The song was due this coming Monday. I had two days to compose a
song about strength and vitality. I had no idea what to do. “Working
hard is a mindset”, my father would always profess as he sent me to
do my schoolwork. I thought of that now as I gazed, blankly, at an
empty document on my computer. It was a phrase my grandfather
would always tell my dad in his thick, migrant Italian accent. I lifted
my face from the blank document and drifted towards the kitchen.
, I heard as I tripped over my clothes on the floor.
, I heard
as I threw ice cubes into my glass. My forefathers have been known
for their strong work ethic, but personally, procrastination was my
If you asked me why I was doing this music composition course,
I would tell you that I grew incredibly bored after my three gap
years travelling the world, and I decided to return to Melbourne in
an attempt to ground myself once again. I enjoyed going into the
city for class, but I detested the work that they assigned us; I just
didn’t find it relevant to me. I sat back down at my desk after hours
of Netflix and nothingness. “Who in the world am I going to write
about?” I pondered over and over again as my eyes surveyed the
room. My flat was grotesquely decorated in unwashed clothes,
glasses, crumpled up paper and the odd instrument. I had speakers
scattered across all the walls and there was always music, endless
playlists of blues artists, jazz artists, everything.
Several moments later, I decided on my grandfather, Luciano.
An image of strength, his proverbs guided me throughout my
childhood. Now, I only follow a lonely few. He was born during the
Great Depression in Florence, Italy. The World War had left Italy
broke and weak. At just eleven, his father was sent off to the Second
World War and his mother, after his father left, died giving birth to
his third little brother. Nono doesn’t like to talk about his childhood
much, but when he does he mentions his mother and his fond
memories of her, while wearing a soft smile. I picked up my guitar
and began to experiment with the chord structure. I began with
mostly major chords, but something was telling me I needed to use
minor chords instead.
The remainder of that day was spent in deep concentration; I
hadn’t concentrated like that in years. It felt good. I heard the rustle
and occasional beeping of cars outside my flat. Winter was ending
slowly but surely, and the leaves of the trees were being revived by