The Ukulele Diaries

With daunting days ahead (I’ve loaded myself up with ambitious plans for 2012, mostly to do with self-publishing some of the work that’s been mounting up in my personal slush pile.), I felt a strong need to kick the year off with off with something unequivocally positive.  So today I bought a ukulele.

Hey, what could be happier than the sound of a ukulele?

And it’s easy to sing with.  I’ll only need a few cords to start strumming well enough to back myself up, much easier than the guitar that I spent high school and college trying without success to wrangle. Plus, it’s small and cuddles next to your heart — and unlike other things that can be described that way, you’ll never have to worry about putting it through college or where it might be going at night with its friends.

Ukuleles remind me of Meet Me in St. Louis, and music of the Roaring 20’s.  Bette Midler did a lot to push the ukulele out there but it’s only in the last couple of years that this little stringed instrument has made a major comeback (not the only time the world has finally caught up to Bette!).  I’ve been getting a big kick out of watching it, and sometimes toying with the idea of buying one for myself.  But I’d tell myself not to be silly.  What did I need another hobby for, especially a musical one?  Sadly, my aptitude for making make music is negligible (it’s that math/music/language gene; I just don’t have it).

A few months ago I stumbled onto Amanda Palmer’s In My Mind Which I couldn’t stop listening to, and then couldn’t stop singing.  It’s kind of a perfect anthem for times of change.  The more I sang it, the more I realized how much stronger I would sound (it’s a song that makes you want to sound strong) if I had my own uke to strum, instead of relying on Amanda in my mind’s ear.  When I wandered into the Zooey Deschanel/Joseph Gordon-Levitt New Year’s Eve video this week, I guess that was the final push I needed.

So last night, when I was thinking how much I needed to do something to start the year off right, the obvious answer popped right out: buy a ukulele.  And today I did.  I found a beautiful ukulele online that asked me to bring it home.  I know, it seems crazy to buy something like this online, but most of the ukulele bloggers out there (uh-huh!) were all for it.  When the local Sam Ash turned out to be closed for the day, I decided to take it as a sign. 🙂

It should arrive in 7-10 business days.  I hereby promise to pick it up regularly, even if only to strum a few chords.  Especially on tough days, because I know it will always make me smile.  No one could possibly be unhappy while playing the ukulele, right?!

About Lori Berhon

Lori Berhon is a New-York based novelist and playwright. Her work is distinguished for its intelligence and for the vivid humanity of even her most impossible characters. She is actually taller, slimmer and far more elegant than she appears to be.
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