Recently I taught a room full of second-graders for the day. It was an interesting experience. During storytelling time the lesson plan (devised by the regular teacher) instructed them to sit cross-legged on small carpet squares while the story was read. It was, to me, a rather confusing story — Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but in a play put on by penguins. So, to some extent, I don’t hold it against the students that not all were interested.
I discovered quickly that half of the class had decided on their own not to sit and listen to the story. Instead, they were running around ‘cleaning up’ the classroom and chattering. I thanked the students who had been on task and was planning to take down their names (from their name tags) so that their teacher would give them credit for this. Then, one of the off-task girls came running up to me, very excited. “Mrs. B, we’ve all written our names on the blackboard so that our teacher will know we were the ones that cleaned up the room!”. I nodded and smiled to myself. It was, in fact, possible to outsmart a second-grader! On my notes to the lesson plan I added, “It looks like all the students who were off-task during the reading time have written their names on the blackboard.” 🙂
And what does this have to do with Wolfgang Mozart? Or me, for that matter? Most anyone who knows anything about Wolf will acknowledge that either he had some very bad luck during his life or there were a number of people badmouthing him wherever he went. When else has a musician simply out to do their job created such controversy? But, no matter where Wolf turned, he was met by those trying to block him and destroy his credibility. It is my position that he was slandered, and the slander contributed to his untimely death. And it is my belief that the ominous movie “Amadeus” combines most of the slanderous myths about him into one carefully-crafted package so that anybody could simply despise Mozart as a person while stealing his music and performing as though they were he.
And what does that have to do with me, much less a room full of second-graders? Wherever I have gone and turned there have been those who have either insinuated themselves into my life through stealth, or whom I have no alternative but to interact with. Some have flattered me to my face and slandered me behind my back. Others have been comfortable with outright attack and persecution. One of the most difficult situations I have ever faced has been acknowledging that one of my most cherished family members chose this route. I was too devastated and grieving to do anything but remain in denial for quite some time. It has only been recently that I have been able to accept the things I cannot change.
When I started writing Piper to the Alternative long ago, I wrote about the “Vienna Mystery” surrounding Mozart’s death. I imagined that there was a vortex of negative energy around him that I call the “vortex of the evil eye” that caused his death. A number of people close to him had agreed to his murder. They treated him as though he was already dead and waited for something to happen. At that time I had no intention or understanding that I too might possibly be a part of that negative vortex, and that my own life, worst-case scenario, could also be at stake.
And who are those people who have gathered around me and perhaps even agreed to my murder? Who are those ‘oh so helpful’ individuals who seem to think I am oblivious to the fact that they treat me as though I am already dead and then seem to be waiting for something to happen? Let me give you a clue — they have all written their names on the blackboard. They have slandered me to you. They have deliberately claimed to be a part of my inner circle and then have gone out of their way to make false representations about me.
They, like the second-graders, have managed to solve the problem for me.