Time: 6:30 a.m. Sunday. I shouldn’t be up this early, having been up late working at a concert by my employer, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, but here I am. How could I disappoint you kind readers by not writing this and sleeping in instead?
Place: At my main computer, admiring the morning light playing on the layer of dust covering every single thing in my vicinity.
Reading: As mentioned above, this is a Reno Chamber Orchestra concert week, which means that just about everything else has been set aside temporarily. I am still reading Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live, and even returned briefly to reading a book I have sadly abandoned for a while, the exhibition catalog Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy.
Viewing: This was even more strongly impacted by the Orchestra week – no films, other than the last several minutes of Red River on Turner Classic Movies while stuffing Reno Chamber Orchestra programs, no television other than a little news in the morning, and no art of any kind.
Listening: A mixed bag. I listened to about half of the recent two-CD release of John Tavener’s beautiful The Veil of the Temple, one of my recent Amoeba Records San Francisco purchases. When I say I listened to half of the CD set, that means that I listened to about an hour of music, which represents perhaps 15% of the composition’s full length, listed at seven hours at Tavener’s website and at eight hours in most references (the work was much abridged, obviously, for the CD). I was also in the mood for some downbeat relationship music, and Sarah McLachlan is, for me, the go-to person in this area. I say that in a very affectionate way, because I love her and her music. After listening to both Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, still for me her best and one of my desert island CDs, and her more recent Laws of Illusion, my reaction was, weirdly, less musical than technical. As compared with Fumbling‘s very natural soundscape, Laws of Illusion was produced and mixed with a very in-your-face acoustic. Everything seems compressed within an inch of its life, with Sarah’s voice roughly the same volume whether she’s singing full-throatedly or at a whisper. Presumably this was done to make the eventual mp3 sound better, but I long for the days of recordings with plenty of air around the voices and instruments. Sarah has a new album coming out soon, and will be performing at Lake Tahoe in June. I’m reasonably sure I’ll buy both the CD and one of the (rather high-priced) concert tickets!
Blogging: Two more installments of my southeast Asia travel journal appeared this week. The entry from Day 7 wasn’t too eventful, I have to admit, but Days 8 and 9 featured some fairly interesting visits and nice photos. At the end of Day 9 I have just arrived in Vietnam. Just shy of half way through the trip, my wanderings in Vietnam and Cambodia are yet to come. I should have a couple more installments of the journal appearing this week.
Pondering: What it feels like to be a chunk of flotsam being tossed about on the sea of the emotions and experiences and expectations of others. From a Zen perspective, simply riding the waves is the best path. But, as I also wrote last week, I do unfortunately still long to be able to exercise a little meaningful control over the events of my life. Right now, pondering, thinking, is too hard and depressing. I think I’ll stick to action for the moment, and leave the thinking to those better suited to it.
Anticipating: Getting through this next difficult week, and maybe then finding a few days to run away to somewhere pleasant.
Gratuitous Sarah McLachlan Video of the Week: “Wait,” one of my favorites from from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.