Upheaval

[I wrote this on March 24. I am in a much rosier place mentally now, but I think this message may be worth sharing.]

My husband and I are moving into a new home this week. I have packed up the studio, and have only two more nights in this house which we have been renting for four years. Every move has some sadness in it, even though my last several moves have been for the best. The memories that come up during packing and tearing up a nest are intense. This is the house in which we were married. It is the house I lived in when my biological mother and father, and father-in-law died.

Running across some of my dad’s old things was particularly emotional. My dad loved playing with words. He was a high school English teacher. He wrote books, poems, and several old-fashioned melodramas in rhyming verse. He hoped to get his middle school spelling book picked up by a major publisher, but alas, that did not happen. His briefcase, resume, and cover letters break my heart. Although his dreams of being something more than a rural schoolteacher never quite happened, he was very appreciated by generations of students. He did like teaching, I think.

In preparing for a move, I also run across a lot of my own artifacts, notes, and projects from so many things I have worked on. Many of them also bring up deep feelings. The restlessness, the creative urge going so many directions, the (resignation of?) having a day job that makes me comfortable enough to do the art I want to do, but also gets in the way of the art at times.

There are things I feel good about. For example, I am proud of my book. A snide journal editor gave me some shade about it being “self-published”, but I’m laughing on my way to the bank compared to what I would have gotten from an academic publisher. I haven’t made a lot of money from it, but it is in the black and I didn’t have to get a “GoFundMe” account to put it together.

I also had a good overall experience singing with a local chamber choir for five seasons. I get cranky and annoyed by every ensemble I’m in, at some time or another, but I know I need it psychologically, to not become even more brittle and unaccommodating!

The pandemic has of course been a horrible blow to performing. I think it did an awful lot of damage to an awful lot of artists. But we will move on.

I’m painfully aware that I’m not great at change. At around my age, my father retired young and he and Mom moved to a nice new house in a beautiful part of the country, where he promptly had a heart attack and a bout of depression. When they moved again to a nicer house, their last one together, he freaked out again, worrying, losing weight, and generally being really upset about all the change. Dad, I feel you!

So, as we emerge from our pandemic barricades, as I have been preparing for this move for three months, as I have started to play the bass again, and as my mental and professional lives have transformed, I am very thankful for my spouse, my home, and my good fortune. But I have not felt like writing, and am unsure about saying things about singing with any frequency. This blog may be winding down — hard to say. But I thank you for reading it.

I am working on a book of bass exercises, inspired by the flute exercises of Taffanel, Gaubert, Wye, and Moyse. That is coming together fairly easily. I have a collection of poems that I may also do something with someday, although I might as well set them on fire as far as the market for that goes.

If you enjoy this blog, consider grabbing a copy of Sane Singing: A Guide to Vocal Progress, available in print and ebook!

One Reply to “Upheaval”

  1. Thanks for this one. It’s Real Stuff. I hear you on the self-publishing matter. I’m glad I did it with my own very modest tome. No one can take it away from you. I also hear you on the writing-not-writing blog matter. For me it comes and goes (right now writing with more frequency), but there are times when I want to stop cold. We’ve been living through a time of upheaval; and I’m glad you are navigating it forward with a sense of hope.

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