Dangerous Compassions

percussionist Laura-Marie

percussionist Laura-Marie

Hello, how are you doing?  I always wanted to be percussionist Laura-Marie.  But I was playing other instruments instead: bassoon, clarinets, tenor sax.  The percussionists were in the back, being cool.  It looked fun to do that important work of big rhythmic sounds, keeping everything together.

But they were almost all boys.  And I was invested in bassoon playing.  I almost went to college for that.  I was told I could receive a scholarship to Cal State Northridge for bassoon.

But I decided to take another path, and I’m glad for many reasons.  One reason is a pinched nerve issue that reduces functionality in my right hand.  I can’t play bassoon anymore because the little finger of my right hand isn’t optional.

I’m glad I went on a writing path, but to this day I want to be percussionist Laura-Marie.


Taiko is pretty amazing.  I wanted to try that for decades.  But then I know I’m not good with overwhelming booming sounds for a long time.

Also I was concerned I don’t have the physical endurance.  Taiko is playing an instrument but full body exercise also.  My body is special and doesn’t work like other bodies when it comes to muscles and connective issues.

drum circles

As for drum circles, I like them but never played that type of drum either.  No one ever gave me one, and I never made an investment.

Something weird was going on with gender there also.  The drummers were mostly dudes.  Am I making up that they liked it that way?  Ladies could come dance and be hot hippie ladies.  I never felt there was a place for me.

drum sticks

Well, I bought a pair of drum sticks from an independent music shop in Berkeley.  I was so happy, I almost cried as I walked away, back to Ming’s car, holding the drum sticks in my hands.  So real and actual.

Then I went on youtube and took my first drumming lesson.  Now I’m percussionist Laura-Marie.  It was exciting.

Drumming feels like a way to be kind to my mind.  You know how they say to study a new language or do crossword puzzles, to avoid getting Alzheimer’s.  Learning to drum is good for my health like a new language.


The friends we’re housesitting for have this drum, and Ming took my picture playing it by the big window.

percussionist Laura-Marie

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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