Being a knight or classical pianist only takes a little imagination

Published 8:33 am Monday, July 31, 2017

I often use headphones while I’m writing to drown out noise so I can focus. Since lyrics can also distract me, I generally listen to classical or new age music with little-to-no lyrics.

Here’s the weird part – when I’m typing, in my head, I imagine I’m playing the piano and my fingers are gliding over the keys, creating beautiful sounds.

Those “sounds” turn into words – and depending on what story I’m writing – they can also be beautiful. Other times they’re boring. Sometimes they’re sad; but they always generally invoke some kind of emotion from the reader, whether it’s happiness or outright anger.

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I took piano lessons as a child at my parents “request.” I hated it. I have short fingers that aren’t very graceful.

I wasn’t very good at playing the piano; however, I did learn to read music. which came in handy when I grew older and joined the choir. Singing was something I could do pretty well.

The other night I watched from a distance my 5-year-old grandson Adam playing. He was alone – at least in this world. Oh, but his world was filled with dragons and he was the brave knight that was slaying each one and saving the princess.

It was magical to watch and a bit bittersweet.

As a child, like most children, I spent hours playing make-believe. When I was a small child, it generally involved dolls. When I got a little older, I was a star – singing and dancing on a huge stage and wowing the crowd with my moves and vocal ability. Sometimes I was accepting an Academy Award for my latest movie. I was a movie star too. I could do it all.

What fun make-believe was then. Once we get “too old” for such things, adults stop pretending. We stop dreaming. We have barely enough time in a day to get done all we need to get done, never mind spend time alone in our rooms pretending to be a knight or princess or maybe even the dragon.

Then I realized, my imaging my keyboard being a piano isn’t so very different than what Adam was doing and I smiled, happy to realize I hadn’t completely lost the ability to play make-believe after all.

On Sunday, as I folded and put away my laundry, I sang and danced my way from the basket to the dresser or closet.

For the first time in many, many years, I had fun putting away my laundry.

Maybe next time I see my grandson take up his sword I’ll join him in the fight. Until then, I’ll work on my acceptance speech for winning a Grammy for Best Piano Album.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at