Hear the grass, it sings

18 11 2019

Oy, this semester.

I think I bitched earlier in the term about the hassle of creating new notes for a new textbook, but holy mother of pete, whattafuckin hassle.

And I’m teaching a writing-intensive course for the first time, which, while I enjoy, is also more work than a non-writing-intensive course.

(Not too much more work: given that the regular version already required two 10-page research papers, the add-ons are just that, add-ons. Still, more work.)

Then there’s the second job, which is fine, I like who I work for, the work is even sometimes interesting, I get along well with my boss, but, y’know, it’s hours on that that I don’t have for. . . anything else. As I told my parents: it’s good that I have so much work, but it also sucks that I have so much work.

Next semester should be so much better (notes written!), but in meantime, I’ve used some of that money I’ve earned for one of my favorite Speyside whiskies—and may end up picking up an Islay whisky, to boot.

~~~

When I was young I sang all of the time. I wasn’t a great talent, but I was good enough.

Then I kinda stopped—apartment living will do that—so that when I sang one season for a local choir I was aghast at how bad my voice was. I got better in the singing, but still, aghast.

Then I pretty much stopped singing altogether, and SURPRISE, my voice now sucks.

Well, mah friends, I am here to turn that around. It is now winter, which means the windows are closed, and while I have little time I do have enough to shower every day so: shower singing!

I am presuming that my voice wobbles because I haven’t used it, and that if I sing every day in the shower it should get stronger. I’m thinkin’ it’ll be like my (long unused) guitar: you gotta work to keep it in tune.

I think I forgot this lesson because I used to sing so often that it didn’t occur to me that I was, in fact, keeping it tuned up. Then the choir thing left me so aghast that I couldn’t really admit that my voice wobbled. Then I finally got over myself and thought, Criminy, Terri, just sing, already.

Lynda Barry once wrote in her old comic that if you want to sing, you should sing, even if you can’t.

(Maybe it wasn’t her, but I think it was, because Lynda Barry is sensible like that.)

And if it wasn’t her? The wisdom holds: If you want to sing, you should sing, even if you can’t.





Just sing

7 01 2014

The great Gotham Rock Choir experiment: how’d it go?

I had fun. There are some truly terrific singers in the Choir—some are folks who came to New York to do theatre, got sidetracked (by the need for rent money) into straight jobs, but who still want to perform, others who happened to discover that they could really sing—and by the time of our performance, in mid-December, we sounded pretty damned good. And, quite apart from the singing, the people (altos, represent!) are pretty damned great.

I’m glad I did it, but I won’t be doing it again. I’m just not that good.

This isn’t a professional choir, and it’s not as if I’m tone-deaf, but I was rarely comfortable with my voice. It got better over the course of the cycle—my range was stretched in both directions—but I couldn’t count on my voice locking into the groove. If I sat near stronger singers, I could glide in alongside them, but my voice on its own couldn’t be trusted.

Which really sucks. I could hear the way it should sound in my head, but what came out of my mouth was just. . . eh.

And that bummed me out. I want to be good, and I’m not.

So no more GRC for me, at least as a participant. I did say that maybe I’d try to rejoin again in the summer, but that’s a long shot. I don’t think my voice will get strong enough for me to say, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’

Of course, I did do this, and I’m glad I did. I hope to stay in touch with folks from the Choir, and I’ll happily sit in their audience.

But onstage again? I don’t think so.





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.