January 31, 2006
Yours is the World
Do you know "If" by Rudyard Kipling? It used to hang in my room growing up, given me by my grandfather, scripted on yellowed paper, glued to a piece of carved wood stained dark, all laminated. Here's a reminder, give the poem a read even if you already know it.
That inspires me. Period. At a fundamental level, I work to achieve that type of Manhood with everything I do, and I admire those qualities when I encounter them in other people.
When I look up "man" in the dictionary there are over a dozen definitions. When I find the one Kipling had in mind, I find words like courage, strength, and competence. We all know there are little sexist teachings built into the English language, and every other language too I would guess, but here's one that had never grabbed my attention before: what word conjures up the same inspiring definition of adulthood, strength, and wisdom as Kipling's "man," but applies specifically to women?
One of the people I admire most these days is Solange Guillaume, a fantastic pianist, and my fiancée. Courageous? You betcha. Competent? Strong? Don't ask stupid questions—you couldn't find a person with more wisdom, strength, and self-reliance for thousands of miles and dozens of years in any direction. If anyone exemplifies the qualities Kipling describes, she does.
Today she apparently met with the impostor Disaster. I know her better than anyone else does, and I know she is in a lot of pain. But at times like these, she goes on. She makes a plan, gives herself time to think and feel those things worthy of thought and feeling at times like these, and then she moves forward without complaining. She silently commands those sinews to hold on.
She gives her all, her life, to many things, including music and her friends and me. And at times like these, she watches some of them fall apart, broken. What does she do but stoop with her tools, worn from so much use, and build everything again.
At times like these, when her ever-abundant joy overflows into a room through those ivory keys and metal strings and heart and breath of powerful life, she risks all her winnings, everything she has built up over decades of dedication; she tosses it all with a gleam in her eye...
And at times like these, she loses everything. One pitch. Gone. What does she do but start from scratch, quietly, with tears perhaps for herself, but none for anyone else. I dare you to hold forth in comparison anyone who could seem any more than a tiny glimmering candle next to her great burning sun.
Which brings me back to that word. I hereby dedicate a new one. Solange is a French name. It translates into English as "Sun Angel." There are six definitions for "angel" in the American Heritage Dictionary. Here's another one:
Angel: a woman who exhibits such admirable characteristics as courage, strength, wisdom, self-reliance, joy, trust, beauty, power, restraint, competence, self-knowledge, honesty, fairness, and respect for those who deserve it. See Solange Guillaume, one of the great 21st-century pianists.
Posted by crock038 at January 31, 2006 7:51 PM | Rambling
I know I didn't remember to say it tonight, and I should have said it sooner, but you are one of the kindest, most intensely passionate people I know (which can be an intimidating combination). Thank you for being a part of the universe.
Posted by: Solange Guillaume at February 21, 2006 1:16 AM