This is the majestic creation that Andrew made for our dinner. I could smell it cooking for half of the afternoon, and I am so thankful that we bought our winter cookbook, now referred to as “Sunday night dinners.”
I took a day off. I was feeling something towards unwell yesterday afternoon before we went out to the ceilidh last night, but definitely unwell after it. A mixture of things, perhaps. The wine, the winter, the winding and unwinding of days along the busy movement of my weeks weaving. I am definitely exhausted, and March will be a busy month. I think taking a day to move between sleep and soup and books and rest is the best decision I’ve made recently. And my husband is expert at taking care of me, so reclaiming a day when he’s home as well is renewing for the soul.
Last night, I told Neil (the music director for my new show: Songs For a New World) that I think Michael has finally cracked how to offer me solos at St. Giles: with a lot of advanced notice, and by playing it out for me on the piano so I can hear it. He did it subtly last week, but it worked. I joked with Neil that I get too nervous to be able to do it well on the spot, and that my sight-reading is first to go out the window. But in saying that, I got nervous again: I don’t want Neil to think I’m a weak musician. I’ve worked hard to be where I am, even if I’m still towards the bottom of the St. Giles heap, both in terms of talent and experience. I felt the need to defend my worth.
Upon reflection, today has brought a mapping of my musical life, which is revealing. I know being in this show is going to be an unpacking for something in me, an unfolding, and I feel like it’s already started falling open.
I started singing for fun, before I knew what I could do with it. I kept singing because someone told me I was good at it. Then, I wanted to learn everything I could. Courage was contagious. Someone told me I could go for something bigger, something more. I auditioned for Regions and All-State because I wanted that passion to belong somewhere. I hit the ground running, learning everything I could about music, sight-reading, how notes and sounds fell in my body. I was sharp with enthusiasm. It was all a code and I wanted to know as much of it as possible. It always started with someone else giving me the confidence, the stepping stone. Molly Gilman – Regions. Miles Klee – All-State. Ben Jacoby – All-Eastern. In a funny way, the girl who was my biggest competition was my influence for musicals. She got all of the parts. All of the time. I was always a distant second-place. Yet, she still felt the need to compete with me, and if that’s true then it meant there must have been some kind of talent there that could challenge hers, even if I didn’t see it yet. Stephane – acting. Eric – St. Giles. Jeremy, my college voice teacher – singing. How it fits in my chest, how I need to let it expand and contract. How my soul and being will expand and contract with it, which gives the art its form and meaning and depth. Gabe gave me someone to show it to; offering up what little we could hold in our hands, and our arms, what little we could share and pour into another’s heart. Caroline brought me to Green Room, gave me the nudge I needed to find the faith to go all in. Bon Iver taught me how it is possible to hold emotions in the voice. This Sleeping At Last album tells the stories. The tales. Kirsten brought me to poetry before I knew I was a poet, gave me the artist before I knew it was written into my unfolding life. T. – How to live it. How to survive it.
“Music has seven letters. Writing has twenty-six notes.” – Joseph Joubert
Somewhere, the codes have become too much for me – I recognize how easily I could get lost in them, like a labyrinth, like a colluseum. I don’t want to wrap myself up in enigmas and challenge myself to unpack them. I want to stand naked at a window. I want to hike a mountain to breathe against my own lungs, to fight against the wind, which will become me, which will carry away what I give back. A chance to redefine everything we are. I want to be honest and clear and transparent. I want what I present to shimmer with possibilities underlying it, but I want all of the intentions to be of clarity and kindness. I don’t want any more of the manipulations, I don’t want games. I want to participate and I want to collaborate. I want to live with an open heart. I want to be the person to tell myself that I can go for something bigger.
though i tend to write
the epiphany more immediately,
i guess i’m trusting that there’s such a thing
as elegance in dissonance