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Connecting with nature this past weekend on a road trip through NW Mass, Vermont and New Hampshire. Living our best New England life, in other words. I definitely understand now what all the hype is about.


I've had about a week and a half of "having to" deal with life stuff. It can be frustrating when I feel like I'm getting pulled out of the bubble of creation where I currently want to spend all of my time, but in this case I'm also grateful because there were things I hadn't been able to deal with earlier that I now could take care of.


It is with immense joy that am I getting back into the creative work now, though. My friend pointed out how that actually is sort of the point of any kind of abstinence, isn't it? Loving the thing even more once you get it back.

I'm writing, among very many other things, a new choral piece (in general I'm trying to just feel out what I should work on on any given day -- some songs/pieces need a few weeks of rest here and there). I'm very excited about it! It's been seven years since I last wrote a choral piece (vocal jazz not included).


I'm trying not to overthink it at the moment, but there is this recurring problem when I write vocal stuff that some things turn out to be... difficult.. to execute. It's actually very hard for me to tell when something is going to be challenging while I'm writing. Nothing is ever difficult for me to sing. I am aware that this could sound incredibly douchey and self-absorbed, but I hope you all know I don't mean it that way -- the point is that it poses a real challenge when I'm writing for other singers. And at the same time I feel very strongly that I don't want to compromise my artistic integrity by trying to write things that aren't gonna be too hard. Maybe it's the people's ears that just need to get used to the harmonies (I've sung so many things that are very difficult for choirs to execute that are still considered standard repertoire -- it's all a question of getting sounds in your ears and knowing that it IS possible when the choir is advanced enough).


It finally happened - Harpi and I had a gig! We were both very happy to be out and about. All of the hits were played.


General other little thoughts:

Every other day now it feels like the world might be ending. Somehow I simultaneously have a feeling it is actually being reborn, though. Some really special things are happening.


The weather is so beautiful now in MA. Crispy skies with fall foliage galore.


I have realized recently that occasionally the things I write are actually best described as poetry. They're not lyrics that never gets music. They are just complete in their own context, and that's ok even though I was the one who wrote it. It's been nice sort of embracing that as part of my being an artist, and also makes me feel less stressed about having to put music to words just because I think I'm supposed to.

Having a gig wearing a mask was somewhat weird, but not as weird as I initially thought it would be. Less cool was when guests started feeling comfortable after a couple of drinks and therefore removed all of theirs.......


So many adult tasks this week. But that's also part of life. And I guess life is also the process, and not just the other way around (even though I'd probably prefer it if it were that way. But alas).


Thanks for reading! I appreciate all of you so much.


I'm playing a wedding on Saturday! A gig!!!

But that also means that I need to take a break from my Serious Work today and yesterday to get that rep figured out. I usually try to add maybe 5 or so pop songs to my book each gig so that it'll nicely and gradually expand (read: so I'll get more tips when I have songs that people request). The only problem today is that I don't have Sibelius on this computer, because I haven't had money to purchase it since I got this new one and Sib 7 isn't supported on the new MacOS's (BOOOOOOO). SO that means today I will be writing by hand. Yay! What fun! Too bad I can barely read my own music handwriting.. Unless I find that using an online notation program actually is quicker but I kind of doubt it -- my former speed at making lead sheets was mostly related to my light speed use of Sibelius I think).


I'm also playing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire, a song that I actually haven't had to play before but thanks to Sylvia Woods (bless her) I could download an arrangement and look at it right away. I feel like it's one of those songs that harmonically makes so much sense it almost gets disorienting. Around and around and around and around and around and wait, where was I? Anyways. I'm hoping I'm correct in planning on only having to learn the first half of it -- placing my bets here that the wedding party will have gotten in by the time I've circled around the popular part of the tune a couple of times (always going for a level of "good enough" these days for weddings. Actually a nice skill! Saves energy, more bang for the buck). But I'm grateful though - I had a hunch last week that I'd have to play something new so I was reading through a bunch of things just to get my reading chops warmed up.


Speaking of chops: after three weeks of focused practice both my harp chops and my singing chops are FINALLY starting to get in order!! It's so much funner when you can actually do the things you should be capable of doing. But it's also interesting -- I'm reminded of how muscular it all is. Almost like an athlete, we really have to stay in shape. And I've also been very focused on developing the right kind of strength this time around. It takes longer for it to sound good but the payback is so nice and I'm hoping more long term rewarding.


I'm also practicing conducting these days, but that's another story. :-)


Ok I'm not sure actually if anybody in the whole world cares about the kind of stuff that I wrote in this post hahah, but thankfully nobody was forced to read it! I enjoyed word vomiting my thoughts though, so at least somebody got some joy lol.

© 2019 by ANNA JALKÉUS. For more info, please contact anna(at)annajalkeus.com.

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