blancwene: (Redheaded snippet - AoGG)
You're auditioning for a musical. It's not your favorite, you don't think it's a great fit for you, but you're following your theatre professor's advice: "Some auditions are just practice."

So that's what you're doing. Practicing. And surprisingly, it's not going too badly. Sure, the accompanist has never seen your song before and keeps dropping out for whole measures, and the piano is rickety and out of tune, but you're rather satisfied with yourself thus far.

Then twelve bars into your selection, you remember the final note. That high F. Not a high F above high C, thank God, just above that middling-to-high C. It's perfectly in your range. Why, in high school, you used to hit G's and A's all the time! No problem!

You practiced it in the car on the drive over, after all. And you probably hit it. (It's rather hard to judge pitch when you're singing a capella with one eye constantly on your GPS.)

You can see it looming before you, that moderately-high F. It starts to taunt you, with its octave jump and eight beat count. "HAHA," it seems to say, "I will be your downfall!"

"Like hell!" you think, as the smile stiffens on your face and your eyes grow glassy. You start bobbing your head awkwardly, in hope that the accompanist will finally get the rhythm correct. You stop looking like a sweet ingenue and start to resemble a neurotic madwoman, twitching head and frozen smile and all.

And suddenly you're there: the final three bars. You hit the low notes fine. "Triumph at last!" you think. "Why worry? Bah, this isn't a high F at all." You open your mouth, and out comes...

A sound like a strangled sparrow.

High notes should reverberate in your nose, and emerge clear and strong and pure. This actually-pretty-high F seems to have gotten lodged in the back of your throat, and resembles a nasty squeak more than anything else. You shut your mouth abruptly, dip your head in a strange sort of bow, and try not to notice how the directors' eyes bulge in dismay.

"Thank you," you mutter.

"We'll let you know," they lie.

And then you run away.

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It is always remarkable when someone sees your soul to a better degree than you see it yourself. You could count the people who see your soul on one hand. Others might know you but they would forget; their knowledge of you was like a weak and undisciplined thing. But that wasn’t so with him. He didn’t forget. It stuck in his mind. He had seen a kindred soul. He had seen it long ago. She only saw it now. But she was stricken with it. Suddenly she had identified him. There was the man she loved. As a result, she proceeded dementedly to behave as if the opposite were true.

–Nancy Lemann, The Fiery Pantheon

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