Saturday, November 14, 2009

"I detest audiences, not in their individual components, but, en masse I detest audiences. I think they are a force of evil. The spectator in the arena who regards the musical performance as some sort of athletic event is happily removed from the risk, but he takes some kind of glee in what goes on there. To me, this is heartless, ruthless and senseless. This is, of course, entirely separate from what is really going on, an effort by the performer to form a powerful identification with the music. A performance is not a contest but a love affair."
-Glenn Gould

Friday, November 6, 2009


Photo by RL Valde (my Dad)

This week's chapter of The Joy Diet, "Play" has helped me bring some things into focus. I have been blessed in that I have known what my "real career" is for nearly all of my life. What I do is where I feel at home, where I feel connected and where I feel joy. It has been where I play and it has also been where I work. That has been part of the challenge for me throughout my life, to allow it all to remain play even though it is my job. That hasn't always been easy.

Another great blessing I have enjoyed is the surprise of being a mother. It has been play and it has been an immense joy. For something I had never planned on doing, being a mom has felt so natural. It has the same feeling about it that singing has always had - it is instinctive, I feel called to it, and (most days) it's fun.

All of this is in flux at the moment. My daughter entered middle school this year and as several of you already know- it's a huge change. The rules are all different now and for the first time, I feel unsure of my mothering skills. Some days I'm just one step a head other days I'm two steps behind.

I'm feeling the same way about my performing as well. I won't bore you with the details here. I will just say that until recently, I felt on track. I had switched trains but I was still on track. Now, I'm not sure where I'm going.

I think this what some would call a "midlife crisis." That phraseology seems a little dramatic for my situation. However, everything is changing, my body, my role as a mother, my "career." I have been gathering in, quietly feeling around the edges of all this newness and moving toward what is next without really knowing what that might be. From the outside, I'm sure it looks like I am standing still. I thought I would be settled and rock solid by the time I was this age. I wasn't at all prepared to be in this place so it is a little disconcerting. There is a part of me that wants to get some mind numbing job just to fill the time. But, thanks to a phone call with a great friend (thanks Patricia) and a question Martha Beck poses in this chapter, I know I can't do that.

Martha asks, "what did you do after 9/11?" I, of course, connected with family and friends. But, I remember the two things that seemed crucial to me at the time. 1). loving my daughter and helping her obtain the skills she needs to blossom into the incredible woman I know she will be. 2. bringing comfort to others in the way I had to offer - through my voice. So often I have been told "you have a gift" and I say to myself "yeah, a 'gift' that cost as much as medical school." But, at that time it truly did feel like a gift. I actually had something of value that I could contribute and it felt like a gift.

So, although I'm not sure where I'm going, I know it still somehow involves these two things. This Chapter has been a great reminder to me to stay true to myself and to maintain my sense of play as I go through this transition.

My own little place to explore my creativity and imagination