My eyes are the stars in your deepest night

4 09 2013

From “Requiem” by Anna Akhmatova:

No, not under the vault of another sky, not under the shelter of other wings. I was with my people then, there where my people were doomed to be.

Instead of a Forward

During the years of the Yezhovschina, I spent seventeen months standing outside the prison in Leningrad, waiting for news. One day someone recognized me. Then a woman with lips blue from the cold, who was standing behind me, and of course had never heard of my name, came out of the numbness which affected us all. She whispered in my ear (for we all spoke in whispers there): “Can you describe this?”

I said, “I can.”

Then something resembling a smile slipped over what had once been her face…

(Wholesale blog theft from Brad DeLong)

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Sing! Sing! Sing!

4 09 2013

I’ve been trying to change my defaults—at least, that’s been my story.

A while ago I declared I would make the attempt to get my ass out of my desk chair and into the city, that instead of offering excuses for my nos (noes? no’s?), I’d just say yes.

It’s worked in all kinds of small ways (especially when it involves meeting friends at a bar), but it hasn’t led to any kind of ongoing commitments.

My friend E., to whom I had mentioned my (honestly, fake) desire to say yes more often, had the temerity to take the idea and run with it. Let’s do Gotham Rock Choir, she said!

Um, okay, I said. What it is?

A choir! In New York! That sings rock songs!

Um, okay.

It’ll be fun.

Um, okay.

(Un)fortunately, we weren’t able to make it into the winter/spring round, but E managed to partake of the summer round. I had to teach at night (when they rehearse), so, darn, I couldn’t do it.

E. didn’t really like it at first, but, better woman than I, she stuck with it, and ended up having a gas. I’m going to do this again, she said. You wanna?

Uhhh. . . .

Come on! It was fun!

Uhhh. . . .

Just go to the first rehearsal, see if you like it.

Oooookaaaaayyy.

And  I went. (And she went. . . cf 5:28.)

And it kicked my ass.

I had a decent enough voice when I was younger—nothing special, but enough to carry a tune in high school musicals—but even that mediocre decency dropped with disuse. I used to be able to nail some very low notes, and now, pfft, now my voice bottoms into flatness.

The other folk in the choir? Not flat. Pretty damned good, in fact.

So I was thinking, Ohhh, man, do I really want to do this? I’m not very good, my interest in performing died with my youth, and man! a commitment!

And then a bunch of us hit a nearby bar and I was able to talk with some smart and funny people and I thought, Hmm, hanging out with these folks wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. And, as I told one woman, Yeah, this kinda kicked my ass, but given that I can be real bitch sometimes, it’s probably not the worst thing to get my ass kicked.

So. I have to decide by next Tuesday whether to go all in.

We’ll see.