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Reply To: Cunneware’s Laugh: The Enticement of Delight,” with Leigh Melander, Ph.D.”


James – my turn for an apology – I’m just now seeing your last response.

So many wonderful flavors you’ve mentioned, and you’ve got me heading to my bookshelf to seek out Saga. Miller was my dissertation advisor, and I think his writings are exquisite.

What kind of music did you play? I spent a number of years playing the harp professionally, and singing – left that at the wayside mostly when I went to grad school. But my play now includes a mandolin I bought last year as  a pandemic antidote – I’m having a blast with it. I’ve never played a fretted instrument before, so it’s a very different world. And there is something inherently playful to me about the mandolin itself – I’m enjoying its smallness (and portability!) after spending years lugging around folk and concert harps – and it’s breaking through some of the heaviness I could carry about the harp more metaphorically. I’m laughing a lot as I play, even when (mostly!) I play badly, learning to let go of the angst of perfection that worked me while playing the harp. And I’m amusing myself writing tunes for an as-yet imaginary group of crabby middle aged women punk bluegrass band that I’ve dubbed Oh, My Haunted Aunt… we’re going to perform such as-yet unfinished hits as “Whiskers on my Chin,” “Turkey in the Neck,” and “Hot Flash.” Even if I never get there, I’m thoroughly enjoying playing with the ideas…