Extra Outlets

When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was my very own piano. I wanted to be able to play that piano, too. Not just look at it and let it collect dust. At my little old church (Calvary United Methodist in Lansing, Michigan) there was this piano in one of the Sunday School rooms. That old thing must have been around since my Grandpa Riggs was a little boy learning about Jesus in that same room. It was smothered with mint green paint. An old “player” piano, it must have been a lot of fun all those years ago. But, by the time I got to it, the poor dear was in pretty crazy shape. The sounds that rang out when I played it were…well…unearthly.

Still, when my mom did work around the church building during the week, I would play that piano for hours. I use the word “play” loosely.

When I got to college, I took lessons. Playing piano was a dream of mine. Never as a concert pianist or even a performer. Just to be able to move my fingers across the keys and hear something beautiful. I still play. My piano sometimes gets dusty, my fingers rusty. But every once in awhile, I get out the old piano books and play a few songs. My kids think I’m Liberace…well…they would if they knew who he was. Other days we get out the chord sheets and we sing Jesus songs. There’s nothing like praising around the piano with a 5 year old girl and a couple 4 year old boys.

On days when I feel my creativity just isn’t “there”, I pull up to the keyboard and play a song or two. I play them incorrectly. Against the time signature and all rules of music theory. But I play with emotion. Slowly. And I picture my characters in my mind. Then the writing comes. The ideas flood me.

We all need outlets. Regardless of your skills, job, hobbies. We need to find a release for the pent up creativity and thoughts. Sometimes those outlets are secret. I don’t generally talk about my love for piano (because I’m not THAT good and get real nervous when I have to play in front of people).

So, what are your outlets? How do you unwind? Or wind up? What gets your brain working in a different way?

6 Comments on “Extra Outlets

  1. I, too like to play just for the relaxation. In spite of taking lessons for several years as a child, I can’t play anything worth playing for anyone (even Rick) Music still calms me, even if it isn’t very good.
    Wonder if there are any pics from those days, and the piano!


    • Vicki, you know which piano I’m talking about, right? And, no, sadly no pictures. I was VERY secretive about my playing back then. Or, should I say, plunking. 🙂


  2. Gardening. Which sadly can only happen a few months out of the year in Michigan. And running. Which I need to do more often. You’ll have to come over and play my piano sometime!


    • I was thinking about your garden last night. Whenever I buy zucchini I wonder how yours are doing…we must have more zucchini brownies!

      Oh, no. No way. I’m perfectly content to play mine…my kids don’t know when I mess up. 🙂


  3. Playing guitar. Working on cars. Building things out of wood. Reading, reading, reading. Singing harmony in a small group. All these things relax me, bring me peace and contentment. But the one little outlet that brings me the most joy is … writing. Playing with words. Taking the images from my brain and putting them down in black and white. Hoping against the odds that someone will read those words and see what I see, understand what I feel, and come just a little bit closer to comprehending my world.


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