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Saturday, July 04, 2009

The pocket of bad news (and other things)

A little over a week ago, my uncle (and godfather) Paul died. Here are links to articles in the Leader Post and CBC news, and a CBC podcast from the day after. For some reason, the accident gave me a little bit of existential clarification: I've spent so much time trying to "figure out" existence, and I feel quite certain now that it never was a riddle. Just is, I guess.

Back in April, I entered a choral piece I had spent some two years writing avoiding (but ultimately completing) into a big competition in the US. When I say big, I mean winning would have involved a $5000 prize, flights and hotels in New York paid for, sessions with the conductor/choir to talk about interpretation, a performance at Carnegie Hall, an archival recording, a big gala event—and no entry fee, even. After not hearing for months, I figured my entry must have miraculously gone astray or missed the deadline despite my ExpressPost precaution, but lo and behold I finally got a congratulatory email saying I'd made it to semifinals (and still going strong). I guess I got my hopes up a little too much, but it seemed pretty optimistic at the time. Anyway, the follow-up email said I got through semifinals again, but missed the very final cut. The final cut! Well, that in itself is pretty encouraging, considering my expectations in my last blog post, but at the same time the biggest letdown. Because I got so far, I do have the option of applying for their $10,000 recording grant (which is not really an option for me). Better luck next year, perhaps.

In grad school news, I am not nearly as on top of my MA committee/paper as I ought to be (or ought to already have been 2 years ago). I've always felt like I'm bothering profs by asking them anything, which has made me pretty self-reliant but out of touch with the department (and, needless to say, completely unknown to them). But honestly, a single email got the ball rolling in a matter of days and things are looking like they're at least moving forwards (none too soon, since I'm supposed to have my committee and topic mapped out and submitted for scrutiny by the end of August (which is about a year's extension already)). I've been getting headaches more often, accompanied by the worst nausea yet, which makes me even more leery about keeping up my studies. I found it very hard, in the first year, to think with the quickness and profoundness required in seminars, and speak with the eloquence that seems to come so naturally to everybody else. Depending on how (or if) my next headache-inspection goes, I might be on some equally thought-obfuscating medication this time around, as well. At least I can turn out "exceptionally well written" papers, even if they don't really have anything new to say. Sigh.

But despite these troubles, life is good; I just have a tendency to obsess about the same old concerns-of-the-moment (probably because they're so chronic). In a little over a week, I'm going back to Saskatchewan for a two-week vacation, which I'm looking so forward to.

On a completely unrelated tangent, the most popular page on my website—by a very large margin—is I am awesome. People like to use it as their forum avatars/signatures, hehe. Lot of awesome people out there.

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