I recently read a sharply worded letter to the editor asserting that sexuality is fundamental to identity. Is it? Most people who feel that way feel really strongly about it, but to me, it's the other way around: who you are — which is to say, what you value — determines who you like, including who you'd like to shtup. Then again, I don't spend a great deal of my time shtupping. As old-school programmer Tom Duff said about his eponymous invention, this forms some sort of argument in the debate, but I'm not sure whether it's for or against.
I do spend a lot of time on music and computers. I like them. I have a knack for them. They're important to me. Part of my identity? Most definitely. This came up a few weeks ago at work, playing a friendly game of Which Would You Rather Live Without. I hemmed and hawed and hemmed a little more. Just as I was about to get back to hawing, I had my answer: I said I'd give up computers. (Gasp!) I'd have to do a bunch of things differently — including making a living — but without music I'd go crazy.
Of course, that was a contrived example. I'm already a bit lulu. Also, real-world dilemmas often admit of nuanced, creative, unanticipated solutions. It so happens I have a very happy music-and-computers dilemma at the moment: an opportunity has come along to combine studying the former with making a living at the latter. I'm trying to figure out whether the two can coexist, and if so, how. If it works, it could be a very smart move.
And sometimes one cultivates nuances where none need exist. I've been asked to perform some Medtner at the annual Rachmaninoff Society conference in September, and for some reason I've been hemming and hawing over whether to do it. Okay, I have good reasons. I haven't given a recital in ten years. I'm not well trained technically; bit of a klutz, actually. I have memory lapses at the silliest times, even when nobody's listening. But ultimately none of this is terribly important. I love the music, and as my piano teacher and many others have said, I give listeners a chance to love it too.
That there is a darn good argument for. Time to start practicing.