I love beginnings. If I could start a project every month I probably would – I have at least three in my mind right now that I’m holding back on consciously so I can keep making time for the ongoing ones that I enthusiastically started over the past few months and years. But usually these are solo projects.
Last month I met with a composer to read some tarot cards. We are working on the early stages of a project that might eventually become something real.
You know that I have long loved the tarot. This is a thing I’ve mentioned many times before. I read for myself all the time and use the images and the structures in the cards as a way to activate my intuition and as a means of self-exploration.
You know that for my IDRS recital I worked hard on a solo oboe piece based on the Major Arcana of the Marseilles Tarot. It was a piece I was thrilled to find in a publisher’s back catalog – because a difficult and intimidatingly modern work for solo oboe based on the Tarot was basically made in heaven just for me – but although I did perform it I never quite got IN. I loved the concept, and I conquered the technique, but it never turned out to be the piece for me, or one that I could love.
I still adore the Tarot and I still play the oboe. I want a signature piece to represent that overlap for me, and that’s what I chatted with this composer about over the summer. We decided to meet three times, at the Autumn Equinox, the Winter Solstice, and the Spring Equinox, to throw cards which might ultimately give us insight into the concept and form and structure of the piece.
The busier I am the more I try to ensure that my time is being used well. I turn down gigs that seem to be too much angst for the gratification I will receive – if the contractor appears to not have his act together, or if I suspect that I won’t be used to my best potential, or if I anticipate a weak musical experience that will make me feel bad about myself. I turn down work that doesn’t pay enough, because I’d rather make nothing and have the time to spend with my family and my own projects. (Though I’ll take work that looks to be the RIGHT kind of challenge even if the money is poor or the driving is ridiculous.)
This project, in contrast, is nebulous. Will this certainly be a thing we bring to completion? No, not certainly. If we do, will it absolutely be my new favorite piece of all time? Not necessarily. Am I confident that the money for the commission will come from somewhere or that the ultimate cost will feel like money well spent? No. But – Is it enjoyable and inspiring to start somewhere, and to explore what comes of the collaboration? Absolutely.
We are meeting because starting a project is the only way to get to the middle and finally to the conclusion of it. We are meeting because by drawing cards together we can read them together, and come to a mutual understanding about the ultimate shape of this journey. And we are meeting because it’s fun for two creative women to come together late at night and explore ideas.
Stay tuned. This is something I’ll keep you posted on.