Search

This has been a banner year, and I can't even talk about half the incredible things that have happened to me. You'll have to wait for the novel to hear about those.


The things I can talk about: Went to Turkey, got engaged, got vaccinated, saw my little ensemble blossom into a known entity in the Atlanta arts community, road-tripped across the entire country with my dog, played on stage again for the first time since early 2020, had one of the greatest professional experiences of my life (and I can't talk about it yet! ARGH!), got married, got LASIK, didn't get COVID. (These events are ranked more or less chronologically, not in order of importance.)


Outside, the world is still simultaneously on fire and underwater, but in my own quiet little corner life is pretty swell.


I refuse to feel bad about celebrating my milestones. Traumatic one-upsmanship is so passé.


Recently I finished David Sedaris's latest collection of diary entries. Now every time something mildly noteworthy occurs I think of how he would write about it. Today I found a mess of empty potato chip bags littered around the park. Because Sedaris picks up trash as a hobby, I thought about picking them up and throwing them in the trash. But then I didn't, because I'm both a garbage person and NOT a garbageperson.


I don't believe in New Year's resolutions but if I did I would resolve to write in this thing more. Ha! We've all heard that one before. See you in eleven months.

This pandemic has forced me to prioritize my career goals in ways I wouldn't have had to confront when I was hamster-wheeling in my former performer-for-hire life. What would I be doing even if I weren't making money doing it? How do I channel my visions for an equitable, just society using my platform in the arts? How much of my personal resources am I willing to invest to make this happen?


I've never been good at self-promotion. It is one of my biggest shortcomings, and possibly the primary reason I'm not more successful by conventional financial standards. Talking about my accomplishments always felt to me like bragging. In my experience, the people who hype themselves up the most have generally the least amount of goods to back them up. (Not always! But often.)


That's why my dedication to making ensemble vim a success feels so natural; it's not about me. There is a real need in the Atlanta community for intersectional artistic output. Unity has always been our mission, and all the synonymous buzzwords surrounding it like worker drones around the queen bee: Togetherness. Collaboration. Cross-discipline. When the arts combine forces, amazing things can happen.

That's how long, almost to the day, it's been since my last post. Where has this quarantine gone? (Don't answer that. It's not a good answer.) Reading my last entry, it's startling how much/little things have changed. I bragged about finally getting on board the Alison Roman bandwagon a month before she said some dumb stuff and was momentarily canceled. (Has she been un-canceled? Jury's still out.)


Immediately after said cancelation, the world experienced a resurgence of the powerful social earthquake that is the BLM movement. This time it was longer and more sustained, with lasting aftershocks, reckonings from every corner of every industry, calls for awareness and accountability. I hope this earthquake doesn't subside until every inch of this scorched earth on which our country was founded is razed and redistributed equitably. I'm also too much of a realist to pin too many visions on hope. This is a fundamental failing on my part, but also on the part of a country that has disappointed me too many times to the point where I dare no longer hope.


I'm now on Day 194 of my Duolingo streak. The jury is likewise inconclusive on whether or not I have in fact gotten better at French.


Life in my little corner improved significantly on August 1, when we brought home the new love of our life, Oscar the goldendoodle. I'll spare you the goopy details and photos because that's what Instagram is for, but he is calm and loving and brilliant and perfect. He is napping at my feet as I type this. The morning sky undims from hazy ink to lazy gray. A film of lukewarm coffee on my tongue, bitter and earthy, the taste of home and untapped creative potential.


Our new routine, humdrum yet comforting in its predictability, revolves around Oscar's micturition and defecation habits. Each morning before he leaves for work, Mike takes him for a morning poop/pee walk, followed by coffee/cuddles. I get up an hour later and feed him breakfast in his Kong in his crate, which gives me enough time to brush my teeth/wash my face/put on sweats and take him to the park. He plays with the neighborhood dogs for an hour each morning, and that knocks him out for the rest of the morning so I can work in peace until lunch. Then another short walk, Kong lunch in the crate (sometimes accompanied with a bully stick, other assorted chew toys, and a looped recording of our voices on occasions when I need to leave the house for a few hours), evening park play date, dinner, pre-bed poop/pee walk. A truly charmed life.


Musically, I have been involved in the Atlanta Opera's upcoming production of the Kaiser of Atlantis, an outdoor, socially-distanced telling of the tale of an egomaniacal dictator who plunges his subjects into a hellscape of pain and war from which they cannot escape, not even by dying. Innocence is lost. Artists suffer.


A little too on the nose? It's interesting that the performances will be on either side of the November 3 election, so we will see in real time whether life imitates art, in either direction--whether we experience redemption and solace from our suffering or if we are plunged into four more years of darkness and loss.


Brighter side--and always end on a brighter side, like the ever-lightening day, now the color of a dishwater latte--I am so happy to be making music again. As long as I bury my head in my work, which in this case is the proverbial sand and I am the ostrich, I will get through this in one piece. Maybe I'll be a little dustier, maybe desperate for some fresh air and water, but I'll be intact.