Genius

Apr. 19th, 2010 08:45 am
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I think living in Wales is killing my LJ habit. There's just not much to write about. Life is peaceful, delicious, green, and utterly magical in its sheer ordinariness. The days blur: reading, laughing, eating, walking, playing outside. Bennett thrives. He is night weaned and is sleeping through the night. His language skills leap every day. In fact, for some words and concepts he seems to be functioning only in Spanish. Crazy. He knows colors in Spanish, English and Welsh. And he's nearing two. When he's tired - hoo boy: tears and gnashing of teeth, I tell you.

Over the weekend I read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. It's an easy, quick read and pretty enjoyable. What makes him enjoyable is also what makes him downright annoying to me. Just stick with a damn story and I don't need three examples of cultural miscommunication to get your point, thank you. However, I greatly appreciate his dismantling of the American success myths: being self-made, talent and genius being innate, etc. I've never bought into the first. I've long understood how one's context, environment, access to opportunity, etc can help or hinder a person's chances of success. Gladwell talks a lot about class being a factor in educational success but I think it's more of one's cultural class than just monetary class. He has several examples that point to this, without being explicit about it. This idea led to some personal reflection.

My family definitely had upper middle class values but was very, very working class (until I was in solidly in my teens). My father hasn't moved much out of the working class mind set - call him retired and he bristles (he's busy growing his own food and building the houses he lives in), call him wealthy and well.... I wouldn't say that to his face, even though he and my mother split their time between two continents. I see how my parents' value on education helped me pursue my academic desires. They may not understand the content of my studies, but they very much respect that I am pursuing these degrees. Fitting with the more working class idea of kids doing their own things, I was left to cultivate myself. I'm grateful for this because I think kids need to ample time to play and do nothing and learn about being bored. But this is easy to say because I have always been self-directed and one to take the initiative in my interests, which my parents would then try to facilitate. But we never went to the theatre or to hear live music, or all those other 'townie' things that I wished I could have done. It's amazing that I started singing at all.

Which leads me to another reflection: I completely bought into the 'genius is innate' idea. I started singing thinking I had some natural ability, which I do, but I think I've always thought that if I was really talented it wouldn't be so hard and so fraught with angst. But that's not true. The people who get to be great singers and performers are people who didn't let the angst and hard work stop them, people who had opportunities, who loved the process and worked hard, all the time. I can't say that I did those things, or at least, not very consistently. This 'talent is innate, so if it doesn't come easily then what's the use' idea is sadly ingrained in me. I see it crop up in many other areas of my life. I think it was easy to believe because some things have come absurdly easy to me: reading and most school. I didn't have to work hard to get a respectable B+. A smidge of effort and I'd get an A. (Except math, but that's another story for another day.) Reading and words are like breathing to me, so I think I just assumed that's how everything was. But what I didn't take into consideration is that my mother read to me from an early age (I don't remember this at all), that the house was filled with books, that I saw my parents read all the time, that I was allowed to spend entire days engrossed in a book. Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a master at something. I'm pretty sure I've more than logged my 10,000 hours reading.

Interesting stuff.
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About church. I know. Not surprising. It is the story of my life. Now that I no longer feel a desire to Belong to Christianity I find that there is more room for me to enjoy it and participate. I like going to the school chapel on a Sunday morning. I like singing and I like the hour to sit quietly and meditatively smelling incense and thinking about divinity and being child free. In fact, I'd even go from time to time if I wasn't singing.

But the choir. It's awful. Two weeks ago I was running late and sat in the congregation listening. Oh man, the choir blows. There are more sopranos than anything else and one of them goes sharp and bright all the time. I'm sure I add something nice. But it's really uninspiring putting in two extra hours a week and sounding like crap. And it's no fun barely learning music. I don't know. It's still singing. It's also the best group in Lampeter. Lower my standards and be a part of a nice community?

As you can tell from the time stamp, I'm skipping church this morning. There's a second service tonight and normally I'd be super excited about it: evensong. But our chanting sucks. Suuuuuper uninspiring.
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I sang well tonight. Gosh, was it nice to sing, easily and beautifully. And given that I've been sick (and I'm still coughing) I sang really well. If I do say so myself. We're home now and we're going to be having a very late dinner. Roast chicken and potatoes and carrots, and garlicky salad.

With the choir rehearsals over my schedule is freed up, but the next two weeks feel hectic: must remove mold, keep studying, prep for the hols and rels, and also attend the other parties on the list. It's really nice to be invited to parties and start getting to know people.

Pissed

Dec. 9th, 2009 09:27 pm
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I am sick again and losing my voice. I think I'm going to have to abdicate my solo. I'm really really disappointed. I miss singing. If things don't improve I may have to not sing altogether.
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Every day is a vacation. That's how it felt this morning. Bennett ran up to me with his shoes five times this morning - a clear sign if ever there was one that he wanted to play outside. Seeing as how it was dry and somewhat sunny, we went to the park. He stomped in puddles and tried to talk to the pony on the other side of the fence. Then we walked around town and he stared at the huge lorry full of trees. It was really free and fun and cheery. We wake up whenever we wake up, we have a loose schedule, we don't really have to be any where, and small town life encourages meandering and 'stopping by' for a chat and a cuppa. I feel like every day is a vacation.

Mold. We have a serious mold problem. Black mold. Creeping across our bedroom ceiling, up a corner of the living room wall, and behind Adam's desk in his office. In general, the mildew is growing apace around the windows. I am sure this is why I am sick again. It's so damp in our house that my sinuses aren't drying out and we all have coughs. In fact, it's so damp that our gas fireplace and our lighters won't light. It doesn't feel that damp, but it must be. We're trying to convince the landlady to cover the costs of a large dehumidifier. If she declines we will look into moving.

Singing. Of course the constant sinus baloney is ruining my singing voice. I have The Solo on Sunday and my voice is a mess. There are other solos, but apparently the opening verse to Once in Royal David's City opens to the whole shebang - I stand in the doorway, holding a candle and then the choir follows in behind me singing the second verse. It's a Thing. I don't care, but it's important to other people and I'd like to not suck.

Bennett attended church for the first time on Sunday. The church I sing at had a Christingle service. I don't understand the name, but it's a children's service. It was brief, only mildly obnoxious, with horrid "children's" hymns. The good part was that all the kids were given oranges with ribbons and candies stuck on them and a white candle in the middle. Then, the lights were turned out and the candles lit one by one. This orange is the Christingle, and Bennett LOVES his. He knows how to blow candles out so he was tickled to have his own. We light it every night before dinner. All the other kids ate their candies before the candles were even lit! But B had no idea what they were, so they're still on his orange! I figure he'll learn about sweets soon enough.

This town is small. The whole thing could fit inside of the neighborhood I used to live in. And Temescal had ten times as many people. And it's a small town in that we went to a party last night and met [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep's neighbor. She was talking in vague terms about her neighbor and I knew who it was straight away. Her first response was, 'Oh you must be the American she was talking about!'

Work. I turned in draft one of my paper. I plan to turn in some more tomorrow. I think I am a tedious, redundant writer. I remind myself that this is the first set of drafts. More work is still to be done. But go me.

I think that about covers everything. Life isn't exciting here. Just really pleasant. And damp.
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Starting to feel the lack of close friends nearby. This must mean I'm getting settled in. I'm also pretty tired of running so much energy - energy to figure things out, energy to be present with all the change and a little boy who's teething molars and is SUPERHIGHENERGY and must nurse ALLTHEDAMNTIME, energy to sit still for several hours a time and think Deep Thoughts, energy to run more errands, energy to muster self-care.

Most evenings we just sit around and watch tv altogether. We're on a Glee and Avatar kick here. I really want Glee to work its kinks out. There is so very much to love about it, and hot holy shit can they sing. But the writers have bitten off a little bit more than they can chew. We just finished episode 5, so I'm hoping this is just first season kinks. Hope springs eternal.

And what is there to say about Avatar? It may be the perfect tv program. Bennett even has his own hand sign for it. He walks up, makes the sign and points to the computer room. Do you think a stuffed Apa exists? (pauses to google that - why, yes, they do!)

Speaking of spiritual stuff, I sang in chapel with the choir today for the first time. How boring is the Anglican service? Snoozefest. Some of it is really beautiful. I really like the priest, he is sincere and smart and has a wonderful speaking voice. But why must Anglicans be so serious and formal all time? And why do the readers sound like they're reading a dry academic tome? Especially when reading about shouting for joy at the wonders God has made! It was the first time in.... I can't even remember, that I attended a non-Orthodox service. Of course, it's been a long time since I went to church period. I realized sitting there today that I can't even 'translate' the creeds anymore. I am not 'over' Christianity, not by a long shot, but I am certainly no Christian anymore.
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Today is a good day. A really good day. One in which I feel settled into my own bones and brain. In spite of being tired and feeling the twinge of a sore throat, in spite of everything, it's a good day.

The wi-fi cafe was nice and I chatted a bit with the woman who owns it. She has a beautiful 9 week old son. I cannot imagine birthing a child and a business at the same time! She seems like some one that Adam and I would enjoy getting to know. We're going to meet up at the Monday breastfeeding group. Neat!

I wrote. My adviser likes my ideas and is encouraging. So far, I have found the faculty here welcoming, friendly, laid-back and encouraging. More so than at any school I've ever attended (save the music department at Shoreline Community College).

Last night's choir practice was SO MUCH BETTER than last week. The people who sucked didn't come back. I don't mean that to be awful, but there was one girl in the soprano section who literally could not carry a tune. However, this also means there is one man. Sigh. This afternoon, on my way to meet my adviser, I ran into the choir director. He's also a professor in the theology department. He told me I had a lovely voice and that he wants me to sing the solo at the carols service in December. Neat!

I can home from all of this to find Adam putting together our chests of drawers. YAY! Oh, I so can't wait to pack away the suitcases! These are cheaply constructed pieces of crap, but hell. The store delivered them to our door. Next week we get the couch (it comes with a free matching chair!) - I hope it's comfortable. Also, in other happy Adam news, he has a job! In Canada! Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] keypike, to whom I will make sweet, sweet love if I ever meet her in person! This is a HUGE RELIEF.

And to top it all off. The weather this evening is amazing: massive dark grey clouds, intermittent pounding rain, and shots of bright sun. I could not be more pleased with this day.

Tonight I am making hot brown rice salad and tomorrow I am sleeping in.
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I went to the Freshers' Fayre today to check out what clubs the uni has. I joined the music club - it's geared toward classical musicians and people who play instruments. I met the founder at choir practice last night.* I noticed the uni has several re-enactment type of groups, battle groups, a war games group, etc. Again, this is a nerd's paradise. But there is also a pole dancing fitness club (insert massive eye roll here).

The women's society stopped me. Oh cool, I thought. I asked if this was the local feminist group. Oh, we're not feminists, they said. To which I replied, well, why would I want to join a women's group that wasn't feminist? One girl said that if by feminist I meant they worked for equality, then yes, they were. And the other said but they weren't radical or extremist or anything. I wish I had replied what came to mind: too bad, I am.

It chaps my hide something awful when women -especially the president of the women's society- won't call themselves feminist and can't see that they've swallowed the poison of mainstream patriarchy, which equates feminism with stupid stereotypes of "radical," hairy men-hating lesbians. Or that "equality" is the only thing women should aim for. ARGH. I'm thinking I should join their group and go to meetings and stir shit up.

*St. David's Chapel, the uni's Church of Wales post. It's a nice small chapel. I was not in best form having not sung since B was born and recovering from a cold. I would say right now it's about where my abilities are at, but that won't last for long. Eesh. The choir learns their parts by the director hitting a tuning fork and singing our parts to us, which we then sing back. This is problematic when the sopranos can't make a leap. Ay yi yi. I'm not so keen on attending boring ol' Church of Wales services every week. But, we shall see.
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This opera seems to be on everyone's list of favorites and now I know why! I was very familiar with the music from Act One, but the entire opera is filled with beautiful music and wonderfully lyric arias. While the songs are rich, the entire opera is character driven and the accompaniment never overwhelms the singing, nor do the ensemble pieces ever intrude on the characters. I love the ensemble music, but I almost feel as though Verdi included them because he felt he had to.

This particular production was pretty but also annoying. In the first act all the women are dressed in white (representing innocence perhaps?). The dresses were gorgeous but all blended in together. Even from the back of the hall I could hear the beads on the dresses moving about. The same thing occurred in the second act, when all the women are dressed in black. I wish there was variation so I could appreciate the exquisite costumes. The second act had one awkward and long scene change. I disliked the black and purple and stupid spider web theme. It was ugly and heavy handed. Plus, the dancing was weird. Don't try to do the charleston to symphonic music.

The singing was superb. Anna Netrebko was excellent. In the standing room line a lady said that Ms. Netrebko had gotten fat. Actually, she had a baby 9 months ago! I thought she looked gorgeous (as usual), but yes, she did have the tell-tale stomach pooch. I recognize it and felt more than a little vindicated that I am not the only one who still has The Pooch. Figure aside, her voice was huge, her acting excellent, and she was a delight to hear in this role. The adorable man next to me (78 years old! Telling me stories of seeing the opera in 1942!) kept gushing about her during applause. I liked her very much, but at one point I felt like leaning over to him and saying "Yes, but she's no Ruth Ann Swenson."

The lead gentlemen, Charles Castronovo and Dwayne Croft, were also excellent. Castronovo was muted in comparison to Netrebko, but his voice was creamy and sounded easy and grounded. Croft's voice was excellent, despite the announcement at the beginning that he was recovering from a sinus infection and he asked for our patience. My immediate reactions upon hearing him sing was "Yeah right!" and that he had broken the only rule of Feast Bay - no excuses!
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If you've not seen this clip from Britain's Got Talent, please watch it right now. It's amazing. To see expressions on the jaded judges' and audience members' faces.... to see and hear unadulterated authenticity and talent... completely refreshing and quite moving.

Go Susan Boyle!
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From [livejournal.com profile] miss_swamp:

1. You value book smarts, have a big vocabulary, and are working on a PhD. Surely you must have a cultural dirty little secret, something you enjoy but don't always mention in polite company? Did you at least read Sweet Valley High back in the day? Oh heavens, I hope I don't come across as overly brainy. I was the epitome of frivolous girliness in junior high. Yup, read Sweet Valley High books. I cringe at admitting this, but for two years I this THING for New Kids on the Block. I don't think I'd just mention that openly, but my love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer is open knowledge. I love all sorts of "non-brainy" things!

2. What made you go car-free, and is there anything you could imagine changing your mind? I'm car free because I didn't own one when I moved here (my girlfriend at the time owned the car) and I didn't really need one in the Bay Area, nor was it practical. Adam sold his car a few months after we started dating because the permit baloney was a pain. At this point not having a car saves us a ton of money and hassle. Our neighborhood isn't safe for car windows. And we get so much more exercise with out one!

Would we change our minds? Sure, it all depends on if we truly need one (living in a much colder place would necessitate one) and if we could afford one. However, we are committed to not commuting and not owning one if we don't absolutely have to.

3. You've referred to your checkered past, including at least one LTR with a woman. Does bisexuality still play any role in your life? It's always weird to see myself referred to as bisexual. I'll take it, although I prefer queer, because bisexual refers to a polarity of two and I am down with trans and all things in between. That said, if some one called me out as completely heteronormative, well, it'd be hard to argue: I'm married to a bio man and we have a kid and plan to have more. At this point, my queerness is all in theory, I guess. Although, every now and again, like at least once a month, wow do I miss the ladies. BIG TIME.

4. Your description of your night at Chez Panisse made me drool, and you've mentioned other meals that sounded pretty good. What would a perfect dinner party look like: food, location, company? First off, I wouldn't be throwing it! It's really hard to pin this down. I've had or attended so many amazing dinner parties.... and you know, every single one of them has been in Juneau. I think at least 8 people, in a place with a big enough table for us all to sit comfortably, real plates and silverware and wine glasses (nothing plastic), fabric napkins etc. Lots of wine (every one brings one, possibly assigned a course/dish to pair with), and multi-coursed. My favorite dinner parties have been when the work is split up among people - each person or pair of people is responsible for a course, that way no one person is stuck with the work or expense and people can go all out on their one dish.

If I could warp space and time I'd love to get several of my LJ friends together for a big ol' dinner party. So many can cook! So many are opinionated! We'd just have to have some reliable babysitting as well.

5. What vocal performance are you most proud of? This is really hard. I think my single most proud musical performance would actually be the first high school musical I was director of: 42nd Street. Yikes, that was almost 10 years ago. Eep. I had offered to help out and was given the role of Vocal Director, which meant I had to reduce the choral parts from 8 part to 4 part, teach all the chorus, give lessons to the leads, liaison with the conductor, and help the choreographer and director stage the musical numbers. It was trial by fire and I was SO proud of my efforts and the production.

As for my singing, I think the last time I auditioned was a real turning point for me (http://ewigweibliche.livejournal.com/2007/05/14/). I normally have anxiety attacks while auditioning (stupid, stupid brain!) and this did not occur. I ended up making it into the second round (of two!) but not making the final cut. That I was considered for such a choral group as the San Franscisco Symphony Chorus makes me proud. Of course, that was a year and a half ago. I'm sad that I'll most likely leave the Bay Area not having sung with such a group. One of my goals in living here was to sing with a high level group and that just hasn't happened.
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On Tuesday night I went to see Mozart's Idomeneo at the San Francisco Opera. I went with The Opera Tattler for standing room. I just love going to the opera; I get so excited when the conductor walks in the for the first time. Mozart is my favorite so I knew I would love the opera. Without fail there was a love triangle and mistaken identity. It was sufficiently ridiculous, although not quite as absurd and soap opera-like as his later operas.

The production was delightful to look at. Again, appropriately silly: Greek ruins, with costumes that were late 18th century with Greek themed embroidery or togas over the top. The color scheme was an invigorating shade of turquoise. Act II ended with a deep shade of red and 4 angry horse heads rising up from the sea (on a scrim).

The singing was for the most part absolutely wonderful. Kurt Streit played Idomeneo. His voice was beautiful and dramatically raw in some places. I thought his acting was the best of the show. It's hard to be a good opera actor. The main soprano of the work, Ilia, played by Genia Kuhmeier, was beautifully sung. Her aria in the second act, in which she sings to Idomeneo, was moving - in part because of Streit's acting, even though he didn't sing a note.

The love interest, Idomeneo's son, Idamente, played by the cover in this performance, Daniela Mack, was not too good. Her voice is unsuited for Mozart, mainly due to a rather heavy vibrato. Her acting looked stock and stiff from the back of the house. However, just before Act II a couple approached the Tattler and me and said they weren't going to stay, would we like their seats in the second row? Yes, we would indeed! Sitting there, I realized that I liked Mack more. Her face was charming. However, in a large opera house her acting needs to be more physical to translate beyond the first few rows.

I just love pants roles. Through out the operas that have them I like to switch my thinking to imagining that it's really a lesbian couple. That is much fun.

The chorus must also be mentioned. Mozart wrote some beautiful chorus pieces for this opera. Turns out I knew and have sung a piece from the third act, "Placido e il mar," in my high school chorus. No wonder I can still remember the piece! I may even have the sheet music still. Anyway, the chorus was great. I especially loved the men's chorus in the first act - the echo effect was expertly written. But it's Mozart, so why am I surprised?

The last thing I'll mention is that the motifs and orchestration used for Elettra's character prefigure the Queen of the Night in Mozart's later Die Zauberflote. At least, I think they do.
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Last year the Future Gov and I recorded some vocals for rap song that a friend of ours produced. You can hear the song here. Click on the track "We Rock." You'll hear our breathy hoo hoos in the back ground. It's um.... a rather boring song, I think. But still! I'm singing on a rap song, yo.
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Spring is on in full force here in the Bay Area. I barely seem to leave my couch these days. Sadly, walking is starting to make me ache in areas seemingly unrelated to my legs. I'm just so damn tired all the damn time. I really really want to indulge myself in the energy that I feel when I wake up to birds chirping and fresh, bright sunshine in the morning. I think I'm starting to get a (very small) surge of new energy thanks to spring. I have an itch to read the books piled up on the coffee table, to get out of the house, to finish some house hold projects. Still not feeling quite as motivated to sing or study, but I know that will come. (I actually dreamed last night of performing in an opera - which was really more like a musical - one I hadn't rehearsed for. But my improv worked and I sounded great. A decided subconscious shift from trying to sing only to find enormous wads of gum clogging up my mouth.)

I think part of me might also be entering the Nesting Phase of pregnancy. Some women seem to get this from the start. I'm not surprised it's taken me 2/3 of my pregnancy to get here. All of a sudden I realize that I have 11 weeks left - 11 weeks to prepare. Now's the time to read all the books I want to read, finish moving into our apartment (hang the stinkin' art!), wash the floors, get those side tables we've talked about, purchase the baby needs, etc. Now should also be the time to get cracking on the dissertation outline. But I've just given up for the time being. I'll do it. But I know if I hound myself I'll have an anxiety fueled crying jag. Ah, hormones.

The arrival of spring and the looking ahead to July also makes me a bit sad. Summer is coming and I won't be making my yearly pilgrimage back to SE Alaska. This year, around the 3rd and 4th of July I will not only be wondering if the Pea is immanent, but I'll also be sad that I'm not in Juneau. No long 18 hour days, no hikes in the rain forest, no whale watching off mum and dad's deck, no fishing, no foraging beach lettuce, no communing with the mountains or the sea, no seeing the friends I see for maybe one or two days a year. I'm sure once the babe is here I won't be thinking of this. July will be a blur of bonding and boobs and poop and baby.
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On the inside I am a four year old. I wonder if I was stifled as a child. Maybe I didn't get to throw temper tantrums (I was not allowed. That did not fly with my mother) and maybe I wanted to. Maybe I was tired of always being smart and capable (yes, this was definitely true in some circumstances, for instance, dealing with nightmares). All I know is that more and more lately, when I get rundown, I revert to a child. "I don wannaaaaaaa!" I wail.

Like this morning, standing in front of the fridge, hungry and needing to eat some protein. I don wanna! I don't want to eat. Don't want cheese. Pout. Or peanut butter. Pout. Don't want to wear a bra or talk to anyone or floss or do the dishes, etc etc ad infinitum. Holy whoa, people.

Last weekend it dawned on me that I might be a little depressed. Rundown. Exhausted. Yes, February was tiring, but a week plus after wrapping up all of my obligations, I still find myself angry at the thought of any obligation, tired, and completely uninterested in anything that I am normally fascinated by. Theology, reading, my latest issue of Bitch, singing, even listening to music, going outside, yoga, cooking - if I liked it before, chances are I don't want to have anything to do with it. Give me ice cream and reality television. WTF?

After much crying and pouting and some comfort from Adam, I have decided that perhaps I need to do nothing. Like, really. Not do anything. That's been my work for this week. And it's so uncomfortable. I wake up with panic thoughts and lists of things I Should Be Doing. I have ongoing arguments with myself over the Should word. I've tried to temper some of this with the provision that when I am at work I can take care of some personal and domestic items. My job will be the container for things that really do need to get done - I can take five minutes to pay bills, for example, or deal with my landlandy, things that like that. Once I get home, all bets are off. So far, that's seemed to work, but I'm still itchy and feeling like a horrible person for sitting in front of the tv AGAIN for another whole evening.

I'm trying to trust that once I've gotten the break I need, or learned to deal with this monster Should ticker tape in my head, it'll be clear to me that I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.

This is all mildly complicated by the fact that I have been asked to audition for two very good choral groups. My voice teacher knows the conductor of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble and the Oakland Symphony Chorus, and she's asked me to come in. This is AWESOME and couldn't come at a worse time. I know that singing for one or both of these groups is exactly what I want, except that right now I don't want anything. Except for ice cream and tv. I do plan on auditioning, I've just gotta figure out a way to get practicing without throwing myself into an anxiety spiral and Should marathon.

Burn out sucks. But I know that if I just plow through this and Do Stuff I'll never learn to rest, that it'll just build up and I'll really melt down at some point. My hope is that I can weather this deep discomfort and maybe, finally, rid myself of the nasty Should and ongoing lists of perfection in my head and get back to living my life, only happier and with more ease.
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Yesterday I had a voice lesson in the afternoon. My voice teacher has started coming to my house. It's awesome. And because my teacher has no experience with pregnant ladies, she is charging me only $20 for an hour lesson. A steal! Singing while pregnant is a challenge, but so so great. My voice is becoming richer, more velvety, and my midrange is stronger, especially the transition from midrange to lower notes. Part of it is all the hormones making the vocal chords loose and juicy, part of it is I am more fully in my body and can't rely on things the way they were - my brain just has to get out of the way and let what's there out. It's a good thing for sure.

What's very exciting is that I have been given a new song to learn. Handel's Ombra mai fu! I never, ever would have expected to have an opportunity to learn this song. I never thought I'd have the voice for it and I'm just thrilled because it's a great song. You can hear Jennifer Larmore sing the song here, just hit play and look at something else. The video is horrible, but the singing is very nice. I more often sing stuff like this (this is Mozart, and I sing the piece a bit faster than Ms. Popp). I sing no where as beautifully as these ladies, but hopefully you'll be able to hear a difference in the voice types, as well as the range and style of the songs.
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Oh my god, the biggest roll of thunder I have ever heard just happened! I saw a blink of lightning out of the corner of my eye and then massive thunder (I don't come from a thunder and lightning place so I'm sure this was tame for those who do). But the thunder was so loud that it set off car alarms. Cool!

I woke up this morning to sun and no rain, but that ended quickly. It is dreary and grey and wet again. Yay! I love weather and California, even northern California, just doesn't much variance. I am finding this stormy weather awfully fun. Despite my journey via public transport into the city today.

I am going to an orientation at a birthing center to see if I like it and if it's practical for me to birth my baby there, instead of at ol' Kaiser. I'm really looking forward to it. From there I head to my favorite little neighborhood in SF, Cole Valley, to the beautiful home of some friends who are hosting Feast Bay, our arts salon. I can't wait to have something to sing for them. I haven't sung in months, but that is about to change.
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I auditioned today. I'm feeling better - my anxiety meds definitely help and I should have taken them yesterday.

I have many many thoughts on this audition. The first is, it is seriously time to retire my piece. To be frank and honest, I was spotty. It's just not in the best part of my range anymore. Even with some serious warm up. Throw in some nerves and an accompanist that wasn't the best ever and well... it was spotty, to be kind. But, the higher I go the more open and full and delicious it sounded. Good personal feedback for myself.

Dancing-wise I did just fine. I looked confident.

The company, Opera Frontier, is a seriously much more sophisticated venture than the website, the craigslist ad OR the woman running it let on. I have emailed the woman several times. The craigslist ad asked for an attached resume when writing; since I haven't put a resume together in 6 years I just wrote it all out for her. Then, when she confirmed my audition, I asked if there was anything I needed to know or prepare for the audition other than bring sheet music for the accompanist and wear clothes to move in, she said that was fine. Ha! I get there and she asks if I have a resume, and after my song she asks if I have a second piece prepared. ??? Lady, if you wanted that, you had many opportunities to tell me. Plus, she led the dance audition and my opinion is that she knows what she wants but isn't clear on explaining. She talked us through the routine in detail and then asked if we were ready - except WE, the auditioners, had not danced it through once.

The space was nice and she was very thoughtful about having tea and water available for auditioners. She also had some literature about the company she's founding - but it was all information that would have been very helpful to have posted on the webpage or to send to auditioners. Things like her vision for the company with examples of rep and style, her background, etc.

When I got done with my audition, I noticed the people waiting to audition after me had fucking head shots and shit.

So..... I don't know about this company. On one hand, there will be legitimate choreography and financial backing and solid musicality. On the other hand, the leader of the group obviously isn't so good at communicating her expectations or vision. I'm not sure I want to suffer through that. But I don't even know if I'll get in.

Today I...

Sep. 14th, 2007 10:20 pm
theatokos: (Default)
...finished Sun Tzu's Art of War
...saw Superbad
...read all of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home

I have an audition tomorrow. I don't want to do it. I am not feeling well and I am bored to tears with my audition piece (Mozart's Deh vieni non tardar from the Marriage of Figaro). I realize it's been my audition piece for probably 6 or 8 years. I am overwhelmed and sensitive, and a big chunk of me is hiding, curled up in a ball in the space between the piano and the window. Like the place I used to hide when I was a child because I was the only one small enough to fit. Same piano.

It is these moments when I think that something needs to change. I cannot be overwhelmed like this forever and I am boring myself every time I realize I am exhausted. Some one mentioned today "That seems to be your m.o." Sad, but true. But this fluttery, panicky feeling under the surface takes so much energy to conceal. At this point, though, it takes less energy to conceal than to give in to. I feel like puking, but only on the inside.

It is 10.30 on a Friday night and I shall put myself to bed. Please god, and I will feel better in the morning. More able to face the day that lies ahead.
theatokos: (Default)
The Kabuki Spa was amazing and I think I will make it a monthly ritual, now that my schedule is more flexible. It was relaxing, meditative, and I haven't been so soft and thoroughly clean in ages. From there I wandered around San Francisco. Not my favorite city. Confusing, cramped, dirty, no trees, can never seem to get my directional bearings..... it's just a landscape I am not used to. But many parts are lovely. Like Cole Valley, where Adam and I are house sitting. Quiet, green, comfortable. Clearly the homes here cost a lot, but it's not a super chi-chi part of town. I wish I could live in a neighborhood like this. Just, not in SF.

Our friends' home is amazing and I've been hanging out in their breakfast nook reading and soaking up the daylight filtered through the big tree near the window. Have been stuffing myself silly. Dreamt of food last night. Dreamt also about a running into a choral group on my way to see Padraig in Belfast. Their singing made me sob and I woke up feeling as if I don't start singing somewhere soon I will die.

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