The Devil’s Skill


is the supremely talented Mr. Perlman.  I can actually pick up and play a violin, but I want to learn to play violin like that.  The Tartini piece starts out easily enough, but then quickly shows its’ true colors, hence the nickname “The Devil’s Trill.”  Perlman apparently keeps this piece and others of similar skill level in his proverbial back pocket, to be ready for an encore.  I can play things that are medium skill, and with practice probably more difficult pieces, but not THAT difficult.

Perlman “just” knows them from memory, the result of playing violin since he was very young.  And he plays them, “just” like that  I may be too old to master these techniques, whenever I can finally buy or acquire a violin.  Or, if I have five or six or more hours a day to practice, maybe I can.  Who am I kidding?  I already know I don’t have the discipline for that.

Here’s the other thing:  I want to write like that.  I want to write so well, so fearlessly, so fiercely, as to be irresistible to my audience.  I want to be a rock star writer (and string player).

I know a few things about myself, though, that may prove to derail those aspirations, both for violin and writing:
1. I don’t want to sell my soul to the devil.
2. I’m not supremely talented like that.
3. I don’t have all day to work at the craft.
4. I don’t know people who are willing to be my patrons.  I really need patrons, almost as much as I need minions.
5. I don’t have name recognition to just sit in on the symphony and play, or just demand cash for my writing, so I’d have to audition, or do the self-publicity.  What a  pain in the ass to have to people like THAT.  I just want to play.  I just want to write.  Maybe a minion can be an agent and do all the peopling for me.  Except they’d have to work for free until I’m established and making enough to pay them decently.  And decently I would, really.  Because who wants to work for a hack for no pay?
6. I don’t want a gold fiddle, Charlie Daniels.  Or Satan.  Or whoever.  I’d sell that and buy a good one.  But I wouldn’t turn down a violin, if I can ever win the drawings, whenever someone is giving one away.  Or, maybe I can win $7K in the lottery (because I’d have to pay taxes on the $5K violin after I paid taxes on the $7K prize.  Fuck, who am I kidding?  That money would already be spent before I could dream of a violin.  I’ve got bills and debts, and everybody wants a piece before I can grow anything.

I know some people who write almost that good, and I have to wonder if they’ve sold their souls to the devil to get that good.  I’m sure Perlman hasn’t sold his soul to the devil. Well, pretty sure.

I have no respect for those writers who tell us they know the story because they heard it, and they’re writing as a public service, and then we find out they read it somewhere and plagiarized the shit out of whichever sucker writer hadn’t caught them yet, for profit.  Further, I have no respect for speech makers who tell us all they know what’s best, or they know the story, and we read their life’s story and it’s full of lies and scandals (that, I’m told, is called “politics”) and screwing everyone out of whatever they could (that, I’m told, is called “good business.”  Unless you’re the person who got screwed.)  Write your own shit, writers.  If it’s any good maybe you’ll make some money.  The evidence of my skill level may be in its’ profitability, which doesn’t look too promising at present.  And, speech makers, before you tell us how to live, or who to believe in, better make it a bit more believable.  The old saying is “practice what you preach.”

It’s hard to follow a preacher who gets caught in a sin, and it should be hard to follow a politician who gets caught in scandals, cover-ups, and a hidden-body count.  Not that I’m accusing anyone.  I have no smoking gun for proof.  These people are better at hiding than they were when Jimmy Hoffa was buried under Yankee Stadium, in the concrete under the foundation. Conspiracy theory?  Moi?  No way. I have no proof, and I’m not going to dig that up.  Plus, there’s only a thin veil between the audience and my sin, so there’s that.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!  Damn it, Toto, fuck off!!

But it’s easy to follow a musician, or a favorite band, or a blogger.  What I don’t understand is the popularity contests.  If I attract a million followers I still won’t understand.  I just wonder, because people are so afraid to leave any comments, if anyone actually reads it or if they just click delete and move on with more important things in their lives.  Plus, for some reason people get all polarized about music- I HATE THAT!  I LOVE THAT.  I don’t even want to know the character of the musicians, because if they do something I don’t appreciate, I don’t want to not like their music because I know they’re ass holes.  I just want to like the music.  Plot spoilers, don’t even tell me.

This is no conspiracy, it’s a fact:  People play games with numbers (see also, Sudoku, and linear algebra and statistics if you’re a real masochist.)  Mum says, “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”  She means, you can say whatever bullshit you want with numbers and con people. For example:  “We’ve collected actual data for the last two or three hundred years.  And based on this relatively microscopic sampling of data, the world is going to end.  How do we know this?  Because through the magic of math and statistical trendline analysis that none of you can possibly understand, we’ve retroconfabulated the data from the past million years.  How can you prevent it?  You can’t, and the end is nearer unless you buy our new experimental technology and continuously invest in future developments!” to put our children through college and allow us to retire comfortably.  Damn, I wish I was that convincing with starting a rumor.  And that profitable.  It’s almost as bad as these preachers telling us the end is near.

The end is near people, but it’s coming in a way no one really believes any more.  People are busy following the latest fads so they don’t think the world is ending any more.  We think science is our savior, and the liars are making bank on that.  I won’t follow anyone who tells me a date for the end, because no one gets a Moses-style face to face with God, and Jesus didn’t even tell us.  He said, “no one knows,” so I don’t trust anyone who says they know.  Similarly I don’t trust anyone who says they know about how to run the country and fix the global economy.  Which is to say I don’t put any faith in the religion of politics either.  These people are not your saviour.  They’re not qualified.

I suspect some of the politicians and preache…um, “scientists” may have sold their souls to the devil.  Or to the big money organizations.  Look at the polls and who the front-runners are.  Look at how quickly scientific theories get embraced as scientific fact, without demonstrating any real proof.  Both these groups are doing what they’ll get paid to do:  sell the company line.   A certain politician who’s not in the running any more called out another politician for having her hand in the wallets of a certain large bank type organization.  It got ignored.  And now recently the same large bank type organization is sending one of their people to sell us the other certain front-runner.  Or to sell him out, if the big money wants politician A to win over politician B.  If you follow the money trail, they’re supporting both of our beloved two-party system candidates.  Which should tell you they’re the same, it makes no difference who you vote for.  I’m not even convinced it matters, unless you have a lot of it, who or what you invest it in.  It’s your money, it’s your gamble, so good luck.

I don’t think science or medicine or technology or religion will save us.  Shit’s gonna go down no matter what we do.  (“Oh, [me] of little faith.”)  There’s a huge movement to go retro- live small, alternative therapies, tiny houses, electric cars, and the funniest thing about that to me is they spring up from their moms and dads and grandparents who were hippies back in the 1960s, with the same theories about humanity.  So it’s nothing new.  When Noah was preaching he advised people to turn back to God, that old hippie.  “There is nothing new under the sun.”

But if a few small investors want to give it a go, I know there are a few therapies I can help with.  Trust me, they’re my specialties.  All I need is enough money to buy a violin and I can be a music therapist, and enough money to pay my bills, put my kids through college and retire comfortably, and I can be a mood therapist. My mood therapies are very cathartic:  I do alternating and sometimes blended sessions of rage and laughter therapy.  It’s healthy to vent, in constructive ways, and it’s also extremely healthy to laugh.  Or, if you’re a corporation looking for someone to sponsor, I can do bullshit.  I can prove it:  I wrote THIS.

So, who’s buying?

No, Satan, I’m NOT selling my soul.  Even if you would give me a solid gold violin.  Fuck off.


3 thoughts on “The Devil’s Skill

  1. You have the skills to be a rock star writer. Your articles are good, entertaining and engaging. I’ve never heard you play violin, so I’ll take your word on that.

    As far as writing goes, it’s never about how well you write or how good your story is, it’s all about who you know, or if the stars align and somehow Oprah discovers you. I won’t sell my soul either. In my world, Amazon is the devil. It’s great for readers, absolutely horrendous for self-published authors. (I’m speaking from my own experience. Other experiences may vary.)

    And don’t get me started about those stupid tiny houses. Sorry, but the idea of locking myself into a self-imposed prison is lunacy. It must be Dante’s 10th Circle of Hell.

    I’m going to YouTube now and pull up “The Devil Went Down to Georgia!”

    Liked by 1 person

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