Whirl Wind

Gods its been a while. Where to start?

Last semester was fantastic! I got to have music that I wrote performed publicly for the first time, and everyone (seemed to) love them! Best feeling in the world!

The holidays are always a kind of rough time, but they themselves went well enough. I enjoyed spending time with friends and family and got some really awesome shirts. They’re kinda like “men’s” dress shirts but shaped for a “female” body, complete with extra buttons to keep the shirt from puckering(?) around the chest.

And they come in flannel! For some reason I’ve found wearing flannel to be super affirming. I just love how I look and feel!

Then there was January. I hate January. All the cheer and excitement of the winter holidays is over and it’s just dark and cold.

January is when my father was dying. And even 22 years later, it still hurts. It will probably always hurt.

But I realized I’m not mourning him anymore. I was able to talk to Wakana about it completely dry-eyed… until I got to the impact it had on my relationship with my mother. Then I started crying.

Mom and I still don’t verbally acknowledge what time of year it is. There’s that kinda glance that we both know, an unspoken agreement not to talk about it. It makes me sad.

But we’ve come a long way and for that I’m incredibly grateful. She’s more and more of a friend, someone I can … maybe not quite confide in, but definitely talk to about things that are important to me. And she’s super supportive about the composing.

Speaking of, when I said “composing would be living” I was right! I’m absolutely loving it!

I used to watch movies and point to the credits when they list the composer and orchestrators and say “that’ll be me someday!” I thought it was a pipe dream, just a fun thing to imagine while working toward a “safe,” “stable” career.

Then the opportunity came to compose for an independent short film. It’s a shit ton of work for a student director under a tight deadline and it’s unpaid. I’ve never formally studied anything about composing for film, I’m just kinda making shit up as I go…

… and I’m loving every minute of it! It’s challenging and rewarding and so far the techniques I’ve been trying seem to work. (They’re probably not the most efficient, but hey, I’m learning!) I’m more confident than I think I’ve ever been about anything that I can make this score awesome. And it’s gonna be shown at film festivals, possibly internationally. People will hear my music! They’ll see my name in the credits! It could be the start of my dream career!

And you know what, even if it’s not, it’s a great experience. I’m turning out music faster than I thought possible. I’m almost constantly being inspired. I’m choosing my job over other potential activities because I genuinely enjoy it more.

And even as I’ve been sick with a horrible cold, I have my world-ending coughing fit and then pick up right where I’d left off composing. Honestly with all the classes and socialization I’ve missed, and just the distress of coughing so much and so hard (it’s physically forced me to start crying), I think this project is what’s been keeping me going. It’s something meaningful that I can do in bed between naps and feeling miserable.

It’s also teaching me to be less of a perfectionist because I’m writing for a client. He needs to like the music in order for it to be included in the film. So there’s not really much point to me making a piece perfect before sending it to him, just to risk him saying it doesn’t fit with his vision or whatever. It gives me permission to jot down ideas, try to express them clearly (damn notation is hard!), and get them to him asap. That makes it more of an open, collaborative process that enriches both our understanding of the film and our respective arts.

His last couple bits of feedback made my heart sing! It’s wonderful!

Terminated

(for some reason my brain wants to go “pew pew!!!“)

I’ve been “in crunch time” for my current composition project for a couple weeks now. During Thanksgiving week I accepted 3 articles for the entrepreneurial project (EP) and ended up spending Mon-Wed writing them instead of composing. Then I spent 3 days straight with family – and when I wasn’t with family I was too exhausted to do anything. I didn’t fully explain all of this to the Editor in Chief (EiC), etc. when I said I couldn’t take a 4th article – twice – but I kinda feel like I shouldn’t’ve had to.

What I did do was talk to my friend / the CEO, who told me to talk to the EiC, who proceeded to ignore the message I sent her saying I couldn’t write 3 articles about frankly stupid topics every week because I need to focus on composing. (All unpaid, by the way. If this were a paid gig I would’ve handled it differently.) Last week I flat-out said “no.” This week I accepted the articles but realized I wouldn’t be able to meet the deadlines, so I said “I’m sorry I can’t do these.” Well to be honest I think I should’ve also resigned at that point in time but I dunno, I’ve been feeling ambivalent about this for months now…

They made the decision for me. In the form of an email notifying me I’d been “terminated.” No explanation, and there was certainly no discussion – at least not with me. I was upset for a while, but then I told a friend who was like “wait a minute: you were terminated from a volunteer position that wasn’t even what you wanted to do?” I laughed. And I will be laughing still, in the end… except that something about it is still bothering me.

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