I kept it handy for a year, and something kept nudging me to take lessons and learn how to play the mandolin. (It had taken my husband several hours and he'd learned to strum a few tunes on it.)
The week I turned forty five, I'd given up hope on finding a mandolin teacher, and decided I'd have to improvise if I wanted to learn how to play the thing. I went to the music store offering guitar lessons, and stood back and looked at the guys talking with the young man behind the counter. The employees, while they might be talented, couldn't have the experience to teach me to play guitar.
I only knew of one other music teacher in town, so I called him. He taught the violin, but I had one of those too. I'd secretly hoped my husband would play it. Now I decided if I took lessons and worked hard, in a month or so, I'd convince the teacher to switch to mandolin. He could teach violin, guitar and piano. Surely he could teach mandolin.
I took my first music lesson on a Friday the 13th. You could look at it two ways. For instance, my learning the violin was doomed. It was. But the lessons changed my life. I became fascinated with the music. The violin, supposedly the instrument most like the human voice, brought out my emotions. I wrote a biography, of a sort, about my experiences and how they colored my life. And I just kept writing.
Then, I wrote a novel.
This wasn't the first time I'd written a manuscript, or even the second, but something was different. I was enjoying it.
My mandolin is on the wall, and I still think it's a nice decorative object.That violin manuscript resides under my bed. And on a Friday the 13th, 2013, I got a contract for publication of a romance novel. Something I'd dreamed of years before my musical exploration. I wonder, if I hadn't been sitting in a store, bored, on my birthday, would I have started on the path to making a dream come true?
I think something inside me wanted to change my life. And I was ready to pick a mandolin off the wall at a music store. I didn't know what I wanted, but I was willing to start searching, even if it was the equivalent of turning over the first rock I came across and looking under it. I found my dream, it just wasn't the way I expected. Crooked journeys can still get you to your destination.