Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Composer Smorgasbord!

Ug--September's getting away from me and I only have 3 or so blog posts to show for it. I was trying to be a better writer this month! Mostly I've been looking at other people's blogs, like this one.

Oh! But last Friday was amazing. Recently transplanted (from Spokane!) friend, T and I attended an American Composers Forum party at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. Can I just say, wow? We walk in, us two itty-bitty minor composers-to-be, and immediately we see our friend and mentor Elizabeth Alexander. Then, OMG Libby Larsen walks in. Poor Ms. Larsen--we bombard her right away, saying "hi! do you remember us? you came to our college in spokane?" And she just kind of stared at us and smiled (I'm sure our school was a distant memory to her--she travels extensively), and then someone else bombarded her....

Oh, but how I remember 3 years ago, how I walked around our campus with her (Larsen) and we were having a very cool conversation in the student lobby and she seemed genuinely interested in my projects. Sigh!

Then we walked upstairs to plates of gorgeous food and the most composers I've ever seen in one room. It was fun looking at name tags to see what other famous people were there (at least, famous to me). Stephen Paulus, Ann Millikan, Carol Barnett, Abbie Betinis (whom T had met a few weeks ago and introduced me to her---an amazing and prolific composer who's our age)....

I also had a great conversation with an old flute teacher of mine, Julie Johnson, who remembered me from about 10 years ago.

It never really hit me before how many amazing composers live here. And for the most part they all know each other in addition to knowing many music directors and musicians around town. I can't help but be immersed in this music culture here, with all the collective creative energy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Scout

I added another link--Book Scout

Lots of good middle-reader and YA book suggestions.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Just paint...(think later).

I made these cinnamon rolls (with cream cheese frosting!) for the in-laws this past weekend. As I was rolling them out on Saturday night, around midnight, the power flicked off and I was left in the blackness. Because I'm a little afraid of the dark (haven't outgrown that one) I had to wake up K to go into the (scary) basement to grab the flashlight and candles.

Once the candles were lit, I finished my rolls and thought about electricity and how lovely it was to roll out cinnamon and mace-scented dough by candlelight instead of lightbulb.

Which reminded me of this from May Sarton's "Journal of a Solitude" (thanks for the recommendation, Jenna!):

"It is troubling how many people expect applause, recognition, when they have not even begun to learn an art or a craft. Instant success is the order of the day; 'I want it now!' I wonder whether this is not part of our corruption by machines. Machines do things very quickly and outside the natural rhythm of life, and we are indignant if a car doesn't start at the first try. So the few things that we still do, such as cooking, knitting, gardening, anything at all that cannot be hurried, have a very particular value."

I like this idea of the natural rhythm of life. On a related note, another quote from M.S.:

"I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. I am still pursued by a neurosis about work inherited from my father. A day where one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever."

I love that---"Live in the changing light of a room." 

Sometimes I get so plagued by not getting enough things done that I freeze to the spot and am not able to do anything at all. Like this standoff in my mind between the urge to make pretty domestic objects vs. making "art" (I can't say for sure that what I do is "art." It's more like--"activities that keep me entertained"). But I love this quote from another art/craft blog I found today:

"Just paint....(think later)."