Rebecca Raney - The Reckless Violinist

Jan. 6 Edition: Fiddling While Rome Burns

Published over 2 years ago • 1 min read

This time last year, I was getting ready to play the violin again.

Just after the election, the local violin maker refurbished the instrument. During the weeks after that, I learned how to tune again. It took me at least a half-hour to tune, every time.

My neck was not ready for the challenge. Within a couple of weeks, I couldn't turn my head.

Then the glue failed on the neglected violin, and the instrument’s neck broke.

The violin snapped when the neck separated from the body. It went off like a shot.

That week, our country snapped too.

These events all connected in my mind – my neck, my violin’s neck, and the attack at the Capitol. If you missed it, here’s what I wrote:

“Playing the Violin Through Pain, Insurrection and a Broken Neck”

Since then, I could have returned to political writing.

However, I'm not sure it's productive to add to the noise. We've got more voices and more political analysis than ever, and the chatter runs like a stream into the sea.

I've also concluded that it may be healthier to learn to take my eyes off the world. I've turned, instead, to my practice room, and to a discipline that has brought respite to audiences through centuries of political turmoil.

You want to talk about Rome burning? Well, look at Italy. Sure, it's a country that's fraught with political tensions. It's also a place where people have learned to focus on greater things and cose belle -- beautiful things. In fact, the "cosebelle" hashtag is a hallmark of Italian Twitter.

If, in that respect, the U.S. became a little more like Italy, would it be so bad?

Rebecca Raney - The Reckless Violinist

Respectable journalist. Terrible waitress. Reckless Violinist. Noir novelist. Longtime contributor at The New York Times. Sign up to follow my cross-platform project about money, merit and music in the turmoil of America.

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