Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My eyes flared open, I rolled over to look at the time on my phone. 6:34 AM. I groaned inwardly at the light flooding through the translucent curtains in my dorm room and put a pillow over my head, vainly hoping to shut out the light and fall back asleep. Instead of dozing, I calculated exactly how much sleep I had managed to get – about 5 and a half hours. I thought of a Men's Health article I read in an effort to distract myself from realizing that I was running on an elliptical machine at the gym the other day which informed me that in order to lose weight, prolong my life, and maintain my immune system's strength among other things I needed to make sure I get 8 hours of sleep a night. Catastrophic sequences in my frenzied mind fired off from there, and, irate at my inability to quiet my mind, I desperately endeavored to meditate in the hopes that I would drift into dreamland. I eventually gave up, and dragged myself to the gym to get the day started.

On the way to the gym, I chatted with the Marlboro Bookstore shopkeep, and we complained about the chilly, wet weather that has plagued us so much of the summer. She worried that winter would be unbearable. I silently thanked the heavens I wouldn't be here for it and hopped on the elliptical.

The day continued with a rehearsal in the concert hall of the Britten that I will be performing with my friend, Sivan, this weekend, and being in the hall, we recorded our rehearsal. The knowledge that the devilish imps that microphones are were hanging at the front of the stage set off the tiny, yet oh-so-potent critical demons off in my mind. A veritable peanut gallery of bitchiness distracting me from the task at hand – to sing seven minutes of T.S. Eliot poetry.

By the time I got to lunch, I could barely bring myself to enter the table's conversation, my temples throbbing, and my neck and back stiff and whining. I left to try to lie down for a bit before my next rehearsal, but again sleep eluded me.

I arrived just in time for a rehearsal of a Bach aria with Lydia and Yvonne, and we kicked off the rehearsal complaining about a variety of kvetches: the cold weather, the dryness, how tired we were, the fact that everyone is getting sick, the toilet that was plugged for an entire day in my dorm, the acoustic in the rehearsal room in the Presser building, the price of lip balm. About 10 minutes into the rehearsal, there was a moment of silence, and Yvonne began to play. Lydia joined her, gently improvising a flowing continuo line to accompany her, and we were off. Melodies and counter-melodies flowed together and then apart. Yvonne and I handed off phrases to each other, Lydia guiding us harmonically the whole way with the figured bass in her part. We were so exhausted, the music just poured out of us – we didn't have the energy to get in the way. Yvonne and Lydia approached and then played the final cadence, and there was silence. We could hear the wind rustling through the leaves outside, and we looked at each other. It felt as though a peaceful, profound, and deep contentment had taken us over without us even realizing it. Nothing else mattered, and, somehow, we were happy.

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