Meet Moira

My new violin

I have a habit of naming things.  Maybe it’s a holdover from childhood, where all of my stuffed animals had to have names.  Maybe it’s a result of being a writer, where every object is part of the verbal game ongoing in one’s head.  (Describe It/Name It/Translate It/Decode It/Make It A Metaphor.)

Whatever it is, I can’t shake the habit.  My cameras have names.  (Soliah, Coxy, Luther Lee.)  My typewriter has one also.  (Blues Is King.)  The majority of Kurt’s kitchen tools are no longer anonymous.  (That list is much too long to reproduce here.)  So, the new addition, my fiddle, became christened “Moira.”

I mentioned before that I was considering fiddle lessons.  It took awhile before I got up the nerve to commit & once I did, I had to find an instrument.  Picker’s doesn’t really rent out instruments outside guitar lessons; it’s expected for you to bring your own.  But, they allowed to use one in a trial lesson.

Oh my stars.  The guy behind the counter handed me the fiddle & had me follow him upstairs.  My palms were wet from the time I took it from him to at least 10 minutes after the half-hour lesson.  I was so afraid I would drop it or break it.  Once we were upstairs, he introduced me to my teacher, who was eager & talked nonstop about everything related to fiddle playing.

There’s not much you can do in a half an hour as a beginner.  You can learn how to hold the instrument, how it works, how to breathe when you play.  We went over all of this & he tried to teach me something basic, “Jingle Bells.”  My neck hurt from cradling the violin & my left arm was sore from the weird position.

I loved it.  I wanted my own to take home & play with.  So I started asking around, seeing if anyone had a violin they wanted to get rid of.  No luck. . . until one of Kurt’s co-workers brought in his mom’s old fiddle.  I took it home & put it under my chin.  Perfect fit.

I couldn’t actually play anything since she wasn’t strung.  But I sat there, holding the bow, moving it up & down in time with my breath.  It felt natural; I was a smitten kitten.  Today I took Moira to be restrung & she can come home as soon as tomorrow.  The guy kept telling me, “Ok, we’ll we can only use these $50 strings.” or “We have to replace the bridge.”  I didn’t care; I said yes to everything.  Cue Belinda Carlisle’s “Fool For Love” right here.

So, to wrap up, why Moira?  Because my fiddle needs a good Irish name, but because the word is related to older roots.  Like the Greek term “moira”, or the Hebrew name Mary.  Because fiddle music belongs to so many cultures & times.  Because I want her to be a reflection of my own efforts building on the tradition that has come before.  & most importantly, because it’s pretty.  🙂


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