Dear John

July 23, 2011

I will be attending a concert in August.  It’s a symphony orchestra concert playing at Tanglewood in Massachusetts.  Tanglewood is like summer band camp for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  And the concert that I will see will have a guest conductor.  One Mr. John Williams.  For those of you who are not so up on your music culture, dig through your DVD rack and find your copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I know you have one somewhere in there.  Pop it into the DVD player and sit back but do not watch.  Instead listen.  Yes, that’s Mr. John Williams’ work you’re hearing there.  Mr. Williams is the composer of many film scores including Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, and of course my favorite, Indiana Jones.

Now in eighth grade Home Ec class, we had an assignment.  The assignment was to essentially write a bucket list.  Looking back on it, I find it rather morbid that a group of thirteen year olds was asked to write down everything that they wanted to do before they died.  But at the time, I found it a challenge.  If you have not noticed, I’m a bit of a weirdo.  My dreams have always been huge, and my mind set has always been, well, I could think it up so I must be able to make it happen.  (This mind set has driven my mother bonkers for many years, and I will say if anyone says she is crazy then I must accept the blame for that.)  So on my list, I put some pretty far out stuff.

#24. Hike through the Congo jungle

#14. Own a border collie, Welsh corgi, Springer Spaniel, Golden retriever, and Jack Russell

#11. Swim with dolphins

I need to say at this point that I thought the movie Congo was awesome, I love dogs, and wouldn’t you want to swim with dolphins?

This list went missing shortly after it was written, and it wouldn’t be until my dad had a stroke in 2008 that I would find it again.  In the aftermath of a near death experience, people begin to purge, and one of the things my dad purged post-stroke was his antique roll top desk that he had refinished.  So while we were emptying it out, I found the list.  My dad had kept it under the glass plate in his roll top desk.  It touched me that dad had kept it, but then I began to read it.  And I realized how much on it I had accomplished, inadvertently, by the time I was 25 years old.

#3. Stay in a castle (anywhere) – completed in 2005 when I slept in Cabisdale Castle, Scotland

#7. Meet a movie star – completed in 2007 when I started working for a small start up company owned by Glenn Close, imagine my surprise when she introduced herself to me while I was standing at the copier, hands full of paper and a cup of coffee

#8. Write a book – completed in 2007 when I finished Son of a Duke

With the rediscovery of this list, I was reminded of all the things that I imagined my life would be like at this point and what I imagined I would do.  It reminded me how much of a weirdo I was and how much I honestly thought I could make these things happen.  When I saw in writing that some of them had happened without me even trying, I wondered, how much could I make happen if I tried?

And so, this blog post is for Mr. John Williams.

I spent a large part of my young life immersed in music.  Piano lessons, band, choir and church pianist.  One day blended into the next as I ran from jazz band practice to choir rehearsal to piano competition.  And as I got older and my musical knowledge got more diverse, I realized something.  How awesome would it be to play under the direction of John Williams?

I have his scores on CDs that I play in my car and sing along to at the top of my lungs, which is hard to do as his work is all instrumental.  His music is on my iPod, and I’ll sit in my cubicle at work conducting imaginary orchestras.  But to actually play in one of his orchestras?  That is a bucket list entry I would not mind checking off.

So, Mr. Williams, should you stumble upon my humble blog post in the next month or so, remember that I will be sitting in the audience that Friday night.  I would be honored to fill in should you need an accomplished mallet percussionist.

Your adoring fan,

Jessie Clever


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