A Carefully Phrased E-Mail

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Mr. Scarbrough,
My last year or two of life has been a little bumpy. People expect a lot of different things from teenagers these days, and there are very few of those things that I am, or that I want to be. I mean only to communicate my thoughts, and I apologize if my emotion gets into this more than it needs to. It shouldn't be your problem.
I'd like to tell you a bit about myself: I'm a pretty smart kid, as far as I know. I take AP classes and get good grades, although my faith in the correlation between school performance and actual intelligence is fading more and more every year. I don't much care about politics, on the basis that since people tend to do exactly what they're told not to, our policies are pretty effective already. I enjoy the conversation of good friends after a hot meal more than just about anything else, the exception being the weekend evenings when I lock myself in my room with my keyboard and a pair of expensive headphones. I realize I like these things because of the way they really help me forget about the way that time constricts my life. What I mean by that is that they're my escapes from reality, and I'm not supposed to condone that sort of thing. The people that like me call me cavalier, but the ones that don't might just call me careless.
I'm sure you don't care very much. But then again I probably wouldn't be all that interested some teenager's views on the life that he hasn't even experienced yet, either.
Your band is a fine one. It's sounds and rehearses wonderfully, especially considering how varied the ages and backgrounds of the kids that make it up are. The music you play is at the right level for the group, and your directing style is reasonable and effective. That said, I'll say what you may have already guessed, at this point: I've decided to quit playing in RYJO.
I understand that the group is really not one of those from which it's appropriate to leave with little notice and less apparent reason. But before you get too frustrated, which I wouldn't consider entirely unjustified, let me describe the group from my perspective. In the band at my own school, which I admit is not comparable to yours, I am the only pianist, and I'm sure that you can guess our music is far easier. In your group, the music is often more difficult, and I share my position with Will. Since the first day of rehearsal, Will has always bothered me in a way I can't seem to put words to. This feeling is entirely unfounded, however, and I'm not sure if it should even really be included in here. I've tried my best to be a decent section-mate, however, and he really seems to be a nice enough guy. But, and I don't mean to stress this, Will is a less developed pianist than I am. He often plays the easier songs, and I play the harder ones.
I guess my point is that I have no real problems with or grudges against your band. I'd just like to make it clear that I end up playing almost every song that directs a lot of attention toward the pianist, and I’m never as prepared as I could be (which is my fault). I play alongside a kid that bothers me, as unfair as that is, and I face a lot of stress at home--and that last bit is really the source of this letter.
My mom is one of those that would spend her life preparing for the supermom's World Cup, if there were one. She spends a part of every day asking me again exactly what it is I want out of college and what I've done today to come closer to that goal. She is a firm believer of the philosophy that it is entirely okay to do something only because of the way it will lengthen a resume, and she volunteers me for various obligations without reservation, and without thinking to tell me until after I’ve been committed.
I said earlier that I wouldn't let my emotion get into this, and I lied. That last paragraph is a bit of an exaggeration. But it's how I feel, at times, it it's not nearly as far from the truth as you might think.
That, I think explains my thoughts, as much as I might not have done a great job keeping my personal feelings from getting involved. You seem to be a man short on time yourself, though, and this message is getting long. What I want to say that I wish I had the time and the patience to play for your group, but it's my dream to write an album and a book--before the time of my life that I’m trying to document through them comes to an end.
Good luck with RYJO. I'll respond eventually if you reply to me at this e-mail address.


--D.S.





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