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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1861541
Phoenix burns incense and plays his guitar as he thinks about many things...
Phoenix took the long barbecue lighter and lit the incense stick.  He let the flame burn on the stick for a moment before blowing it out, allowing the smoke to roll from the end.  The smoke was mesmerizing in the light, and the smell filled Phoenix's nostrils with pure pleasure.  It was much better than the litter box smell from upstairs that got blown in through the furnace vents and the incense smoke covered that awful smell immediately.  Phoenix was in love with patchouli and champa incense.  His spouse had gotten beautiful dark wooden incense holders for the sticks.  Phoenix had not, previous to his spouse getting the incense and holders about five weeks ago, ever tried burning incense.  His spouse, however, could not stand the litter box smell any longer and decided that they should try that option.  Phoenix was glad that his spouse had come up with such a brilliant idea.  The incense was now part of Phoenix's routine.

The routine was that of playing his guitar to relax, so, of course, the next thing that Phoenix did after lighting the incense stick was prepare to get his guitar out.  First, he positioned the step that his spouse had made him to prop his left foot up on so that his left leg better supported his guitar.  After that, Phoenix positioned his music stand, also a gift from his spouse, in front of the chair and step so that his music was at eye level and easy to flip through.  Finally, Phoenix unzipped his black Ibanez gig bag, exposing his 3/4 classical guitar, which his spouse had bought him around the end of February.  Wow, Phoenix thought, I have been playing the guitar for almost two months now!  Phoenix removed the guitar from the bag and sat down with it, positioning himself on the edge of the chair as he always did.  He opened up to the song "Ohio" by Neil Young.  That was some of the new music that he had just received in the mail.  As he played through the melody line for the first time, the incense began to get stronger.  Ah, Phoenix thought, now this is relaxing.  He noticed, though, that "Ohio" was in drop-D tuning.  Phoenix was not sure what this meant, so he stuck with the melody line because obviously, unless he changed the tuning, the accompaniment line would not be possible.  The tablature was clearly in drop-D tuning, as were the required bass notes.  Phoenix would have to research this and learn how to tune his guitar this way because he really liked the accompaniment line to "Ohio" and there were several other songs that required this tuning as well.

Phoenix continued playing his guitar.  Next, he got out his book of LDS hymns, some of which were general church hymns that he was familiar with.  All of these songs were written in the key of A, E, or D.  According to the author, this was to facilitate the six-part harmony that the patented GuitarPerfect system was supposed to teach even the novice to be able to play in an instant.  The notation was confusing to Phoenix, probably because he could read music, but he thought it would be neat to try a different type of notation, too.  What Phoenix would really like to do, he thought, was write his own song with his own lyrics.  He had to learn to play the guitar a little bit better before he could do that, though.  Or did he?  Why not write a song now?  He wanted to be able to play something original and catchy with words that really meant something to him so that he could share it with others that knew him.  Perhaps it could have meaning to others, too.  Phoenix watched the incense smoke rise and breathed deeply of it.  Phoenix played through "The Irish Washerwoman" a few times as he contemplated these things.  The incense was finally strong enough, so Phoenix temporarily  set down his guitar to put the half of the remaining stick out with some water and dump the ashes from its holder.  Phoenix decided to trim his nails and use the restroom before he picked his guitar back up to play some more.

Phoenix paused after playing a while longer.  He hugged his guitar and prayed, thanking God for the guitar and the ability to play it, praying, too, that he would be a great guitar player and that God would lead him in the way that he should go.  Phoenix always thought he was meant to be a musician.  In his gut, he knew that still.  He did not know whether that musicianship was to be for pleasure, for profit, or for both, but it was surely meant to be for the glory of the Lord and not himself.  Phoenix tried to remain humble about everything he did because he believed that all the glory belongs to God.  Phoenix played his guitar some more while thinking of all the things that he needed to get done.  He was not panicked, though.  He was far from it.  Playing his guitar had calmed him.  Phoenix was still feeling a bit disoriented from the ECT treatment a few days before, but he was able to concentrate for short spans of time on minor things.  Hopefully, by the time he had to score the MCMI-III assessment on Monday, he would be functioning well enough to do so competently.  He wondered, too, how in the world he was going to get his psychotherapy book read in time to answer the questions, but the questions had not been handed out, yet, so he figured that he would have until the final to get those done...he hoped.  He had his statistics homework done, as he had worked on it with a friend the day before, and he knew that the statistics final would be take-home.  His assessment final was coming up this next week and he had to get that assessment scored, interpreted, and written up to turn in.  It was already going to be at least a week late, but the professor was working with him on it.  Phoenix simply could not concentrate well enough to read the Yalom book that was assigned for psychotherapy class.  It was long, morbid, and complex.  Phoenix just kept playing his guitar.  That made everything better.  What about medical school?  What about the letters of recommendation he had to ask for?  What about the MCAT he had to study for and take again?  What about...  Phoenix simply played his guitar and it all melted into something manageable.  Praise the good Lord for that, Phoenix thought, picking away...
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