Friday, March 23, 2012

Voice Lessons

When I first moved into my current apartment, years ago, I called it the salon. I had everyone, near and far, calling it the salon as well. “So how’s the salon?” out-of-state loved ones would ask during phone chats. “When can we stop by the salon?” local acquaintances nagged. People I hardly knew invited themselves over for dinners, drinks, and discussions. When the salon ultimately devolved into a saloon, nobody was less surprised (or more thrilled) than me. It’s fun to be a guest in the salons of others; it’s draining to keep hosting your own.

One of my college professors was just in town for an event hosted in her honor. The event organizers characterized it as a salon – one without snacks or booze.

Every university campus has its stable of star professors, and she was one of ours. One semester I decided to take whatever class she’d be teaching the following semester, and that happened to be a graduate-level seminar. I spent two mornings a week at a table, surrounded by full-fledged adults. It was hard to get a word in edgewise with this older, smarter, more self-assured crowd – so, at first, I never tried. I quietly took notes and listened.

This professor sent me an e-mail, insisting that I needed to speak up. Only, in keeping with her star quality, she phrased it much more poetically; the delivery was something along the lines of: “my dear, why are you depriving me of your voice?”

After reading that e-mail, I started speaking up more, in and out of class. And I’ve barely been able to shut up since.

At her salon the other night, I told her she’s created a monster. “Oh please,” she said, assuming that I was exaggerating. It wasn’t until she later introduced me to a small group of her family members, and I said something that everyone but me considered a little too unrestrained, that she got to see exactly what I meant.

14 comments:

  1. and what you said was...???? C'mon! What a cliffhanger! :o) So glad your professor "created the monster." Kudos to her!

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  2. lol, I'm also curious to know what you said. Anyway, its nice that you're on such good terms with your Professor. I loved mine, but sadly haven't been able to keep in touch.

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  3. Yes! What did you say? You were so lucky to have had such a great professor. I'm glad she had such an influence on you and that you remember her so fondly.

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  4. You're keeping me in suspense!!! I am so sorry I've been MIA for so long....life has kicked my ass. :( hope you are doing well!

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  5. What a great professor. We all need one of those.

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  6. You made me smile. I often regret how "animated" I get at gatherings--even the ones without bottles. I enjoy your writing voice. Have a great SITS Day.

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  7. Happy SITS day! I love great lessons like this. Even better when people tell you that you need to do something in an elegant way. How can you not do what they ask? I'm glad you found a way to share your voice!

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  8. Happy SITS day! It's awesome to celebrate great educators

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  9. My life has been changed and/or enhanced many times by a teacher or professor, so I totally get it.

    Happy SITS day, fellow New Yorker!

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  10. "Why are you depriving me of your voice" - well that is one elegant and lovely way to suggest you speak up more. I love it! Keep on speaking up and blogging. Hope you are having a great SITS day!

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  11. Be who you are...life's too short for anything else.

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  12. oh, I can't wait for the day I can start hosting people over again.. living in a small studio just doesn't allow for it ;) lol

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  13. I remember when I was "voice-less"... back in the day. Now I'm like you; they've unleashed a MONSTER! LOL!

    Happy belated SITS Day! I hope it was great!

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  14. Happy belated SITS Day!

    And I TOTALLY get you girl! I am the same way. My Momma always told me when I was young that I "shoot from the hip...with a double barrel shotgun" and she always wished I was more reserved in my comments or at least thought out the consequences of them lol... Now that I am 32 I am proud to say...lol...most of the time I don't...but sometimes I do. I think saying exactly that I think and feel at the time makes me *me*. And people either love me or they hate me. And I am okay with BOTH.

    Keep it unrestrained! =)

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