Thursday, December 7, 2006

today in procrastination

Thanks to this roommate I have discovered the wonders of the google homepage. And I spent an embarrassing amount of time this morning adding little gadgets to mine and organizing them onto tabs. Clearly I should have been a tax lawyer as well, because I am so. fucking. anal. Since this other roommate failed us in the dog department, I now have to resort to fantasizing about owning adorable dogs I see on the internet and wishing I had the time and money to own one. Realistically, I am never home, and owning a dog would be ridiculous. I also like kitties, but have too many severely allergic people in my life, so that would never work. Also, what if I ended up with an evil one like some people's cats? Anyway, all this is to justify the fact that I put something called "the daily puppy" on my google homepage. I love me some daily puppy. Sue me.

In a more intellectual moment of my day, I discovered this fantastic segment of NPR's "This I Believe," by Joan Tower. I had the occasion to meet her a few years ago when I was in college. A number of women composers visited the conservatory (this one, for those of you who are curious) as part of a week-long series of programs, masterclasses, recitals, etc featuring music composed by women. Anyway, I performed every day that week and loved every minute of it. I had bronchitis, too. So I was hacking and wheezing and playing my flute for hours every day and LOVED IT. The best part of the week for me was meeting Joan Tower. I was playing this funny little piece of hers called "Valentine Trills" that is something like a minute and a half long and consists of lots of fast notes and yes, TRILLING. (Incidentally, when she was being introduced - or introducing herself, I can't remember - at the recital featuring her works, she/the introducer said that she would like to "disown" one of the pieces on tonight's program. A particularly jerky member of the conservatory faculty who will remain nameless as this is the internet told me it was probably the one I was playing, given that it was so silly, and in retrospect it probably was, but what kind of an asshole points that out to a 20 year old flutist about to perform a piece of music in front of a recital hall full of people, including the composer of the piece? Asshole.) So the performance was fine, all 90 seconds of it, but what was really fun was when I got to play "Valentine Trills" for Tower in a coaching. I played through the piece, and she said, "you know, it sounded fine, but why don't you play it again." I played it again. "Yeah, you got all those notes." (as I did get all the notes - I was pretty awesome at that kind of thing in college) ... "What do you say we go get something to eat?" (So as I write this it's becoming increasingly clear that she just didn't like this piece, but I'll continue.) So we walked across campus and got some french fries and sat and chatted over them. She was kind of a spaz and kept getting ketchup on herself, but her enthusiasm for music - writing music, playing music, reading about music, watching music be performed... was completely infectious. And that was something that was easy for me to lose track of at said conservatory from time to time. It was easy to get bogged down in the "I have to practice for four hours today and oh shit I have a paper due on Tuesday and a lesson tomorrow and I'm going to sound like crap and get yelled at by the raving bitch that conducts the orchestra" and completely forget that music is something FUN and beautiful and nourishing and that I was participating, and continuing to participate in it because I love it, and I benefit from it - spiritually, intellectually, socially ... I could go on and on. And clearly I am because that was the longest run-on sentence ever written. And Tower's "This I Believe" essay really demonstrates the same honesty and enthusiasm that I was so captivated by when I met her. Everyone I know should go read it. Here. Do it now.

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