Value What an intense beginning to October it has been. It feels like I’ve been birth canal-ed – squeezed into a ‘passage through’ from that September of structural change (schedule, mental, energetic) into this October of ‘Now, GROW’. This is the first morning of stillness after a massive storm of People and Events and I find myself looking around in wonder, like a newborn. Bridge on the way to my weekly class at Laurier. Like a birth canal, save that I come back through it every week at midnight. Always an odd sensation. I played back-to-back gigs in three completely different genres from Friday until Sunday at 2pm – the fallout from those rehearsals is over there… Oh yes, and Friday was also my birthday. Why the roses… I threw my old loveseat in a dumpster on Saturday too – the old pullout that didn’t pull out was my bed for the year after my marriage ended in 2013 and despite its’ size and brokenness, the ragged sides ravaged by cats and the seat pillows I never did finish reupholstering, I loved it dearly. We pushed it over the edge and it opened one last time to say goodbye. I whispered thank you for holding me before we drove away. The tears that came then (and now, I’ll admit) are proof of my exhaustion. Change. Sigh. Plaid. High back, which makes me feel short. Longer by two feet. This new old couch has good pedigree (people very very dear to me have sat and slept here) and I have high hopes for it’s eventual ‘rightness’ in this space, though it still feels awkward. The studio cats have shunned it, so far. I suspect it will grow in usefulness as I settle in to the habit of reading books, annotating books, blogging about books and commenting on the blogs of classmates. This is how doing a Masters in Community Music translates into daily life. Ha – even as I write I know that’s not even the half of it. This masters pervades all levels of now – how can it not, when books entitled Music and Mind in Daily Life (Clarke/Dibbin/Pitts, 2010) are on the week’s menu? Every class from 7 until 10 pm) we talk about what is meaningful and authentic. How this changes when music becomes a commercialized product. What does it feel like, to share musical space, to tell true musical stories that resonate and mix across personal and political cultures. How music is so naturally inclusive, yet so easily distorted by projections of class, identity and politics. How Music changes things, always. Books like food. Masters is like eating and eating when you know you are already full. An exercise in stamina… I have not found ‘normal’ yet. In the openness of this morning I look at my weeks and think, something has got to go. There’s not enough room, currently, for the things I need to do, for the books I need to read. And yet this is a stage in any valuable long-term project that I recognize, and relish – a good exercise in using emotional intelligence to understand what’s going to be supportive, gain me greater clarity, sharper focus. And what is not. I’ve added things. Cello lessons every other week (we are changing my right thumb position, working on my bowing, and fine-tuning my ears). New cello students. A string ensemble gathering every other week. Learning lead vocals on two songs – one gaelic, one by Robbie Burns, for a mini-tour in Toronto in 2 weeks. A drawing class for people who think they can’t in November, functional art making, and visual art making for a Studio Tour in December (this is how I will PAY for the masters – I have commissions and buyers, but so far no time to do the work). Christmas mini-tour with my favourite musical collaborators. Regular family visits. Good, slow time with my dear and significant other. Time spent listening and laughing with old and new friends. It’s a lot, yes. Doable if I practise smart self-care. If I can find and work from a new lightness of being. There is is. I know what I need to let go of. All the old heavy I carry that’s not mine. Stories that are long over but still stuck in a run-on sentence. Time to close those old books, and burn them. crazy beautiful bridge.