Friday, January 5, 2018

Is it Better to Look Lazy?

In middle school orchestra I learned about an Italian composer so lazy he wrote music in bed. It was a lighthearted tidbit shared by a young teacher to young students. I remembered the story, but not the name, Vivaldi or Verdi, I was sure.

Actually the composer was Rossini, Gioachino Rossini. He wrote many operatic hits and a few flops, but is most known today for writing the theme music for the Lone Ranger (aka the William Tell Overture.)

In the anecdote I found online, Rossini composes in bed, and when a page of music falls to the floor, he starts over rather than picking it up. Lazy. Except he wrote 40 operas in 20 years, so what was really going on?

No one seems quite sure. The big question is not actually about writing in bed, but why a genius with fame and fortune would give up writing music at 38? Especially since Rossini stayed in the public eye and apparent good health until the age of 76.

Apparent may be the key word. Many of us appear to be fine even when we are suffering. There are reports that Rossini had deep depressive episodes. I have stayed in bed due to depression, but reported “flu symptoms” when I had to miss work. Likewise, Rossini may have been hiding under the covers when friends dropped by. Acting too cool to get out of bed would have seemed preferable to revealing a condition still often misconstrued as weakness.

Hiding our frailties seems instinctive, maybe it is. I’ve read that house cats don’t act sick unless they are deathly ill because they need to hide weakness from larger predators.

Though I walk more comfortably with a cane than without, I usually leave it home. There are logical reasons—it’s in the way when not in use, I can’t wrangle my dog and use a cane at the same time, etc,—but pride comes in as well. I don’t want to stand out as being unwell. 

Not me. I'll never be that cool.
I color my hair blue, so apparently I don’t mind standing out, but I want to stand out for being quirky, not for being gimpy.

I really dread my likely future need for a wheelchair. I remember having unkind thoughts about people who seemed too fat to walk. Now I realize I'm fat partially because I can't walk as much as I'd like to keep weight off. (We won't talk about baked-goods here.) My vanity goal is to lose weight before my joints give out so that when I need a wheelchair, others don't have such thoughts about me.

I started thinking about Rossini because I want/need to increase my writing production. The plan is to launch a poetry podcast this year. I would love to issue weekly editions, but sometimes it takes all I have to get this blog written. Maybe if I could write from bed - - -

So Santa brought me a keyboard for my iPad. I’ve written this from the living room sofa, from the kitchen table, from the laundry room, but not from bed.

Because morning is unfriendly to me. I go to bed planning to start reading research materials or typing the blog or podcast as soon as my husband’s alarm goes off at seven. But I usually can’t even roll over and turn on a podcast to listen to until nine. Guilt over neglected pets gets me dressed and feeding critters before 10, but my drugs and brain rarely work before 11. That’s a huge chunk out of my work day before I wash dishes, do laundry, exercise, etc. 

Rossini didn’t exercise. He only cooked for fun.  And I’m pretty sure he had servants in addition to wives and mistresses. I may have to delegate or ignore even more housework to become a more productive writer. 


I had two projects on needles when this week started. The plan was to be disciplined and finish them before starting more.

But I fell in love at the Museum of Natural History. The whole section on prehistoric people of Utah fascinates me. This high desert country is hard to live in. I can’t imagine the work that went into keeping a family fed, sheltered, and clothed. But people have been doing so for about 10,000 years. 

We only have stone tools for the earliest people, but the Fremont and Anasazi peoples lived in Utah during what was the Middle Ages in Europe. And the technology was similar. Farming, hunting, basket weaving, pottery. 

I love looking at the housewares and clothing of these people. What seems to survive best and touch me most, is the moccasins. They are crafted in much the same style as the Minnetonka moccasins I wear everywhere (without the rubber soles), but are so small. Here is a related article I found while looking for pictures. 

Part of that is I am a big person, with very big feet, but I also think a lot more child moccasins survive than adult ones. Kids outgrow things before they wear them out. Even with hand-me-downs, a few shoes will survive intact.

I needed to express my feelings in knitting, but I don’t generally knit socks. So I went with a feet theme. Bare feet on a sandy path are on what will be a bag. I also plan on putting smaller feet on a hat, but probably need to churn out two or three more Space Invaders hats first. I’ve sold two this past month and am down to the last one. You can snag it and other items at my shop. 


  1. So just thinking out loud. If Rossini stayed in bed when did he find time to have a mistress? I have witnessed other fellows with mistress's (no personal experience) and that seems way to difficult to stay in bed all the time.

    Like I said just thinking out loud. :)

  2. His first mistress, later wife, was a famous soprano, so I'm guessing he made it to the theater occasionally. He also made a lot of money, that can compensate for quite a bit.