Saturday, 27 June 2015

Miranda: not doing grade 6 piano

Today is the day Miranda would have done her grade 6 piano exam. But she didn't (leaving me entirely free; I choose to go rowing, then cafe, then work, then Waterstones). Last weekend, last Saturday, Miriam came out while I was gardening to ask me to Have a Word with our daughter, a delightfully Victorian experience. And the Word to be had was about piano.

It turned out that Miranda had decided, somewhat tearfully, that she really didn't want to do the exam. She didn't enjoy playing, it wasn't fun, she didn't want to spend the next week practicing for an exam she didn't care about, even if we would then be "happy" for her to drop the piano afterwards.

I'm a bit sad: I knew she had to be pushed to practice, but though she enjoyed playing: she had got to the stage where she could be listened to with some pleasure when playing pieces she knew: some of the Harry Potter themes for example, which I thought - still think - she actually liked.

I asked, was she sad, was she reluctant, because she thought that even with a good week's practice she still couldn't pass? No, its wasn't that, it was - we kept coming back to this - that she just didn't care, she didn't enjoy it, she didn't see any point.

I tried to push my own view - that having got this close, it would be silly not to just get through the exam. It is certainly what I would think about any endeavour. But she was not to be persuaded. And I began to wonder if she might not be right. What virtue would there be in a certificate that she would not value? She will keep doing clarinet, which she does enjoy - particularly playing in the wind band - but that wasn't any argument for piano. Perhaps she is avoiding the "sunk costs fallacy".

She was quite tearful through all of this. I'm not sure why: either because she knew she was displeasing us, or because she was torn herself. I must ask her.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Book review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I find it hard to believe this is the same guy that wrote Anathem (I'm not sure I reviewed that, but I wrote about the Adrakhonic  theorem and polar orbiters). Anathem was good (would it survive re-reading?) especially in the first half; but this book is leaden all the way through. Well, at least to page 400, where I've skipped to, and now given up. Goodreads people disagree with me, many of them giving it 5 stars as a page turner, but... am I just getting old? Its just drivel.