conspiracy, then. They’ve stolen my violin. They’re going to lie about it. My breath comes faster, in choked little gasps. “Give me back my violin!” My voice has risen to a shriek. My violin is in great danger. I have no idea where it is. I race around the room, panicked now, knowing it is somewhere, terrified that I just might have seen the last of my precious baby.
“Shhhh.” A pat on my back jerks me out of my nightmare. It is 2am and my strangled cries and convulsive jerks have awakened my husband, who pats me a few times more and then falls back asleep. I, however, have no desire to return to the world of my dreams.
I’ll tell my husband about my dream the next day. He’ll chuckle and shake his head. For him, dreams are vague oddities that you mull over for a few minutes and then never give a second thought to. Not me. My dreams are visceral, disturbing, larger than life. Both these dreams seemed so real, so threatening, that months later, they still make something inside me seize up, run to go check my violin to confirm it is safe and intact.
It is. Whew.