Sunday, December 8, 2013

life, death and art

The countdown to the final day is in full swing.

Monday: I spent much of the day decompressing from the trip to Elsipogtog. Turns out, Laura and I had gone at the right time, as the protesters had another confrontation with SWN and the RCMP. This one wasn't as major as the one that grabbed headlines in October, thankfully.

I also had another meltdown related to what I've been going through this semester. I could feel it bubbling just under the surface after I read the thing that triggered said meltdown that morning. I waited until late that afternoon before talking with Jake and Alex about it--and crying. And Chris (another tech) now knows some of what I've been going through this semester. This time of year is busy for everyone, techs included, so I'm really thankful that they managed to find time to comfort me.

Tuesday: I had another appointment with Joan--my last for this semester. And I discussed the events of the previous day with her (it was one of those times where, yes, I had an appointment the next day--but I needed to talk with someone right then).

That day Mom told me that she wanted some of my photos from Elsipogtog for the Christmas newsletter. She also wondered why some people are pro-fracking, which I happily researched (see here and here).

Wednesday: Crit Day. I did really well and I'm proud of what I've accomplished this semester. To paraphrase Neil Gaiman: going through a hell that keeps recurring? Make good art. I'm going to deviate from talking about the crit to share this passage from that address with you guys because it's so awesome: "Fourthly, I hope you'll make mistakes. If you're making mistakes, it means you're out there doing something. And the mistakes in themselves can be useful. I once misspelled Caroline, in a letter, transposing the A and the O, and I thought, 'Coraline looks like a real name...'

"And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer[!!!], a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that's unique. You have the ability to make art.

"And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that's been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.

"Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

"Make good art.

"I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

"Make it on the good days too."

And now, back to the blog post.

While my crit went well, I had to rewrite part of the contextualizing statement. I was okay with that, though I'd planned to be done with the thing: once I'd gotten the final draft down to seven hundred and fifty words and was happy with it, I planned to never touch it again. Turns out, I had to dig it back out after all. I spent the afternoon rewriting the statement during the open studio.

Mom had told me that she and Tom were going to work on the annual Christmas newsletter the next day, so I chose photos from the Elsipogtog trip, edited them and wrote a couple hundred words on the experience. I sent everything that night.

Thursday: I worked on the statement and some other things that needed to get done, including getting some Christmas presents. Early that evening, I found out that Nelson Mandela had died and I emailed Mom with the news. She hadn't yet found out. As I was writing this on Saturday night, I was listening to CBC Music's Essential Classics channel and as I was writing about what happened on Thursday, the folks at CBC had Barber's Adagio on. I wanted to include something in this post to honour Mandela, and the Adagio is perfect. Thanks, CBC!

And this, from another wonderful human:

Friday: I didn't get a whole lot done, which I wasn't thrilled about. Though I managed to finish the contextualizing statement. That evening I went to an end-of-semester/birthday/some-classmates-are-done-this-semester-and-are-moving-away party. I was there during the first half of said party, while it was still fairly small and intimate. We played music on the host's (Greg, one of my classmates) turntable and iPad Mini and iPods from a couple of his friends. This was the first record that he put on. Also, I tried blueberry wine for the first time. I liked it and would happily have it again, but I was expecting more of a blueberry taste.

That day, SWN finally backed down. I wish I could go to Elsipogtog again just to give everyone involved with the protest a high five. However, the fight isn't over: SWN will be back. Some sources are saying in '15, others say they don't know when the company will try again.

Saturday: Saturday was the Met's first radio broadcast of the season: Verdi's Rigoletto, which was wonderful as always. I've missed the Met (and their wonderful orchestra, complete with a horn section that could give the BSO's violin section a run for its money when it comes to knocking peoples' socks off), so it was great to hear them again. Here's Questa o quella from act one (the Met's current production is set in Vegas in 1960):

I spent the day getting a bunch of things done.

Sunday: I worked on several things not related to school, including my packing list and a surprise for the techs, as I want to thank them for supporting me through this semester's bumps and scrapes.

Today marks ten years since my worst violin lesson ever. I hadn't practiced all week, and Lynn knew right away. It took her three tries to get me to tell the truth--the first time I don't think I really gave an answer, the second time I probably said something along the lines of "maybe...?," the third I admitted to what I'd done. I'll never forget her telling me that the lesson was a waste of money (hers don't come cheap, but they're so worth it as she's a really good teacher). And I'll never forget the times that I wanted to find a small corner in her house, curl up into a ball and sob--and the times that I came close to tears on the way home. Simply put, I was miserable. For the last few years, I've been suspicious that that lesson was an early sign of what would culminate in me quitting lessons in April 2004. I can't believe it's been ten years.

The next time I write, I'll be enjoying a much-needed and -deserved break at home. And a week after that is Nutcracker weekend for the BSO. Here's a version of the entire ballet that was performed as a concert (you read that right--no dancers were involved in this performance). My god! We're only two weeks away from Nutcracker weekend!!! **squeals**

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