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Friday, October 15, 2010

Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever!

Wow, it has been MONTHS since I last posted a blog entry. What's happened since then?

COMPOSITION
  • My a cappella choir piece "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?" won the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Contest and was given a double premiere by the (utterly amazing) group under the direction of Simon Carrington in Kansas City. The next day, they had a recording session, and Matt filmed one of the early takes on his Canon T2i:



    The video was posted to a bunch of blogs, including Towleroad, ChoralNet Blog, David Griggs-Janower in the Albany Times Union, Joe. My. God., Good As You, KCMetropolis (plus additional interview), and My Big Gay Ears. I also got a kick out of it being Instinct Magazine online's "Video of the Day" on June 2.

    Much love to Daphne, siblings Tony and Amy and John in KC for coming out to the performance! Here we are being all goofy.

  • The Gonzales Cantata is being staged by the American Opera Theater and Handel Choir of Baltimore in February. It's also been selected as a finalist in the 2010-2012 National Opera Association Chamber Opera Competition, and selections will be performed at the NOA convention in San Antonio on January 8. Texas!

  • After months of delays, mainly due to me procrastinating like mad, Matt and I launched my publishing site Mormolyke Press. It's pretty whizz bang for a self-publishing site, which I guess is to be expected when you've made a bunch of websites and you're married to a web developer. I don't know if any composer has a self publishing site that's quite as slick (if I do say so myself). If there is one, let me know so I can learn!

THEATER
In June, I ventured to Tick Ground Zero, aka Waterford, Connecticut, for the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference -- not as a puppeteer, but as a composer. It was a whirlwind week of writing music for several terrific short puppet plays, and meeting the puppeteers behind, under or inside of some of the characters that defined my childhood. So much fun, but I can't wait to do it again next year with more energy (see health update below).

Later in the summer, I performed in Titus Andronicus at Plays & Players, and in a few weeks I'll start rehearsals there as the musical director of their production of A New Brain. I also did the music for another Fringe show, Zacherle, which was created through a very interesting improv process. In December, I'll be premiering a new piece at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre Cabaret Series.

HEALTH
I blather on about my health so much on this blog, I may as well make it a heading. The malaise that I blogged about early this year wouldn't clear up on its own; I was hoping it would fade away over the summer. Hence, my summer was perhaps my most unproductive on record. Seriously, I had a list of things to do, and not a single thing was crossed off the list by the time college classes began again. So! I did some research, took myself to the Penn Health Service, suggested I was depressed and asked to be put on Wellbutrin. When the doctor took my family history, she prudently insisted I go to a Penn psychiatrist on the off chance that I develop the Shong clan hereditary crazies, so for the first time in my life, I'm seeing one of those. She's actually quite nice, unlike most of the psychs my mother saw.

I had a terrible experience the first month on generic bupropion: awful migraines, nausea, dizziness, tired eyes, etc. Again, I researched, and now for what may be the first time in my life, I am willingly on a name brand drug. The pills are extended release, and apparently the generic dissolves at a much more erratic rate than Wellbutrin™. I switched, and the side effects lessened dramatically, with the result that I am actually, you know, doing stuff and accomplishing things again.

BOOKS BOOK
All right, enough! Here's the real reason I'm blogging again: I've been reading Moby Dick for months. It was the first book on my list of things to read over the summer, but every time I'd finish a page or two, I'd fall asleep, so it's taken rather longer than expected. I blame the depression, although Herman Melville can also be incredibly slow.

Now that I'm on Wellbutrin, I'm getting through it much faster. I just came across a passage that had me in hysterics, because although I am a 30-year-old woman, at heart I am a boy in his early teens. Here it is, completely out of context, for your reading pleasure:
Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say, - Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever!

Matt: "No wonder they don't read this in high school any more."
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