This morning I attended a lecture about Felix Mendelssohn's older sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel.
She was born in 1805 into a Jewish family that converted to Protestantism in order to assimilate into the upper echelons of the stratified Prussian aristocracy. Though she was precociously gifted with musical talent, she was told that music could only be an "ornament" in her life; her brother, Felix, was groomed to music greatness.
Fanny composed over 400 musical compositions. She organized and performed in.biweekly concerts in the "garden room," which seated over 200 people, in the mansion where she lived with her family. The famous and the powerful attended these.
Until 1847, Felix discouraged Fanny from having her works published. Upon the publication of a few of them, she said that she felt like she been been "reborn." At this point, she was writing prodigiously. She died less than a year later.
Fanny's works went undiscovered until the 1980's when a scholar wrote a biography of her famous brother and found himself fascinated by his older sister. One wonders how the course of Fanny's life would have been had she been born 150 years later.
(If the video below doesn't work, here is the link.)
Sometimes a response is needed. The behavior of the other person requires it. Such a task has sometimes overwhelmed me in the past. I am impelled to respond immediately and the task overtakes my life. This time, I did it differently. I set a time for four days later to write a response to a provocative letter that I had received. When thoughts about the planned letter intruded, I pushed them away. When I found myself mulling the situation while swimming laps, I focused on the number of the lengths that I had completed. On Sunday, alone and with hours at my disposal, I finally jotted down the points that I wanted to make. Rather than the fevered passion which has accompanied my writing such letters in the past, I felt a sense of peace. Putting distance between my initial reaction and my expression of it allowed me to do the task dispassionately.
Towards the end of September, Gari and Gari's son, Gabe, and I took a RV trip to Yosemite and the Gold Country. Yesterday, as I reviewed the pictures and downloaded the selected ones to Shutterfly in preparation for a photo album, I smiled.
I've been looking at my need for creative activity. I am making this a priority. I am not going to let the continual demands to do paperwork - and then more paperwork - an ever growing mountain of paperwork - smother me. I need to create!
Taking the time to swim is important. Given my pain issues, it is the only cardio exercise that I get. I am fortunate to live a fourth of a mile from a warm pool in the retirement community to where I now live. I am learning to make that a priority.