Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Piano Bench on the Prairie

Well, hello there. Remember me? Whether you do or you don't is irrelevant, because now I have a brand new life. At least that's what it's felt like, although I'm adjusting pretty well. Allow me to back up a moment, remember this job I applied for? To make a not-that-long story shorter, that all turned out successfully,* and now I live on the prairie. There are still cornfields around here, but the sky seems so much vaster. Most notably when the wind blows the low, gray, rain-filled clouds across it like a time-lapse movie scene, or when one gazes at stars in full-blown constellation mode from the backyard in the city limits proper while drinking late-summer microbrews.

*Jobs = successful, right? It's strange, I'd been very, very much looking forward to another year of grad school in Iowa City, a year of reduced course load, and a year of no-TA duties, allowing me to practice my desired goal of 6-8 hours a day, while still enjoying the rest of life (i.e., having time to visit Prairie Lights and go to the Bijou occasionally). That remains all a lovely dream, as now I have returned to being a real-live grown-up, much like before the reentry to graduate school. Which is only a little sad, and mostly super cool, because 1.) I reached my goal [college-level teaching] before I ever thought I'd get there, 2.) these jobs are almost impossible to get, 3.) I love my new job, except that I'm always wiped out at the end of the day when I get home, to which this is taking some adjusting, 4.) I have a new (new for me) house, which will be very cute and wonderful, when I get all the things in their proper places [note: this should be happening today, but this post is providing a respite from reorganizing the linen closet in the front hallway].

So anyway, I'm "back" to "blogging," for whatever that's worth. Evidently it's been about four months (FOUR MONTHS?!?) since my last post. That's a frickin' third of a year. That's kind of a long time. And often, changes within a period of four months aren't necessarily that noticeable on a day-to-day level, and even after that third of a year has passed, changes are small and perhaps negligible, at least in a big-picture sense. Not for me! In addition to a new job and new house, I also had the Summer of Epiphanies. Maybe this is what happens when you turn 35? Definitely much preferred to a Summer of Existential Crises.


There is no way I can properly articulate in a way that satisfies me (and quite probably, you) exactly *what* was so special and amazing about this summer, so perhaps just a brief factual listing of major events (essentially: piano boot-camp followed by meditation boot-camp) will suffice.

1. Went to PianoSummer at New Paltz. Got many different perspectives about my pieces, which inevitably led to my observations of many different perspectives about piano, and technique, and pedagogy, and music, and philosophy, and life. Met new, amazing, inspiring, passionate friends. Had many great piano lessons, and had a definitely life-changing piano lesson that illuminated many things for me, which is always an incredible and fascinating experience -- to be aware that this teacher is showing up to give you the information you need and are ready for at that time.

2. Went to Kripalu, a gorgeous, restorative retreat center in Western Massachusetts, to study mindfulness-based stress reduction. And all I can say about that (other than that I cannot wait to go back) is that one entire day of silent meditation can change your entire life. Also, yogadance, corny as it may sound, is really profound and powerful.

Yeah, ok, that description was as unsatisfying as the sixth Harry Potter movie. Oh well, you'll just have to believe me that the Summer of '09 was good for Ann.

Now, back to organizing. As tedious as it is (and it is! I know! Hence the procrastination!), I also know that I will be so much happier when it's all put away.

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Listening to: whatever Pandora's serving up for me these days, today's top picks are Elvis Perkins ('While you were sleeping'), and Iron and Wine.