As I allowed my obsessive-compulsive persona to shine today by wielding a straight-edge razor to remove unsightly smears of dried lacquer from the glass of the front French doors, my mind wandered. This was probably a very good thing, as I’ve been on so many back-to-back deadlines for so many months in a row that any sort of mental nomadicism has got to be healthy.
I was feeling almost guilty for cleaning the glass that had been bugging me for a while, rather than sitting back down at my desk and attending to any of the music biz things in the next line of triage that need my attention. I don’t usually give much thought to what transpires in the course of a week or a month, nor applaud myself for x,y or z (except a new piece of which I’m proud– that, I will glow about); I just do it and move on to the next thing. But as the glass became clearer, I gradually relaxed and started to recount what I’ve managed to get done in spite of feeling that never enough gets done: two solid new compositions, good adaptations of three of my existing works, a successful conference exhibit, several interviews and radio shows (even a virtual reality TV talk show in Second Life!), orders for nearly two hundred scores, an award for my violin and harpsichord duet, Slip, a presentation about my life at Friday Harbor Labs that benefited their K-12 science outreach program, two trips to New York, a signed deal with a production music library, two published articles, and my friends, my husband and my cats still claim they love me. And this is all since January. More to come over the next three months, from the look of my website.
I should add that both pieces were composed with the ongoing sounds of nail guns, air compressors and very, very loud banging around me, as various house remodeling projects from a new kitchen to hardwood floors became reality. Never in my life would I have imagined that I could compose good works under these sonically stressful conditions. But the fear of a looming deadline is a great motivator, and I surprised myself with my newfound ability to tune out 100 decibels of random firings, on command. It would be fair to say that I have finally learned how to focus.
A great by-product of the hardwood floors that I didn’t think about when we decided to install them: I now sound about ten times more impressive at the piano than I could ever have in what was formerly known as real life. From now on, if anyone wants to hear me play they’ll just have to come to my living room. I will become known as the eccentric island weirdo who refuses to be heard outside her home, in lesser acoustics.
Not only do Charles and the cats keep cheering me on, but the birdies do, too. I try to keep them happy. It’s a bribe, really, because what I see outside my windows is immensely more colorful and fun than television, and since we choose not to have television service, heck, I suppose I’m just desperate for in-home entertainment. Two days ago, I opened up one of the birdseed bins (also sometimes a deerseed bin, admittedly), and was fascinated to see this impressive, if slippery, 4 inch long (unextended) Pacific Banana Slug. This informative web page states that these fellas “can easily be identified by their resemblance to a banana,” but the only time I’ve ever seen a banana look like this was when I forgot to eat the last one in my kitchen before going to Europe for a couple of weeks. Perhaps my exact words upon returning home were, “oh look! there’s an adorable Pacific Banana Slug on my counter!” Probably not. Better still, check out what they have to say about these slugs under “Behavior.” Yikes! And you thought your dating life was masochistic.
Speaking of travel and of not being a slug, I am off once again tomorrow to the far reaches (from here) of the U.S.: specifically, Newport News, Virginia, where I’m being flown to attend the rehearsal and premiere of my new concert wind band piece, commissioned by the U.S. Army. For those of you reading this in the States, just glance over to the upper right at that pic of me on the beach, and remember: your tax dollars, hard at work. I’ll post a clip or two of the new piece for which you helped pay, when I’ve got a recording. Meanwhile, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me purchase more seed for my birds, deer, and slugs.