Monday, December 20, 2010


I just went through some really intense physical exertions, this weekend and last weekend, giving a couple of concerts, driving long ways to do so, and so on and so forth—and I'm not as wiped out as I thought I would be. Certainly not as much as I used to be. So I guess I'm getting stronger again, betting better. More than I think.

Isn't that interesting?

Last weekend was the scheduled concert series with Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus, for which I had made a poster, and then made another:

(Click on image for larger version.)

I made the second poster on my own initiative, as a way to add to the publicity. This was because we were performing again my piece Weavers of Light, for male chorus, flute, bells and piano, which I had written in autumn 2009 and which we had premiered a year ago. We were giving it a second premiere, in part because I had revised and corrected the score from last year, and also to get a better live performance recording. So I made this second poster, and paid for it myself, and distributed it in as many other directions as I could. The difference between this poster and the other one is that this one emphasizes the premiere of my own music. So call it a bit of personal chest-thumping, of self-marketing, and I won't mind. I don't know how effective it was—you almost never get to know—but it was worth doing. And I'm actually rather fond of the design of this second poster. Another of my photo-illustration posters. By the way, regarding the original concert poster: I have received tons of positive feedback on it, including board members saying they thought it was the best-designed winter concert poster for PHMC they'd ever seen. That was nice to hear.

Last weekend, we did the first concert, and things went okay. My piece didn't go that well, though, and I was not at my personal best for a concert. I am still dealing with chronic illness, and chronic tiredness. So I didn't feel that good about the concert.

But wait! There's more!

A Chorus member had kindly offered to let me stay at his apartment in Madison for the nights in between the concerts, so I wouldn't have to drive there and back twice in a weekend. A major winter storm was supposed to come in on the day between concerts, and then the second concert was supposed to be a clear, cold day.

Well, the storm was late. It started with freezing rain, then escalated to snow, to blizzard, to a storm so powerful for this early in the winter season that it even made the TV news in Europe. I was staying at my friend's place, trapped and unable to get out till the plows came through, as his place is in a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a hill, which I could not get up till it was plowed. Unfortunately, I had a toxic reaction to some innocent use of cleaning chemicals, which meant I had a horrible night in addition to being trapped. It was nobody's fault, although it pretty much destroyed me for the weekend. I did try to get out at night, when it was still snowing, a choice on my part that made things worse, as I got nowhere except to exhaustion. I was so exhausted by morning, when we did finally get out, that even had the second concert not been cancelled on account of the blizzard, I would have had to just go home and not perform, regardless.

Anyway, the concert was postponed for one week. Same venue, different day.

But wait! There's more!

On the drive home, I passed two severe road accidents on the interstate. One of them was when a car had apparently hit an icy patch, skidded off the road, and slammed sideways into a stand of trees. The entire driver's side of the car was crumpled. Emergency vehicles were everywhere, although I could not see that anyone had actually been seriously hurt.

i've been in an accident like that. My previous pickup truck, one winter when I was driving in northern Minnesota, skidded off the road, spun out, and rear-ended into a stand of trees. We were not injured, and my friends were able to help me get a tow-truck out there, 20 miles from electricity, etc., to pull me out of the ditch, after which the truck was okay, although the read hatch never worked properly again. But I had PTSD from that accident for some time, and bad dreams, and a lot of emotions. So I felt for those strangers as I drove by, seeing the side of their car stove in. I wished them the best.

Once home, it was pretty much a collapse scenario. I unloaded, and went to bed early. I thought I'd need a couple of days of doing nothing to recover—but I didn't. I was back on my feet in a day. I did my chores. I made presents to give people for Xmas, and mailed them off. I did some cooking. I set up the small Xmas tree in the living room, although I haven't done much other decorating as yet. Still want to hang some ornaments on the tree. Make things merry and bright.

Then, yesterday, I drove down to Chicago for some time in the recording studio where I work part-time, and the annual studio Holiday party, which meant I get to bed late. (Yes, making of music was involved. Yes, so was a wee dram of good Scotch whiskey.) Then this morning I had to drive from Chicago to Madison for the rescheduled second concert.

We didn't cancel the concert, we postponed it a week. So we did the concert this afternoon, after I had driven in directly from Chicago.

And the concert went very well. The performance of my piece was probably the best live performance we've given it. I was very pleased. I will eventually get a recording of it. Several friends who couldn't make it to the concert have already asked me about the recordings. (More on that at a later date.) The entire concert was very well-performed, in fact, and the audience was terrific. We all received many compliments afterwards.

And so I drove home this evening, very tired, but not as exhausted as I thought I would be. Nonetheless, I am doing nothing about anything till tomorrow. (Have to get the tux dry-cleaned, but I'll deal with tomorrow.) I'm taking the rest of the night off. And I'm not exhausted.

So I guess the IV drug therapy is working. I am, I guess, getting more of my strength back. I am, in fact, feeling better. There's a long way to go, and I'm not out of the woods yet. And I'm also not doing as bad as I used to, so I guess I'm doing better.

We're all much bigger than we think we are. We're all more capable of coping with and managing difficulties than we give ourselves credit for. We're all much more empowered than we realize. We all have more ability and more flexibility than we imagine. The main thing that keeps us from being at our best is some idea we carry around that we can't: in other words, we self-limit because of our attitudes, because of mental/emotional blocks.

I find myself, tonight, feeling pretty good about everything. And especially about this just-completed concert series. I far exceeded my own expectations, this concert, and am pleased with that, because it means that I'm doing better than I had though I was, or could have hoped for.

Tomorrow will take care of itself.

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Blogger me said...

Cheers to life Art: The gorgeous possibilities that surround us. May inner sunshine caresses your every day.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks. :)

11:21 AM  

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