Musings (Day 206/365)

It only takes a lovely spring-like afternoon, a lovely meal in preparation, Mahler’s 9th Symphony, and two or three Hotel Miyako Specials, to make one feel nostalgic. Or in my case, self-satisfied.

I got a lot done on my winter break. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to do, but a lot of what I didn’t finish is being held up by stuff I need from others: tax forms, server glitches, that kind of thing. So I’ll return to work tomorrow with not a lot undone.

Foremost of all this “stuff” I got done is the sunflower waltz passage. No, I haven’t finished orchestrating it yet, but I did get it finished. Where it petered out yesterday, it now continues with one final repetition of the rising phrase (“our traveling habits have tired us”), then, as I predicted, closes with the “topaz tortoises” phrase, followed by a breaking up of the “Ah, William” phrase to bring us down.

Still some things to smooth out, as usual, but I think I’m done with it, enough for us to play with it on Tuesday.

I’ve been struck by a phrase from Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds, which I’m still reading: successive approximation. It describes perfectly the way I’ve worked on the music, especially this sunflower waltz, and the way we’ve been working on the staging. People think, erroneously, that these kinds of things get “created,” that we think them up and just write them down or do them.

But of course we don’t. We put something down, anything, and look at it. What’s missing? What’s wrong? Where could it go next? Is it a dead end? We erase, we change, we nudge it one way or the other. Each step is an approximation, and the truth is that the final product is just the last of our educated guesses.

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