Old Daily Shows--March 2003

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Tuesday March 4, 2003 Nightmares

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

After seven semesters, two music majors remain: J, and me. David, previously an unshakeable bastion of faith, has decided that a music major is no longer worth the blood, sweat, and yea, even tears. He turned in his wings today, stripped off his insignia, and walked out a free man.

It frightens me how close I am to following. I find myself rehearsing an argument again and again in my head, and it takes the form of a balance. On one side, the desire to have B.A. Music follow my name, to carry the card of membership that says "I did a double major." The desire to live up to the expectations of my family, and not to be a quitter. The desire to live up to my own expectations, ultimately.

And on the other side of that balance lies everything else. The amount of work I have left to do before graduation. The sleep I haven't been getting. The utter lack of interest I have in anything academically musical right now. The desire to be one of those college students with time to just hang around. The sense of outrage at the various injustices, small and large, that this department has perpetrated against me and my friends. And the list continues.

Which side wins? I wish I knew. This afternoon, at my library shift, I put away the books that David won't be using anymore, Brahms biographies piled on musical analyses that didn't quite fit on the shelf. I caught myself longing to turn in Fauré and leave him where he has always been, in that well-beloved but slightly distant place where so much music lies. Will I hate this piece if I spend the rest of the semester on it? Is this worth losing a good piece of music?

With the sun setting, I walked through the library, locking doors and turning off lights. In the basement of Underhill, my eyes flicked past my study carrel, loaded with books about Fauré and adorned in neon pink library tape with my name, and rested on David's carrel. What used to be his, I suppose: there was no trace of his presence there, neither books nor label. A history erased, if you want to be melodramatic about it, which maybe I do right now.

I almost started crying, there in the library surrounded by books and dehumidifiers. I wanted all this so much, one day. I can't remember when the change occurred, but I no longer feel that I want the music major because of what it will teach me, what I will gain from it in knowledge. My reasons have become purely pecuniary: the degree, the cachet it provides, the right to say "See! This I have done!" What happens to a dream deferred?

I don't normally remember my dreams, which is why the last three nights have been unusual. Three nights ago, I awoke from a dream of fire:

I had been in my room, with a single candle giving light as I meditated. I stood up to get into bed, and knocked the candle over. Slowly it tipped and fell, landing atop a group of papers and a pair of calendars--one of Celtic designs, the other photographs of Scotland. I screamed and tried to put it out, first with baking soda, then with water. Nothing worked. Remembering the fire extinguisher in the hallway, I ran to fetch it, only to find my room ablaze when I returned. I pointed at the base of the fire and pulled the trigger, and nothing happened. It was dead. Suddenly I was in the kitchen, with a flaming range top and nothing to fix it with. The fire hoods went off, but did nothing. I watched in horror as flames licked along the ceiling tiles, and found myself unable to shout a warning to anyone. The fire alarm did not go off, and I listened to my friends screaming as they burned.

Two nights ago, my brain invented a new sport: downhill hockey. It's like hockey, only with skis. You pass the puck back up the hill to your teammates who've just gotten off the lift. It sounds like the sort of game the Kennedys would play. I have no idea how scoring/team play/motivation work, but bear with me. My team and I were playing, and doing well. Suddenly I was in a car with Susie, going somewhere for a gig or whatnot. We were talking about something when a man in a butcher's apron began carving my stomach with a filleting knife. He was singing quietly to himself as he worked, efficiently, segmenting my flesh into neat little blocks for market. I tried to stop him, but it was no use, and so I merely tried to stanch the bleeding somewhat by stuffing my fists into the wounds and pressing hard. I woke up with my fingers pressed tightly into my navel.

And last night, I don't remember. When I woke, though, I was quite sure that it had been orders of magnitude worse than the two nights before. No entertaining story here, sadly. I should have gone to bed two hours ago, as the amount of work between now and Friday afternoon is astronomical, but I'm only just getting around to realizing that I'm afraid of falling asleep again.

Where do we go from here? The balance shifts every little while. I've gotten sick somewhere in here. Wow. I just realized that I'll see my parents in two weeks. Yay! And my grandparents! This is a very good thing. No Scampi, but at least I've got a sometimes-friend-kitty in Kit who lives in the CS building. And so we'll end the playlist for tonight with Des'ree.

Challenge what the future holds, try and keep your head up to the sky.... Go ahead, release your fears, stand up and be counted, don't be afraid to cry. Herald what your mother said, read the books your father read, try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet time....

... their hearts and their bones/and they won't come undone. Friends are a big help sometimes. Thanks for the hug, sweetie.

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Saturday March 15, 2003 Starting to finish

Lux perpetua luceat eis. As of 3:23 this morning, the Fauré harmonic analysis is complete, with every note in the 11 pages of Agnus Dei accounted for and neatly compartmentalized. Interesting stuff, though I don't want to think how many hours I've spent on it this month. Modal mixture is the name of the game, for those in the know.

Magic Flute is coming along, and life continues. Had my first dim sum tonight, with eight friends at Kingdom of Vegetarians in Chinatown. It was yummy, and I still have a penchant for cold sesame noodles. Yum! I think a lot of change is in the air these days, for the world at large and for my own life. More on that later.

And how can words describe what it felt like to come home after ten hours of rehearsal yesterday and find my girl safely home from the Virgin Islands, wearing a brightly tie-dyed T-shirt and running into my arms? They're just not up to the task. The memories will have to suffice.

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Monday March 17, 2003 Watson

Today I am a chameleon. In my hot shower at 2:30 am, my own face emerges anew, freed by soapy washcloths and gentle scrubbing. Twenty-two, now, though I couldn't remember that when the conductor asked on the train--I kept saying twenty-one, because the palindromic age hadn't registered yet, despite the fact that it's been nearly two months. Twenty-two, with all the attendant uncertainty and promise of a young face.

Earlier in the day, I aged twenty-five years in about five minutes, thanks to my steady hand with makeup. Sarastro is a middle-aged gentleman, and so I gave him full foundation, darkish lipliner, and lines, carefully blended. Lines to make my cheeks heavier, fine lines with a brush to make my eyes look older. Powder over it all, and a new skin is made for me. Come see it--Thursday and Sunday nights, 8 pm, Lang Concert Hall, Mozart's Magic Flute. Should be a good time.

I can't bring myself to write about our country going to war. Just... no.

And so, the news for today comes down to this. I am a Watson Fellow. Next year, I'll be in Scotland, studying bagpipes, flute, culture, and everything else I can get my hands on. This excites and terrifies me. And now it's time for bed. Hope for peace.

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