January 21, 2007 at 4:30 PMI 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 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.
All right. Tell me I’m not the only one who suffers from broken/stolen violin dreams. Care to share yours?
Ella, I can just see it. I've had dreams like that where I feel so ANGRY at the poor innocent person who's looking at me quizzically the next day, wondering what he/she did wrong. Or you keep it inside yourself and the relationship is from then on just a little different. (Like your friend's mom!)
And Amy, boy, I'll bet you were wishing your incident WAS a dream, and all you had to do was wait for the alarm to send you out of the dream. I cringe to think of it. So glad to hear that competition went well, tho.
Love it! : )
Oh, ugh. Wonder which is worse - broken violin dreams or test-taking dreams. Then, of course there's the "I'm naked and no one else is" dreams. Then again, interestingly, on this latter dream, I've developed the habit in my dream of shrugging, saying, "What the heck, it is what it is, so I'll just keep my head up and not worry what everyone else is thinking," instead of the younger Terez's desperate efforts to hide herself.
Can't decide whether this is a form of self-improvement or a descent into depravity.
(I got it back a few weeks later, someone found it in the road and returned to the nearest gas station a week or so later and saw the missing violin poster...note for all...have your ID in your case somewhere in case you leave it on your car!!).
I think we all have stress dreams of some sort. ORchestra dreams or playing dreams (can't remember how to hold hte bow or play a single note...).
Eeeeee!! Oh, Jennifer! And Anne, I was just laughing as I read your post - nodding and laughing. : )
I've rarely had the naked at school (or rehearsal) dream, but I've discovered that the musician's equivalent of that old classic goes something like this one I had two years ago (and it's still vivid as hell): I am backstage at the Israel Philharmonic, a half hour away from playing the Khachaturian concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta. (I was a big Israel Phil fan back then), when suddenly I realize I haven't learned the third movement yet. I woke up, freaking out, as my dream-self was frantically trying to learn the movement in the 30 minutes I had before going onstage.
Linda - my husband is one of those puzzled-faced people. He just doesn't get it. Sigh...
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