Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 31, 2015

Stepped on my cell phone. It works, but the screen is gone, so I work in darkness.
Took my Prius to be restored by handsome hillbilly Dave, was given a dark Camry by the rental people. Amber brought it to my house; she has just graduated with a Communications major from North Greenville College, and doesn’t think she wants to work her way up through the ranks at Enterprise, which she has found disappointing.
My massive Poetry of Ireland in its green shamrocked binding has been my bathroom reading. The notable thing is that almost all the poems crammed onto its almost 700 pages are bad, really, really, bad. So far only J C Mangan has risen above the lot. Even the famous Thomas Moore has his clotted and opaquely allusive work redeemed mostly by their beautiful tunes. One suspects that the mass of poetry at all times was bad– which is to say, it got the form right, but without discovery, without exploration, without much personalization. It seems to me that contemporary poetry has an edge here– that readers no longer accept a poem simply because its structure is recognizable and the path it follows is familiar. Poetry becomes better by being less everyday, by no longer appearing daily in the newspapers, by no longer being broadsided onto city walls. On the other hand, its very lack of familiarity makes it seem difficult and esoteric.  Sometimes it IS difficult and esoteric, or replaces the sloth of needless repetition with the sloth of reflexive innovation.
Washington Places’ recent triumph makes it seem the big news of the year. Let me think on that.
Pain in my right shoulder at times almost unbearable, as well as being idiopathic. On the other hand, I realized yesterday that I had conquered acid reflux.

Afternoon. Bought a doorstop for the door that has been annoying me since moved in; got a new phone-- an Android smartphone, all bells and whistles– from Amanda who is pregnant and won’t be partying tonight; napped memorably with Maud on my feet. I have never felt less valedictory or sum-it-all-up-ish in my life, so, simply, goodbye 2015.  The New Year’s split-pea soup is made. The bourbon punch is cooling in the fridge.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 30, 2015

    MountainXpress picks Washington Place as the best production of the year. JM writes:

In a year of excellence in the WNC theater scene, it is a daunting task to narrow to the top five.

5. An Iliad was a tale as old as time, told in a sparse way on the bare stage of North Carolina Stage Company. Willie Repoley was dynamic as the sole actor on stage, recounting wars waged from ancient Greece to the 21st century. Accompanied by haunting music from lone pianist and composer Jan Powell, this show was stirring and mesmerizing. N.C. Stage’s strong year had many great shows, but the one that stuck with me the most was this partnership production with Immediate Theatre Project.

4. Art was a play I knew quite well, having been in the show myself once. The folks of The Actor’s Center of Asheville had a daunting task ahead of themselves in pleasing me with their production at Asheville Community Theatre’s tiny 35 Below space. Happily, the stellar acting trio of Dan Clancy, Robert Dale Walker and Kevin Patrick Murphy nailed it.

3. Asheville Community Theatre has cracked the code on what it takes to fill houses and grow audiences. This year, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein came alive as a Halloween treat for theatergoers. And despite being a nonprofessional community theater, the company gave us one of the most refined and professional productions of the year.

2. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz closed out Flat Rock Playhouse’s 2015 season with a strong production that is ready for Broadway and Tony Awards. I feel strongly both could be in the company’s future. Flat Rock Playhouse has lived up to its designation as the State Theatre of North Carolina. It’s strong season also included the spectacular Tuskegee Airmen saga, Fly.

1. The Magnetic Theatre produces new works, which can be a daunting task. One show was simply the most moving and inspiring piece of theater I saw all year. It was a tale of the last day of the lives of the ill-fated women who worked in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. It also reminded me of just how wonderfully intimate theater can be. Local author David Hopes’ Washington Place was the best show of 2015.

    Me, astonished and gratified.

    The sky has clouded again with rain. It is not possible.

    DJ and I, drinks at Sovereign Remedies. A derelict asked for money for a drink outside, and I gave it to him. He engaged me in a few minutes of mad derelict talk, and I realized I miss mad derelict talk. I have made things too safe for myself– all in the interest of protecting “my art,” which has scarcely repaid the energy that went into it.

    Insurance inspector comes and approves more money than the estimate asked for, saying that it was underestimated. I shrug and say “fine.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29, 2015

Days since Christmas have been taken up mostly with fussing– insurance for the damage to the car, finally signing the papers for 62– and for a person who hates fussing almost above anything else it has been trying. The insurance inspector already cancelled one appointment, lengthening my sit-here-and-wait time by three hours. “Oh, I forgot I have a meeting in Brevard.” Says I, “Skip the meeting.” Silence on the other end. The damage estimate on my car is north of $1600. I hate fussing so much I actually considered just paying it so no calls had to be made, no appointments cancelled and rescheduled.
I think of myself before our last show, almost weeping with frustration because we had to come 15 minutes early to “rehearse.” It’s not that we didn’t need it, but just that my resentment of being made to do something, of blindly following somebody else’s program, is almost incapable of moderation. I would have made a terrible soldier.
Just-more-than-half moon in the sky when I went to the gym.  Brilliant star in the east. Big old crow waiting in the dogwood when I came home.
The day of repose I think I’ve earned keeps receding into the future.

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

Got out of my car in the Racquet Club parking lot in the dark before morning. Was struck by the voices of the frogs, the cross-backed hylas, in the ponds and ditches thereabout. My heart leapt, though it is a false spring, and perhaps those voices will go silent for a while before the real one comes.

We finished off All Is Calm on Sunday, and not particularly on a high note. We may not have finished well, but we finished, and that is enough. The experience was a net loss for me, in ratio of energy expended to value returned, though I know that our audiences thought quite otherwise–that they were moved and touched–and that is the important thing. Big lunch at a Mexican place afterward. I maneuvered so I could sit by C, and take in his eyes and voice.

Woke to myself screaming in pain as I rolled onto my inflamed shoulder wrong this morning. If I were looking for a title for this year, “The Year of Pain” might be a candidate, except my guess is that here will be tougher contenders on down the line.

I feel weight coming off me. I do not today have to hurry to do anything. Sat in the High 5 and wrote.

December 27, 2015

Turquoise dawn, the moon a pale egg rocking over the trees.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 26, 2015

My lawn is a scatter of pale lilac crocus. On Chestnut Street a cherry is in bloom. Two performances today, two of the last three. The final analysis is that it has been too hard, though maybe a finaler analysis yet is that the show moved many, and in time we will forget how hard it was. Did get me out on the streets at night, watching the happy after-Christmas revelers. Did sit in the café for a while, writing.

December 25, 2015

Mad drive home in constant rain. Like driving underwater. Not one stop, barreling northward. But a successful holiday with family, all good, all bright. My sister has a houseful every year, and I manage to keep up a little with their lives seeing them once a year, or once every couple of years. All the young ones are boys. This makes for a kind of peace. My Christmas was oddly serene this year, even holy, the strangeness of hotel life encouraging me to focus on matters of the spirit. My window faced east, where I watched the sun rise. I felt Christmas-y.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 24, 2015

Awakened on Christmas Eve by thunder and lightning. A great mass of water dives from the sky, all deeply musical, if distressing at this time of year. Are there still Global Warming scoffers? It has hours to clear away before I hit the road.
All Is Calm flawless last night, at least all that issued from my seat.  The house continues to be packed, the money continues to roll in. I am happy for everybody.
Met Z in the back alley by night, and was embraced.
Despite our quarrel, Image puts my “Carol of the Infuriated Hour” on their Facebook post for Christmas.
Very bad night, but I seem to be recovered now. There either is no God or He can put up with a great deal of imprecation.

Hilton’s Embassy Suites in Alpharetta, a gigantic room (by the standards of one whose recent hotel experiences have been Europe and New York) on a boxy atrium, with a big decorated tree on the main floor, and attendants dressed in Santa hats. I am, in an odd sort of way, the way of the explorer, content. Hung out at the North Point Mall for a while, taking in the happy, celebratory faces. The boys have the mannerisms of my nephews. The drive was an endless swim through rain that varied from thin to torrential. Tedious. Dangerous. The car radio crackling with lightning. Early on, the truck in front of me shed a long strip of tread from its tire which flew back and hit my car. When I stopped, I saw that there was substantive damage, the tread having marred the fender and  knocked the front parking light out of its socket. It’s always something. Gave the cheerful Hispanic waitress a tip larger than the bill. Fighting off exhaustion until it is really night. What if there is a gift with my name on it under the tree in the morning?

Talked with a sad woman at the hotel bar– where the drinks were free until 7:30. Her children are ungrateful. Her father just died and the expected inheritance is tied up by Merrill-Lynch and a self-serving sister who is serving as executrix. Her daughter just barred her from seeing her granddaughters Christmas morning.

The oddest thing. I was talking with an old guy in he elevator when I heard myself say, “I don’t know how Santa is going to find me so far from home.” That random thought filled me with such grief and forlornness I have not yet shaken it off.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015

Slept shamefully yesterday, but it was delicious. The performance of All Is Calm was, finally, good enough, the audience large and appreciative. Also, uncharacteristically young. The beautiful young man from Amadeus was looking yet more like Hermes. Tout le monde was at Avenue M afterward. S is downstairs sleeping in the guest room (what a joy to write “guest room”) rather than hauling all the way back to Greenville. Found a way to be in Atlanta on Christmas. It is summer outdoors. We will have to pay for that. I go out and whisper to my garden, “Don’t believe it. It’s a trap.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22, 2015

Lovely breakfast with C, whose life is stunningly more complicated than mine. I have striven for and achieved a kind of simplicity. This is both good and bad, but, in the end, according to my nature. I smiled for hours after leaving him. He said he left Asheville because he was beginning to smell of desperation. I’ve gone through a couple cycles of smelling of desperation, and yet stayed put. Then with DJ to see the new Star Wars, which in terms of achieved artifact is the best of them all. Gorged on, wallowed in the night off. Woke to the news that the music is to be further neutered to accommodate our incompetence. My defenses were down, and I actually shed tears. Will fight this tonight. It is better to fall short than not to try for the noble thing. Why doesn’t the acrobat just dance on the ground? Fed up. Smooth wet morning. I sat in High Five and admired the gentle, handsome men, and wrote.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

Longest night paling to a kind of powder-lilac.

Seven concerts in five days. I recognized why I hate the show. It’s the first time I’ve been associated with factory art– that is to say, art which is meant to stay exactly as it is, to be free of innovation or variation, to be presented as often as possible to as many people as possible as a saleable commodity, wherein the institutional people involved act not as collaborators but as overseers.  I’m not even saying this is bad–it is in fact a producer’s dream–I’m saying I’m not used to it, and need more preparation, and more compensation, before I become used to it. And it needs to be at a time when the Christmas break is not ground away by it. I remember TL back in the Candle Station, painting away for his agent like a handsome machine. And he is dead. But, many familiar faces at the show, including C, home and stinging from what he thought was a bad audition at Chicago’s Irish Rep. Our second try at the Cantaria concert was a hit. Splendid, even, and my irritations went away for the duration. Chocolate cake at Avenue M to follow it up.

What do I want? For things to be proportionate– for X effort to produce X’ effect. Maybe actually what I want is to be lucky.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015

Our Saturday shows were pretty much flawless, vocally, which is a load off, for the moment.  Today is another day. The plan was to meet Mike and Casey after the show and have a get-together at the Vault. Of course they were not there, but having dinner in West Asheville. So, home I went. I’ve crossed the Atlantic to see people who then refused to see me. I don’t understand what a burden a drink or a cup of coffee could be, even if just to keep me from standing miserably alone in the middle of the street.  Two different programs today, All Is Calm and the Cantaria Christmas Concert, round #2.  I will hate each for the sake of the overburden. It is not the right way to live. Each time you think, "Maybe this will be the right deed, the deed that changes everything." But you end up doing it just to have it done. People say “what a great bass voice” and I try to think of that as sufficient. It would be sufficient if everything else weren’t such a howling void.

I think 62 is glad to have a family in it. It’s hung with Christmas lights, something I never did, for lack of an outside plug. Maybe Will put one in.
Sat down at Starbucks with someone I thought was Tom. He smiled. I smiled. I made for the door.
Day paling to a blue like the inside of a shell.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 19, 2015

Morning of multiple leaden despondencies. Sat in the café and let the weight sink upon me for a few minutes, the morning sun in my eyes so tears of frustration could look like a physical response. Nothing is changed but time, and I feel better, and I don’t want to return there to figure it out. An editor who stupidly refuses my work wants a contribution to his magazine. The calm I sought with morning coffee obliterated by a seven foot tall braying jackass. I hate the show and regret with my whole being not only taking it on, but desperately WANTING to, back when it seemed a good idea. Last night I had to cough at the exact instant a solo of mine began, the big intake of breath irritating the throat, and the sound that came out was ungodly. Christmas is obliterated for me, and for what, and how many more do I have left? If we once got it right, maybe I’d feel differently, but since there’s some new calamity every night, it doesn’t seem likely. Two shows today, one show and a Cantaria concert tomorrow. I’d say it’s unendurable, except that I know I’ll end up enduring it. The audience seems to be moved anyway, but I’m sorry it’s despite rather than because of us. No time and no desire to buy or decorate a tree this year. I did squeeze limes and make limeade. That I hold up as my achievement.

Friday, December 18, 2015

December 18, 2015

We did not cover ourselves with glory at the Cantaria concert, the weak place being exactly that place in the intricate “Silent Night” where the ensemble blubs at the theater. Personally I felt I did well, and it was good to have again the support of my brothers around me. Singing solo night after night is exhilarating, but not restful. Even the weakest singer can sometimes guide and correct.
Food at Avenue M afterwards.
Wake recent mornings to dreams of some intricate procedure or accounting process or memorization task that I can’t quite figure out.
Purcell on Pandora.
Inflammation in my shoulder so great I can hardly lift my hand to the keyboard.
Truman play chugging along, smooth and liquid in the way I have come to recognize successes.
Cold this morning, wintery, at long last. I could live in eternal summer, but my garden could not.

December 17, 2015

Last night’s performance was an “almost”– which is to say we cured the big common problem, but then had our baritone soloist simply drop out during “Auld Lang Syne” for reasons unknown. Jack and I had a drink at Southern, catching up on old times.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 16, 2015

Amazed by my own capacity to nap. Ideas pile up like ice in a jammed river.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 15, 2015

Almost afraid to look at the Carolina Curtain Call’s review of All Is Calm, but it is a good one, and probably what the audience in general feels. Relief. I feared “Who was that bass sounding like an injured narwhal?”

Went to the café to see Tom, but he was so merrily engaged with Wind and, I suppose, their script, that I didn’t disturb him, sat outside in the cool sun with my hot chocolate.

Reading Orieux’s biography of Voltaire. There was a familiarity on those pages which I at last realized had to do with my wanting in high school exactly the life the Voltaire wanted: to be known for wit and sophistication, to write wittily and stingingly, to cause a kind of stir when I walked into the room. I suppose we both got that to the degree we actually wanted it. I suppose we both thought our native talents lay in that direction, though I was either wrong or abandoned the path quickly amid the forests of Hiram.

Blazing bright day. Even my flannel shirt is too much if I stand in the sun.

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015

Gentle rain, between blasts of not-so-gentle wind. Rose in the dark to take Stewart’s finally derelict wheelbarrow to another life at a junk store down by the river. Did it before dawn because not sure the junk store wanted it. An outlaw, in my own little way.
Slept magically last night.  Maybe I slept magically because the day’s level of exhaustion was a kind of violence. All Is Calm, where again we snatched mediocrity out of the jaws of excellence. People love my big fat bass, though, and that repairs some of the ruins left by multiple disappointing enterprises. Stopped at Sovereign Remedies for a bit of lunch and wine, a very small lunch which would nevertheless make me very sick during Cantaria rehearsal an hour later. Stomach sick over that, and racked by mini-spasms in muscles all over my body– from perching on the stool? Using the same muscles for singing? Two weeks of idleness? Dehydration? I don’t know, but it was two hours of almost ludicrous misery.    

Ben, the bartender at SS, hails from Philadelphia and seemed to be interested in talking philosophy. Everyone reminds me of somebody these days.
Returned to the Y after many days given over to the complex and exclusionary struggle of the play. Inflammation is no worse after a round of weights, maybe better. Everything else, better.
Almost whimpering with pleasure at the idea of a day with nothing in particular to do.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 13, 2015

Another spring day. Last night the show went well for the first time. Well enough. No outright disaster. It was our official opening night, and there were champagne and amazingly good cake. It was the right night to do well. Food afterwards at Avenue M. The kind bartender at Sovereign Remedies gave me free tea, a delicious dark cardamon.

Inspired to return to my Truman play.

Spike of rage at an email requesting going over “just a few things” before the matinee. The time of rehearsal is done, for better or worse. I am one of those who knows how much energy he has to give to a particular thing, and is finished when he is finished whether the thing is accomplished in the conception of others or not. There will not be an extra rehearsal. We will not come five minutes early, or start five minutes late, so the leader gets to scratch one more time the itch of some anxiety. We will not “drill.”  I leave a full cart in the check-out line when it has gone too slow. Was willing to walk out of the Syracuse Ph.D. program at the last moment, dissertation done, and would have done so, had Sutton not relented on “one more rewrite.” Things have a beginning and an ending, and those who do not acknowledge the ending are as bad as those who never begin. Let us consider the wisdom of enough.

This was my grandmother's birthday. 123 years ago. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 12, 2015

Luxury not to have to go to the theater until evening. We did get a little practice in, which did not prevent us from having, I think, the worst night yet, or at least the most inexcusably bad night, since all the “hard” parts were excised. Kamikaze baritones torpedoed us in harbor. The large crowd which stayed for talk-back did not mention this, so perhaps they didn’t notice it. But I’m sure Charlie did. I’d be surprised if we are asked back next year. One woman said, “Are you the one with the deep voice?” “Yes.” “I wanted the whole time to ask you to sing ‘Old Man River.’” I said, “Wave a dollar in front of me and see what happens.”
The bad singing disheartened me. I went from anxiety to get it right to weariness with the whole thing without any period of excited accomplishment in between.

Hiking back to the car through the lively city, I stopped at Brasilia for a drink at the bar. The bartender, Shu, is a Chinese-American who had never made a hot toddy before. But, enjoyed his conversation. He says he hates to go back to China now because everyone there is a Capitalist obsessed with money. He still laments the Nationalist fall, and recommends Mao as a better poet than people think he was. I recited Pound’s “Bowman of Shu.” He had never heard of Pound, or of any Westerner writing Chinese poetry.
Day of summery mildness. I opened my windows for a while. The camellia is duty red.

Friday, December 11, 2015

December 11, 2015

We dumbed the score down enough that last night was, I think, well enough done. The audience was huge, perhaps a full house. Many familiar faces. I’d had an adventure beforehand. Was hit by some old lady in her van in the Fresh Market parking lot. It knocked me down. I thought she was going to back on over me, but people screamed at her and she stopped. I’d grabbed on to her bumper to pull myself up when she decided to pull forward. That wrenched my arm out of its socket. I stood up, unable to move my right arm. I kept looking at it as though not sure what it was for, hanging at my side like that. A former student (thank God) had watched the whole thing, came over and said, “You arm’s dislocated. I’m an EMT. I’ll fix it if you like.” “Yes,” says I. He grabbed hold and the next instant all I saw was white, and that white was the appearance of the most amazing bolt of pain. I began to throw up from the pain. What a sight all this must have been. But the arm worked and I was able to get to the theater, though people had to help me in and out of my shirt. Achy today, but, then, it was already achy. The bruise on my hip is the real sight. And so it goes.Hobbled home after the show, had a hot toddy at the new Sovereign Remedies.

Went to school to discover I have been given an “equity adjustment” raise, and a pretty hefty one. Most excellent surprise. I didn’t think anyone in the Offices ever thought of me.

Having a bit of fence pulled out to improve the sweep of the yard. My tiny red camellia is blooming.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December 10, 2015

Sold-out house last night. We made the same mistakes in the same places we always do (by “we” I mean the baritones) so after the show C and S made cuts, sheering away the material we just couldn’t seem to get. It was humiliating, but necessary, and takes, for me, the anxiety level down to about a 4.  While The Powers were deciding our fate after the performance, I wandered through the theater and found the chair I bought in honor of my mother. I sat in it and felt, suddenly, very lonely.

Dinner at LAB, everyone remarking on the waiter’s remarkable arms.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December 9, 2015

Woke sad. Tried to find the reason for it– maybe just that I thought tonight was going to be rehearsal-free, and S snuck in a rehearsal. Rehearsals on the nights of performances are mad, yet there is no way of convincing panicky directors of that.
Invited dress last night, a goodly number of people. The report was that they enjoyed it, were moved by it, and yet my mind is concentrated on the mistakes. Tonight is sold out, and other nights are filling fast, so the word-of-mouth is fantastic. Who knows how to predict these things? Is it just the subject matter? If so, there’s a lesson.
“Friends and Family” tonight. I will drill the mistakes I made last night and make new ones tonight.
Dinner at Southern with some of the boys and the actor C, whose beauty–inner and outer-- at the moment fascinates me.
J’s selfish bumbling infuriates me in a way that’s difficult to contain. He’s harmful, wasteful, consuming. But everybody is patient, so I hold my tongue, I’ll find out that he’s had a stroke or something and then be ashamed of myself. Now I think he just contrives to be the center of attention in whatever way is available. Nothing discoverable about him on the Internet, though he brags of having been a renowned director.
Received the bound Washington Place in the GPTC publication.
Writing on the Hiram book. I think that it’s potentially a great book. I never thought exactly that of anything else I’ve written– merely that it was better than anybody else’s.

December 8, 2015

The pomegranate cookies were actually quite horrible. Did no one test the recipe? Day blasted away in rehearsal. C has a new vision for the show, which involves playing fast and loose with the score we have been at such pains to get perfect. What are you going to do? Let’s hope the authors don’t attend. Still, I have no doubt his ideas are right for the place and time. We realized that some passages sound awful even if done perfectly. I am not the sort of person who is entirely convinced by the argument, “but they’re MEANT to sound awful.” Well, then, mean something else.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 7, 2015

Pearl Harbor.

Lapping one day of rest like honey off a silver spoon.

Studied the score. Wrote on the Hiram book.

Received a call from the faux IRS saying this was their final warning. I should have listened to the end to see how much money they wanted me to send where.

Baked pomegranate cookies. Holding a mixer is one of the activities prohibited by my ruined shoulders. Nevertheless, my playwrights will have cookies tonight.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 6, 2015

Transplanted the wisteria that came already too twisted ever to be a tree. Now it has something to lean against. Good, firm & abundant roots. Day obliterated by rehearsal: a case of diminishing returns, but also a sort of joy, because I thought my voice would never hold up, and it’s gotten over its delicacy, and has. Director too confident in his own ear. Me, too easily distracted, my mind wandering after a while (exhaustion?) even in difficult parts. Took no dinner break (we had maybe 20 minutes what with one rehearsal and another) but stopped at 5 Walnut, drank one glass of exquisite Portuguese white. The band played “One of These Days,” and I allowed myself to think it was in honor of Washington Place.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5, 2015

Geminiani on Pandora

Began the day before light, sneaking the discarded bedframe into the apartment dumpster. It was exciting. Got my blood moving, with just a hint of the illicit. The larger of the two delivery giants had recommended this action.

Did terrible last night at rehearsal, a little grenade of error. Don’t know why, as I did practice at my electric keyboard. Maybe that gave me a false sense of confidence. The city streets are alive as I walk the varying distances to my car after rehearsal. I want to go into a bar and meet someone and have a drink, but my feet keep walking and my back thinks of bed. My throat is holding up magnificently, thanks be to God.

Birds call strangely, a little viciously, from the cover of my hollies at dawn. I’m not even sure what they are, unless they’re mockingbirds trying, almost successfully, to frighten me.

December 4, 2015

Corelli on Pandora.

Planted two peonies coming late in their own square of dusty earth.

The first things visible in the back at morning are the tops of the two discarded pumpkins, a deep orange glow, the predations of the squirrels not yet visible. They’re meant to rot there and their seeds send out vines for me in the spring.

Friday, December 4, 2015

December 3, 2015

Three beautiful young men came to my office and confessed their love for me. I have sunk so far into worldliness, and turned so many words to base labor, that I cannot find a pure language to describe the moment. But they were radiant, manly, heroic, three Parsifals, three Adams before the Fall, their emotions pure as angels’. They came separately and were unknown to each other. One I will call Energy, one Love, and one Courage– which in this world must look like sadness. I did not do well by them, for their confessions were so abashing that I tried to deflect them with a joke, or to turn to other subjects. Who but God is so self-assured as to take admiration full on? Not I. But when the moments were passed, I realized a great thing of the Spirit had happened, a thing by which my labors are justified. I sat in a coffeeshop with my face turned to the wall, and wept. Then I wrote. All was well. Some few things are well forever. I may forget; drudgery and defeat may lie before, but for this moment I am justified, and all is a level plain stretching before me. I said to the Lord, “Your work in me is justified.”

As if that weren’t enough, after many recommendations I took some tumeric. I had been swallowing ibuprofen by the handful to get relief from pain in my arms and shoulders, and it barely sufficed. I couldn’t lift a coffee mug, couldn’t lift my right hand to the top of the steering wheel, couldn’t pull the covers around me in bed. Had to bend nearly to the floor to get my coat on. I took the tumeric capsule and within two hours it was well. The ache is still there, dull and deep in the shoulders, but mobility returns, and the pain is a tenth of what it was. I am not one to believe in supplements or organic remedies very much, so I assume the effect is real.

Grueling rehearsals, far too long for singers. Nevertheless, one cannot say we have the material mastered so that the effort is not necessary. Productive and informative despite my irritation. I’m surprised by the mistakes I can make without knowing I’d made them. Worse tonight, and worse still at the beginning of next week, and then things relax like a snapped rope. The short of it is that I do not like following other people’s schedules.

Bed got delivered yesterday. Two giants came with it. The larger of the two giants was trying to teach the lesser how it should be possible for one person to carry a Queen sized mattress. He demonstrated, but I don’t think many people could possibly follow after. I was happy to drag it from one room to the other, even with my restored limbs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2, 2015

Immortal rain.
The pain in my shoulders and arms makes me effectively an invalid. My shoulder aches from carrying a mug of coffee up the stairs. Tried to help Catori lift a platform–one I could have lifted single-handedly a year ago-- and I froze half way from the floor. We call it “inflammation,” but I am not clear what that is or what causes it. I assume most things are dietary, but if so, what? I will stop this. I will increase that. Anything.
Grueling rehearsal last night. I made multiple mistakes, and unless I was the only one off, there must have been musical cataclysm on down the line. C has a good ear, and my fear of goofs that were never heard about is abated. The actors are finely tuned and wonderful to listen to when one is oneself not singing or praying to Polyhymnia for the next note. It is flatly not possible for me to sing four hours straight. At one point my voice literally shut down, and I had to run offstage for water. Luckily the play is less than half as long as the rehearsal. Last night I was racked with muscle spasms as well. God knows why, for I was hydrating like a maniac. Tenseness? Sitting funny? The Lord’s array is forever a surprise.
Panicky queries about when our exam is. I want to say, “You have access to the same information I have, aside from the fact that I told you multiple times in class.” but it’s too long to type, so I just answer with the place and time. In my career this is the class to whom it was evidently never suggested that they should take responsibility for themselves at any point.

December 1, 2015

The little raccoon is fully gone, as I assumed he would be. We stood in the rain to dedicate Michael’s rose garden and Cindy’s statue of Saint Francis. I thought of Cindy all afternoon. For one, she was the only of my colleagues who ever showed up when I had the gallery downtown. And she bought something. I wonder where that little piece is now. She gave me Titus and Conrad, whom I still hold in my heart.