Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It's the morning of my last full day here, and I actually made it to breakfast, something I haven't done in over a week. Here's the way my "real-life" schedule worked out in the end:

9:30ish Wake up, eat cereal and OJ in my studio.
10:15ish Start to think about working.
10:45 Start working. Slowly.
11:45 Start listening for lunch basket delivery.
12:00 Start looking out the window for lunch basket delivery.
12:15 Lunch!
12:30 Starting productive period.
3:00 Break, shower.
3:30 Really on a roll now.
5:00 Have to stop, unfortunately, to return lunch basket and go to dinner. The only problem with my schedule here: dinner comes when I'm working my best.
5:45 Email
6:30 Dinner.
7:30 Usually someone's presentation.
8:30 More email, blog, MySpace upkeep, chatting, ping pong, a movie.
10:00 Impromptu party or open studio.
12:30 Go to bed.

Not as ambitious or productive as I first set out, but one must be realistic. I should have worked more in the evenings, probably, but the few times I tried I got almost nothing done.

All told, I "finished" a 60-page draft of the entire Gloryana libretto, minus most of the lyrics, wrote two big songs from the first act (music and lyrics), and sketched a third lyric. Maybe I'll get to finish it today. Also, Eddie and I wrote an entire new song for Meet John Doe and got a good start on a second, plus a pile of little book rewrites. Not bad!

Tomorrow, I catch the 8:15AM(!) bus home from Keene, then on Thursday I fly to Memphis for four days of music and research for Gloryana. After that, a few more weeks of work polishing John Doe and I'm down to DC to start rehearsals!

Thanks to everyone who's been reading this, it's been a great outlet for my stuck-in-the-woods thoughts. Though I can't say I've had the proverbial life-changing experience, I certainly came to understand my own creative process a lot more, something I hope to be able to recreate away from here. There is a sense of freedom here, as if you can try anything and it might just be good. An "edit later" attitude, which is so valuable and sometimes so hard to find under the pressures of daily life, when every second counts and every word and note feels like it should be perfect right off the bat, so as not to squander what precious writing time you get. The sense of community is also a terrific boon-- there are a lot of people out there doing amazing work, struggling the same way, trying to communicate something, and, it turns out, most of them live in Brooklyn, so I'll be seeing a lot more of them.

As for the rest of you, see you at the show!

Friday, January 05, 2007

The week ends and things are looking up. My block, it turns out, was created by being under the weather with no other symptoms than having no words or notes to put on paper and being tired all the time. Three days of much sleeping seems to have corrected that and I'm back on track. A few pangs of homesickness, almost completely remedied by going into town to the Petersborough Historical Society tonight for their "MacDowell Downtown" evening, held on the first Friday of each month. Tonight, they were showing "Lady in the Wings", the 1950s Hallmark of Fame movie about the MacDowells, Marian, especially. Seeing a 50-year-old movie about my life of the past 3 weeks was very strange and very moving. So little has changed, down to the lunch baskets and the hours of the meals, all the buildings look the same, everything. Really brought home the incredible tradition I've been a part of.

Spent several hours after the movie drinking red wine in an Iranian visual artist/architect's studio with another visual artist and a Japanese-American/Swedish translator trying not to look too ignorant while they discussed "theory" and Georges Bataille and Michel Foucault while in the background someone's laptop played Björk singing "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun" in Icelandic. You know, basically what I'd be doing at home.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Had a lousy first day of the new year. Terrible, depressing weather and a miserable day of work coupled to make me feel hopelessly marooned in the middle of nowhere. The work problems, I think, came from forcing myself to work on a project which is completely stumping me and which I didn't want to work on but felt I should. The result: no productive work done on that project and none on the one I wanted to be working on. I watched a couple DVDs from the library: a film called "The Best Thief in the World" by Jacob Kornbluth, starring Mary Louise Parker, and a collection of animation shorts by George Griffin. Both worth seeing, probably more enjoyable when they're not methods of distracting one from the work one should be doing. Maybe I'll go back to work tonight and try the project I want to be working on. Who knows. Trying not to look at the day as a forecaster of the whole year.

New Years Eve was a great success. Pitchers of Ketel One martinis, great music, starting with several hours of Motown gems (Edwin Starr is my new hero), a roaring fire. See pics for some impressionistic shots of the room.

Picture of the MacDowell's music room from the tour the other day. The piano belonged to composer Louise Talma, who spent many of her birthdays here.

It snowed! Not much, but enough to be picturesque, at least, and enough to capture the deer, fox and bear(!) tracks on my lane.