I was listening to BBC Radio 2 the other morning. I always enjoy their Thought for the Day and that morning it was given by Rabbi YY Rubinstein. He was talking about the terrible killings in Norway and expressed his regret that the perpetrator was so full of hate for others. Rabbi YY went on to liken the human race to an orchestra. It's made up of many different instruments which each create very different sounds and yet, when they all play together, they can harmonise so beautifully.
I love this analogy and it also works on a smaller scale... our community, our family and friends, even the characters in our writing.
A number of my friends are pianos. They’re happy to join in with the others but they’re just as comfortable assuming a solo role.
I know a kettle drum. She rarely speaks, prefers to sit and listen, but when she does say something, everyone takes notice and her words resonate.
I suspect that a lot of us, myself included, are second violins. As long as we’re not too tightly strung, we’ll harmonise with the rest of the orchestra and not stand out in a discordant way.
It’s sometimes quite the opposite with my writing. All my characters want to be a solo piano and, although I tend to throw in the odd glockenspiel, I wonder if I have enough second violins, enough support characters, to ensure that my scenes are realistic.
If I could choose an instrument to be, I’d be a silver saxophone... mellow, sensual and commanding everyone’s attention... but then even a violin can dream.
What instrument would you like to be?
Rabbi YY is a well-know Jewish speaker. You can read the transcripts of some of his talks here.