People have assumed, with reason, that my separation from GHP this summer must be emotionally trying for me.
It’s not. From the moment I decided last summer that I needed a break, I have not had second thoughts. I awoke one morning a couple of weeks ago from a dream about the opening meetings during preplanning that caused a twinge, but this past week, as I helped everyone get the program up and running, I had no regrets nor waves of bittersweet nostalgia.
On the contrary, it was a very good eight days, omitting always the glitches that recur every year no matter what we do to try to prevent them. I was happy to see all the returning staff and to meet the new ones. I discovered the pleasures of CJ’s Pub & Pool. The students arrived on Sunday, and it was as marvelous as always. “Good,” I thought, “the kids are here. But they’re not my kids.” And I was totally OK with that.
It was very odd driving out of the campus and passing West Hall as I left Tuesday morning. There was a sense that I was not supposed to be doing that, that strands of my being were being pulled back towards the campus. And of course being at GHP is like the best dramedy series ever, so I felt as if I were turning off the TV in the middle of an episode: you always want to know what happens next.
But that soon passed, and it wasn’t even a major twinge, to be honest. No, my decision to stay in my labyrinth this summer was the right one, and now I’m getting ready to do all those things I said I would do.
It was with some alarm, therefore, that I looked at the calendar in the kitchen this morning and realized that it seemed that many days were taken up with out-of-town duties (some back at GHP), which would preclude my getting any work done at all.
I have exactly seven weeks before I have to report for preplanning at school. Of those forty-nine days, ten are unavailable as work days. (Four more days I’m out of town, but I’m with my painting teacher from GHP: she’s going to teach me all those things I failed to learn forty years ago.)
That leaves thirty-nine days to do my work. I should probably do a daily post cataloging in boring detail what I accomplished each day. It won’t interest you, necessarily, but it will help keep me focused. We’ll call it Summer Countdown. Unless you can suggest a better name for the series in the comments.
I’ve already emailed the director of the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra to ask if it’s OK for me to include some solo work in our piece, and a piano if we provide the pianist, and he’s already responded affirmatively to both. My plan, in case I haven’t said, is to work up five fragmentary sketches so that he can choose which one would be most interesting and most playable, and then I’ll compose that piece.
Of course, I’ll also have four other sketches that I can eventually turn into full pieces, so that’s all to the good.
Also yesterday I did a couple of sketches, just to keep going with that project. Mike will be glad to know that they actually look like him. Either I’m getting better or Mike is just easier to draw.
So there we are.