I’m so excited! I had my first mandolin lesson yesterday afternoon. I was, of course, holding both the mandolin and the pick all wrong. In fact, the lady who sold me the mandolin gave me a couple of really lousy picks. It turned out the thumb pick I’d been using on my own wasn’t even for a mandolin or guitar at all – it was for an autoharp! Who knew? So my teacher (Tom) gave me two new ones to try – a thin one and a medium one. Wow! What a difference. I really liked that thin one.

I don’t think Tom was any more impressed with my mandolin than he was with my picks…but he could tell I was sincere in my desire to learn to play. As soon as I started to play, he said, “I can tell you’re going to want a new mandolin before long.” He had FIVE mandolins himself. And a bunch of guitars, banjos and ukuleles. (In fact, Junior High Kid is taking bass guitar lessons from this guy now, too…and Junior High Kid thinks that he, College Student and I should form a band – he’ll play bass guitar, College Student will play keyboard and I will play my mandolin. That would be an interesting little trio!)

Anyway…I am absolutely LOVING this instrument! My fingertips are sore, though, because I haven’t built up calluses yet. Apparently, that takes about a month. I really don’t know why I didn’t take up the mandolin a long time ago. (Well, I might have been hard pressed to find a classical mandolin teacher in other places we’ve lived…if I could have found a teacher at all, chances are that teacher would’ve specialized in bluegrass rather than classical music.)

But I can’t practice all the time…I’ve got a Boxcar book to finish revising, a new picture book to work on for Pelican Press, a sequel to Do You Know the Monkey Man to move forward on, and I really, really want to revise I am Anna Winkler. It’s been quite a while since my agent has seen it, and she’s asked me about it more than once, which is really embarrassing because I still haven’t done ANY more work on it. But I CAN play three songs on the mandolin!

You’re never too old to learn a new instrument!

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