the original art of lou phinneystoltz

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Listen to Your Heart

It was my first performance at our high school Pops Concert. This was a concert given in the cafeteria instead of the auditorium. It had a nightclub theme, refreshments were served during the show, and there were a variety of acts ranging from the jazz band, to comedy skits to solo performances. Sophy FlysIt had only been MCed by an upperclassmen before this night, and here I was just turned sixteen and the first underclassman to be picked for the job in the twenty five years the school had been running the show.

It was a big night for me, and I enjoyed the audience and the power I experienced at having the audience eating out of the palm of my hand, but nothing I’d known in the past could have prepared me for what happened next.

My job in the show was to announce the acts as they came up. I was also responsible for filling in the gaps between acts, and let me tell you, there were a lot of very long gaps. From acts not being ready, to mic problems and lightning difficulties, I sometimes felt I was up there alone for hours.

I was able to fall back on humorous stories of my family to get me through the tough spots, and it certainly did help that they were all out there in the audience to give me inspiration. All I’d have to do is look at one of them, and I could think of something funny to say. I was able to keep the house entertained while the acts set up, and I was feeling great when it came time for my solo.

For the first time I ever sang in public, I choose and Elton John song, Your Song. I worked with a fellow student how played a piano accompaniment. Our time came up, and a friend introduced us.

Long WalkI sang from my heart.

I sang from my soul.

I had never felt such an overwhelming felling of wholeness before.

When I finished, and the last note was struck, there was only silence. No one made a sound. You could hear a pin drop throughout the room, and I swear I could hear the world breathing! I thought, "Oh god! was I that bad?" These thoughts and dreads as well as the silence went on for what seemed a life time, but in reality was only about thirty seconds, and then it happened. I don’t know from where, and I don’t know from whom, but before I knew it, the audience was on its feet and there arouse such a thunder that I could no longer hear myself think, and I knew. . . I had stunned them. I had sung so well that they didn’t know how to react, and at that moment I knew I was destined for greatness.

The applause rose to ever increasing heights until I flagged them to stop. With tear-filled eyes I thanked them and went on with the show, but inside I was elated. I had never before felt so alive. The rest of the show went well, and I was praised by my peers and teachers alike, and was immediately asked to MC the next show in the spring. I was told what a voice I had, and I was told I’d go somewhere. It was a magical night.So Well iN The Night

When I got home, my mother was in the kitchen. She was the only person left awake. I came into the room with my head almost unable to fit through the door because of its swelling. I looked her in the eye and asked, "So what did you think"?

She said, "I don’t know why you put so much energy into these things when nothing will ever become of it. You know we don’t come from a family where you will be able to do anything with that, so why do you get your expectations up? I just don’t understand you", and with that she gave me a kiss goodnight and went to bed.

As swiftly as my world had skyrocketed, it collapsed. Here I was riding the high of my life, and the one person who could have sent me higher had chosen to shoot me down, and it was taken me years to realize that her reality did not have to be mine! If I had chosen to listen to all the others, there is no telling where I would be today, but I chose instead to hear the one negative voice. I chose instead to accept her reality, and in so doing, I created a what if in my life, and if I had my druthers, I’d chose not to have listened to her and have instead listened to my heart.

Prose : Listen to Your Heart ©1997 lou phinneystoltz
Painting : In Order Descending
Sophie Is An Angel ©2003 lou phinneystoltz
Long Walk ©2013 lou phinneystoltz
So Well In The Night ©2011 lou phinneystoltz
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