Weltschmerz v. Wanderlust

There are so many things I could write about, but I have such little motivation.

Well, that’s a lie. I am motivated to begin and end this blog post. I am motivated to one day finish sorting the hundreds of pages of music and class notes scattered about my room. I am motivated to do all of my Lieder translations today, and look at the music for Russian diction. I am motivated to sing through Joan’s Aria, and I am motivated to restrain myself to only two cups of coffee today.

But after that I may switch to beer.

These have been the longest two weeks of my life. Professionally, emotionally, and mentally, I’ve been completely drained. My energy is at an all time low– all I “want to do” is sit quietly by myself. I don’t even really want to listen to music. That’s another all time low for me. I could at least sit with something on in the background, usually. But today and yesterday I’ve put on the last-resort playlist of the Avett Brothers’– the soundtrack of my adolescence and the only music I can listen to with a combination of compliance, satisfaction, happiness-in-remembering-home and abject misery. It’s very strange. I guess I would compare it to the musical equivalent of the concept of “Heimat.” The Avetts are my musical Heimat– especially their older songs denote my experiences both at home and at Eastman. They were the soundtrack to both homes and can comfort just as readily (and often at the same time) as they bring heartsickness.

Anyway, what was I saying?

All time low. That’s right.

But overall the past two weeks have been successful? I sang as one of eight finalists for the Friends of Eastman Opera competition. Didn’t win, but I’m not complaining, as I had my senior recital a short two days later. Both my family from home and my musical family here were mostly present, in person or over the internet. It flew by in half of an eye-blink and then this week occurred. Long opera rehearsal combined with work, schoolwork and classes… and then thoughts about the summer and how I am supposed to afford it… My brain is just frazzled. And this is without considering the natural human element. The drama here is just suffocating.

But, I’ve read a little poetry and kept to myself as much as possible. This is not to say that I’m antisocial… but sometimes (okay, more often than not) it’s refreshing to get away from others. I can’t distract myself with a dog, so no escape there… I’d go for a walk, but it’s cold outside: plus, it’s not as if Rochester is necessarily picturesque. The escape occurs when I can leave Eastman. Mostly figuratively, you understand, but when I picture myself in Philly this summer my spirit gets just slightly lighter.

And Germany. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

I have wanted to go for nearly six years now. That’s over a quarter of my life. I’m of the opinion, if you’ve wanted something for a quarter of your life and haven’t achieved it yet, it’s time.

The question is, really, how? How to afford it, how to get there? How to convince my mother? And again, how to afford it? There are so many other things that need to be paid for, the least of which being rent, and the greatest of which being the summer program in June I’ve already committed to. How to make another pocket of money, in order to travel alone, halfway across the world, just because I want to?

There really aren’t any acceptable excuses for wasting money (or even debating wasting money) in this way. I must just be selfish. Why can’t I wait for life experiences to find me? I keep telling myself, if it’s meant to happen, it will. I need to be patient.

The funny thing is, while typing “happen” just now, I made the mistake of writing “happy” instead. Twice, I did this.

Now, that should tell me something.

There are some things– like Eastman, like this Russian Opera Workshop– that happen almost on their own. Yes, I’ve worked hard, but that doesn’t always mean success. These things have occurred by a stroke of blessed, cosmic luck, and I am supremely grateful.

But other things in my life (my senior recital, which received six “brava”s from the six present faculty members, or the Mahler solo in October) have taken place and been highly successful because I’ve worked. And loved the work, and worked with love. That has to count for something, too. The work, and love, and cosmic power have to come together at some point, for some people, sometimes– otherwise no one would ever accomplish anything they set out to do.

So there’s that tangent. I want to travel and experience things (and, you know, maybe actually learn this language I’m obsessed with). I just have no idea how it’s going to happen. The sad part is, if I hadn’t signed on to do Russian Opera Workshop again, I might have been able to scrounge up the funds to do Goethe-Institut in July. Now, there’s almost no way, because I owe Ghena money and of course I’m thrilled to be singing Joan; it’s going to be another incredible June. But it is expensive.

And I feel as though I’m going to miss something! I know it’s strange, at twenty-one, to really worry about missing life. Extrinsically, I realize that I have plenty of time and blah, blah, blah. But if I’ve learned nothing else, I know that that is really not always the case. I’m stuck here at this conservatory, garnering a fabulous musical education– and I should only be grateful. I am grateful. But I don’t leave. I don’t meet anyone. I don’t sing anywhere. I don’t even have time to learn music because I’m busy with rehearsal and classes and work. And outside of this grey, miserable, freezing, windy, sunshine-less city, the world continues spinning and others live full lives with love and happiness and other types of motivating forces that often don’t seem to exist in Rochester.

But this wasn’t really meant to be a “look at how pathetic my life is” ramble. It originally started off as an update on the life of a tired soprano, for the three souls on the planet that might actually wonder (three is being optimistic, anyhow). And I know, too, that if I want change, I have to make it. That’s just one of those things, though, that is much, much easier said (or typed) than done.

I’m reminded of a poem I recently read; it resonates with my own unwinding, stormy mood this week. Like I said, this wasn’t supposed to morph into a gloomy mess, but here we are. Might as well indulge…

Ûber die Heide 
Theodor Storm*

Über die Heide hallet mein Schritt;
Dumpf aus der Erde wandert es mit.
Herbst ist gekommen, Frühling ist weit–
Gab es denn einmal selige Zeit?
Brauende Nebel geisten umher;
Schwarz ist das Kraut und der Himmel so leer.
Wär ich hier nur nicht gegangen im Mai!
Leben und Liebe– wie flog es vorbei!

My own poetic (ish) translation follows… watch out, world… 

Over the heath echoes my footstep;
Muffled out of the earth, it roams with me.
Autumn has come, Spring is far–
Was there ever once a blissful time?
Brewing mists spirit around;
Black is the grass and the sky, so empty.
If only I had not gone here in May!
Life and Love– how they flew past!

*For posterity’s sake I feel I should mention that Theodor Storm (besides being one kick-ass name) was the author of Die Nachtigall, one of my favorite poems ever. The text was set to music by Alban Berg and features as the third song in the cycle Sieben frühe Lieder. I sang these nearly a week ago for my senior degree recital.
Advertisements

And in springs May

I’ve updated! Finally. Made some much-needed, pleasant redecorations.

I also did some spring cleaning on my computer. Not physically– the screen’s still splotchy and dirty and there are the *cough* few little droplets of coffee here and there around the keys, but everything’s in proper working order so I’m not concerned. I’m talking about the inner spring cleaning, the going-through of all of my school papers and theory projects and compositions and whatever that were sprawled across my Desktop willy-nilly. Essays with names like “omgggdfakdjlkMUE111ESSSSAY” and “asdjffjkjkdshitttfinallythispaper.” Random photos that I posted on tumblr, some miscellaneous notepad entries with cryptic phrases like “bach cell0 suite in g major for marimba.”

All of that has been either deleted or relegated to my EASTMAN 2010-11 folder. So it’s nice and cozy. Also, all of my stories and to-do lists are neatly filed away. My background is currently rotating photos from home (in the summertime, outside, I might add). And I’ve got less than four days of Rochester left (!!!!!!). Tomorrow is “Reading Day,” where I will barricade myself in my room with a study plan I hope to have arranged by this evening (well, later this evening). Wednesday I have theory and music ed. Thursday I have ed psych. And Friday is the open book (LOL) Italian final and I am OUT OF HERE.

For home, for summer. My first summer as a grown up, I guess. I feel grown up now (not really, but I don’t feel like a child). I certainly don’t feel like I did before. I’m about ready to start actually contributing to the world. What a notion.

I actually do plan to be productive. In addition to my job, I’ll have practicing to do. Friday is also “Raid Sibley Day” so I’ll hopefully have a massive collection of German (also!!!!!-worthy) to learn! And three more of Tchaikovsky’s six romances.

But that’s for four days from now. So until then, I’ll sign off, bid adieu or what have you, and maybe read for a while.

O del mio dolce ardor

So I’m singing in Diction today. I only have Italian, Diction, and my lesson to trudge through today and then it’s on to the weekend. But first I have to get through Diction.

I’m hungry and nauseous and nervous and tired. I need caffeine like I need sunshine. Also known as really really badly.

I think I want  a pumpernickel bagel and black coffee. By the way, I’m sitting in Java’s right now typing incoherently while Nicole and John and Mary talk about tea and sleeping around me.

Christ. Need coffee. Bye.

Addressing issues of “tone”

I hate this class. Look familiar? That’s because I’m here again and really really hate it. Surprise!

We’re working on essay structure. You know, if I didn’t detest this course, I would be perfectly cool with writing and editing and re-editing my essay, even with a peer critique involved. Instead, we’re treated as incompetents. It might seem that way, honestly, because no one talks when she asks a question, except occasionally Pat or Paulina. Sorry if my brain’s shriveled from lack of coffee inhalation. Sorry if you’re standing there, “teaching,” with your arms crossed and voice dry, critically mentally labeling us all as dumb music students. We can see it.

She just mentioned a “funnel introduction.” Now the “dawn of time” introductions. GOD I need caffeine.

“Generally you don’t want readers to be skeptical. You want them to accept what you’re saying.” Actually, for me, I’d want to pique their interest. I’d want to twist them around my finger but entice them to think. From their contorted new mental state I’d want them to wonder about what they’ve read.

So no, I don’t simply want them to accept what I say.

I think I’ve shed all over my cardigan. My phone just vibrated reaaaally loudly in my pocket. I would give anything to be in Italian. And that alone should proclaim with obviousity my fiery desire to LEAVE this ROOM and never return.

Since she just was staring at me as she talked about addressing issues of tone, I wrote a few things down.

What kind of tone do you want to have in your papers? No feelings behind it. It’s a moral judgment to have an opinion. NO opinions. Well, I mean, you can have an opinion. But you have to be as bland and dry as this class. Oh wait, I need to offer a solution. Moral condemnation, and then no solution. To fix, ask why that contradiction is there? Better question: WHY DO I HAVE TO BE HERE?

F MY LIFE. “We’re going to do paragraphs for the next two classes.”

Excuse me? I beg your pardon. The NEXT TWO CLASSES?! Who needs to spend a week on learning to write a paragraph? Oh God. Oh dear sweet God.

Anxiousitis

I’ve been distracting myself lately.

If I don’t, that deep cold clutch of fear in the belly gives a yank and tugs me under.

It woke me at five this morning, nauseating me. Rippled, acidly, through my nerves until I couldn’t breathe. Dizzy, I stumbled upstairs to drown in coffee. Necessary, but the caffeine just jittered an already faltering system.

I need distraction. Otherwise I just make myself sick.

I’m excited, right? I keep telling myself that. I need this change. It’s a vital step, a crucial part of my life.

But oh God, I’m so scared, so freaking SICK of waiting. The anxiety is wrecking my nerves. Just get me to school and living, already.

The most wildly thrilling blog you’ll ever read

This is to throw you off. There is no sunniness today

I was going to title this post with the phrase “I got nothin'” but upon reflection that’s too self-explanatory. Instead I labelled it with something interesting, and now you’re stuck here wondering when I’ll get to the point.

Congratulations, you’ve been duped into reading the most pointless two paragraphs I’ve ever written. I’m bored, I work from three to ten today, I’m annoyed. I’m about ready to tear my hair out, because when my mother’s cranky the world has to be, too. I’m tense and anxious about school, and will probably escape to my room to keep packing. The most I can say is, I’m well-rested and there’s plenty of coffee. Hope your day’s going better than mine.

Time for the fall

I had it out with my mother last night.

Those of you who actually know me, and/or my mother, will realize that this is not the simplest or most enjoyable activity.

Those of you who don’t know me, and/or my mother, will please take note that we are quite similar… type A personality, somewhat aggressive and domineering, like to be in control, fairly intuitively aware of when someone is having a difficult time with something. The difference is, my mother will confront this struggling person with a “what’s your problem? your tone sucks” (i.e., that’s what she said to me yestereve), whereas I will either allow said individual to continue to work out whatever it is they’re dealing with in peace, or I will ask them about it (hopefully a smidgeon less abrasively… although I’ll confess to being an abrasive soul on occasion).

Anyway. So we were sitting on the porch. Me: bowl of popcorn and some grape juice, Nora Roberts’ The Villa in one hand and a texting conversation with Michael in the other. Ready to relax and burn up the forty-some pages left in my book before the natural light faded.

Mother: “So when are we going to Wal-Mart? What else do you need to get?”

Me: Rattled off list of supplies still necessary.

Dad (eavesdropping by the grill, pretending he’s not being awkward standing there): “Are you going to bring your fridge?”

Me: Explanation of how I don’t know because my roommate’s sister facebooked me about how they have a fridge already. Further explanation of how, even if I don’t bring it this year, I will need it next year when I have my own room.

Mother: “You know, you sound like this all has to go your way. Like, you are entitled for everthing to be exactly the way you want it.”

Me: “That’s not how it is–”

Mom: “That’s what I mean. Your tone… sucks.”

And that’s when I ignored my father pretending to be part of the conversation and forgot to calculate the effects of what I said or how I said it.  Basically I just spewed out what I didn’t know had really been gnawing at me.

“I’m going to a high-intensity musical conservatory in less than two weeks, where I know no one and I’ll be expected to work my ass off every second of my day. Not that I mind, but on top of that I’ve never done college before, have no idea what to expect or what to do or how to do it. No one’s there to help me and I’ll be completely on my own. I’m sorry if that gives me a ‘tone’ since I’m terrified and will have no idea what I’m doing. It’s just a little bit of added stress, if that’s understandable. Just a little stressful for me.”

So now it’s said and aired, and I have come to the realization that leaving has really started to worry me. It’s like the wait before an audition, before a performance. I feel prepared, but unsure of how I’ll actually perform. I mostly am anxious because I don’t know what’s in store, I don’t know what’s waiting at Eastman. Hogwarts, it feels like, but I doubt it will be that fun. Challenges, stress, coffee, no sleep. Hopefully it will be the time of my life, but who knows, really. I’m sadly undereducated and as much as I love music, I don’t like to be behind.

I just don’t know what to expect, and that worries me. The wait pressures me. All that I’m leaving behind here seems so final, so like the end of summer, the end of childhood.

I’ll deal with it and kick its ass with intensity, but for right this second, it’s stressing me out.

Make me want to vomit (again)

In my personal and nauseated opinion... he IS the idiot. But I wouldn't waste my time arguing with him.

So, until now I’ve been avoiding politics. Since Government (the class) ended, I’ve cared, but not really. Auditions and college plans and senior year were a little more pressing.

Therefore, it’s been low on my list of priorities. But this morning, Fox News was on when I woke up. Granted, I had a shitty 11:51pm, so I was in a bad mood to begin with. But walking in on Glenn Beck criticizing Putin for walking “like a Communist” wasn’t really the greatest.

He’s not only inconsistent, but he’s trying to tie in history’s violent crusades to today’s times. He is trying to incite teenagers to overthrow Obama. And, apparently, the Soviet Union?

About Communism: “It was a different time until we defeated it. …Now they’re trying to teach you that democracy is what we are. Why would somebody want to change us from a republic to a democracy?”

He just read a passage from Webster’s early history textbook, and quoted that the very core of a republic was the Bible. Then he went on to talk about how when people pervert the government by venturing away from the original intent (church and state intertwined), it’s horrible.

Now back to the former USSR. Something about their “freedom of religion.” My head’s starting to ache and I need coffee but am scared to drink it, so I’ve zoned since this guy’s just making me angry, and more nauseous than I currently am/was last evening.

I will tell you what I think is really perverted. The idea that a figure with some weight is speaking out against communism and real freedom of religion from government at a time where the president currently isn’t garnering excessive support? That concerns me. The idea that this figure doesn’t mind insulting Putin on live TV? Concerning. The idea that he’s reminding kids my age that war is necessary to prevent communism, and calling his segment “Restoring History”?

Yeah, that worries me. I’ll probably get an ulcer.
There have to be better solutions than war, or encouraging kids to approve of it.