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In an early post from this blog, dated December 30, 2013 (almost nine years ago to the day), I wrote: "The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of my favorites. Nothing too pressing ever happens in that week. No one ever remembers what they did during that week." The last two sentences remain true. The first could not be more false.

I now find this week unbearable. We are in the dreaded doldrums where productivity is non-existent but you still need to be a somewhat functional human in society. You (and by you I mean "I") busy yourself with household tasks and mindless practicing just to keep the demons at bay, but everyone knows you'd rather be curled up in layers of blankets somewhere binging Emily in Paris even though you're no longer sure whether you're hate-watching or just straight up enjoying it.

But you remain vigilant. You take your dog on long morning walks, soaking up sunlight which is supposed to help your circadian rhythm, never mind the fact that you stay up until well past midnight doom-scrolling on Reddit, the blue light from your phone screen frying your bloodshot eyeballs and inhibiting your melatonin. You refrain from having your first cup of coffee until 90 minutes after you wake up. You stretch (not as much as you should.) You meditate, sometimes. You wonder if you should stop heeding the advice of the attractive neuroscientist/podcaster whom your husband mistrusts because, as he puts it, "No one can be that smart AND that in shape."

You keep repeating the mantra of "You don't rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems" until semantic satiation kicks in and none of it means anything anymore. You think about the numerous projects kicking around in the waiting room of your consciousness, idly flipping through old Highlights magazines while they wait for you to get your act together.

You tell yourself you need to start journaling again. Where does the helpful coping mechanism begin and the productive procrastination end?

You open your laptop and log on to your blog page. You're about to find out.

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.

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