Many thanks to Geertjan Wielenga for inviting me to do this interview!
This morning I awoke with the brilliant light of the sun coming through the window. It was strange to see such bright light as it it has been quite some time since I last remember experiencing it like this. I think I will always associate this kind of intense sun and deeply rich blue skies with California…
Out of coffee at home, I walked across the street and picked up a coffee and sat outside briefly just to sit and take in the sun. The temperature was cool but refreshing and paired nicely with the warm light. Wanting to move a little bit before having to start work, I decided to take a small, slow walk around the block before returning home to start my work day.
Walking slowly, the gentle breeze was a stark contrast to the gusting winds of the weekend. The leaves and the grass were a a vivid green. It was very a very peaceful morning walk.
I have been thinking that lately I have not been satisfied with my job. The work is fine but there are a few people who have become very difficult to work with and I find myself becoming too often frustrated and upset over it all. I simply do not like to be this way. The cycles of frustration and acceptance have certainly gotten old, and most evenings as of late I’ve found myself with little energy or desire to work on more meaningful things (music and other personal projects).
Yesterday I heard sad news that my good friend’s father passed away in his sleep. It was a bit of a shock as I had known his father and remember him quite fondly as good humored and loving person…
I know my situation with work could be better, that I could not get so upset and just let things go, but when it goes in circles it is exhausting. I had already thought that my energies would be better spent focused again on music and other meaningful endeavors. Thinking of my friend’s father’s passing has only highlighted how quick life seems to go by, as well as how uninterested I have become in my daily job life as of late.
For now I have some pressing editing work to do with the Csound Journal. I hope in some ways that working on that and moving on back to other work on my software “blue” will help me to refocus and regain some perspective. I will certainly need to work on not allowing my job to get the better of me.
Time goes by slowly here in Rochester, and I am starting to feel time slowly wearing on me. I feel a sense that I need to make changes in my daily life. Reading poetry and taking walks while listening to Feldman has been exceptional as of late, and I am sure it will become clear soon what I should do next and how I can make the changes to become satisfied once again with my working day.
Ensemble: Electronic (blue, Csound)
This piece was premiered on March 8, 2010, at the Bohlen-Pierce Symposium in Boston, MA.
I often find myself lost in reminiscences of the past, observing not only the the memories themselves but also the experience of remembering those times. I am fascinated by how the happenings of today become the memories of tomorrow, how the passage of time transforms these memories, and how our relationships to these life events change as time passes. This piece is but a small meditation on the journeys within the times of our lives.
This piece was composed using the equal-tempered version of the Bohlen-Pierce Scale.
For more information about the Bohlen-Pierce Symposium and scale:
Already it is near the end of December and looking back both at the month and the year, I find it a curious how quickly it seems to have gone by, yet how full it has been with changes and events. The transition from being residents of California to inhabitants of upstate New York has certainly brought with it many new experiences. Looking back through my calendar, I see that there were many other trips taken too.
It was certainly a year full of change, yet there were things that remained constants. Lisa and I were able to celebrate our one year anniversary together in Toronto which was fantastic. It was also very nice to be able to spend time with family and friends for the holidays. I’ve also been enjoying my Tai Chi practice a great deal recently, sparked on by a wonderful workshop in Detroit with Ben Lo and seeing Lenzie there.
The one constant of my life that has not had much attention though has been my music. All of the events of this year and commitments of my day job have left me somewhat lacking of energy to focus on music. I have also been at somewhat of a standstill creatively. I have been keenly aware of of my lack of progress musically lately and have made plans to focus on this area of my life more once we return to Rochester.
Otherwise, I am looking very forward to the new year and find myself more and more excited to push ahead with New Year’s resolutions and promises to myself. On the 31st I will be 31, and I looking forward to this new prime year of my life.
Standing on the balcony of our apartment I saw the most amazing thing: birds from all over the area were flying against the evening sky. The silhouettes of these birds were beautiful on the cold gray sky. They were not flying in a pattern but rather all heading in the same general direction South, perhaps beginning their migratory journey for the coming Winter, I do not know. I’ve heard of animals knowing when danger is coming before humans are able to discern these things and wondered if there was something else they might be flying away from…
It is almost sunset now and the birds have either stopped their travels for the night or they have all already passed us here now. Sitting here in dark room looking out the window, Winter feels not too far away. It is quiet now and time to reflect and wonder.
The past months have been some of the busiest of my life, filled with many great changes and challenges…
In the spring, we prepared for moving from California–both mentally and physically–and by the end of July, Lisa finished her long graduate school journey and finished her Ph.D. I am so proud of everything she has accomplished and for working tirelessly to achieve her goals.
In June we went our 7th Tai Chi camp with Lenzie. By this point in June we were both exhausted and going to camp was a wonderful way to rejuvenate ourselves. We worked hard in camp and had a wonderful time in the company of friends. It was bittersweet knowing it would be our last camp as locals but knowing we’ll always have opportunities to see our friends at future camps is a great comfort. It will be great to see how much we have all grown in Tai Chi and life when we all meet next year.
At the end of July, Lisa and I stopped by Vancouver before heading to Rochester for a small break and delayed honeymoon. The weather was sweltering when we first got there and we were both extremely exhausted from little sleep in the last days we were in Berkeley. We managed to get a good amount of rest in Vancouver as well as had a chance to explore the wonderful city. One of the highlights for me was walking around Stanley Park; it was exhausting at the time but it was a beautiful walk and I feel better off for it. We had some nice meals and enjoyed the city very much.
After Vancouver we arrived in Rochester. We stayed the first night here with Holly and Melina, which was wonderful to see such warm friends after leaving California. Afterwards we stayed in our new apartment a couple days until our movers came and we set up our apartment. The first week was full with getting situated. Purchasing a car was of high importance for living in this city and so for the first time in 9 years we bought a car! A very different change in living. Luckily we do not live too far from many things, but just far enough to require a car, so we do not have to drive much at all.
Since then we have slowly gotten settled in. The first month and a half here was still extremely busy. Lisa moved very quickly from being a student to being a professor, having to plan courses and then teach them. For me, life was still very busy as my job work was full-steam with everyone working on the new release and I had a writing obligation that took up my free time. We took Labor Day weekend off to drive to Toronto and spend the weekend just relaxing (though I still had to spend time writing that weekend, which was a bit of a damper). We had a lovely omakase dinner at Hiro Sushi and took some nice walks in the city. It was nice to be in Canada…
A couple weeks ago, I was very happy that the release at my company went out and my writing obligation was finished. Since then it has been mostly a great decompression on many levels and now it feels like I can breathe and relax for the first time in a long time. We are still getting things together in our apartment and still adjusting to life here, but I think we’ll be fine. There is much we miss from California, but the people are quite nice and the landscape very lush with trees, a lovely sight as they are beginning to hint at turning colors for Autumn. It will be nice to experience seasons once again, and it will be interesting to see how life unfolds here.
Life has been extremely busy as we are moving in just a few days to Rochester, NY. There’s certainly a number of things I have been meaning to write about but they will have to wait. However, I came across this news today and felt a need to post this. I’ve long admired and appreciated Merce Cunningham’s work and life in dance and art. I feel extremely fortunate to have gotten to see a number of his works performed in New York during the 50th anniversary of his company, as well as seeing Biped and other works here in Berkeley. The books I’ve read and videos I’ve seen about him and his company are still very thought provoking and enriching today.
I remember I was once in an elevator with him in New York–I think it was during the first of the “When Morty Met John” series–and I had wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed his work and to simply say thanks. Being that the elevator was full and that something like that would have been awkward, I never did end up talking to him. I think that was appropriate, but I hope wherever he is now he knows that there are many whom he touched with his work work and life.
I was standing in line at the grocery store today and found myself focused outside of myself, looking around at the store, and seeing how strange large grocery stores are. It was fascinating to be standing there, looking around with people wandering around the store, standing in line, talking, all amongst the countless number of items on the shelves, the unnatural light, the artificial floor…
While I was standing in line I found myself tapping into a musical sound world within my mind that I had not been in touch with in quite a while, filled with slow and gentle melodic fragments and quiet tones, rich and present, all floating by in their own time. I have not been working on much music recently, finding daily life going by quickly with one thing or another. Beyond all that, I have been thinking about the state of the musical world (from pop to dance to classical to computer to…), how it lives in society today, as well as my own connections with music, whether it be the music of others or be the music of my own creation.
So there I was, standing in a long line at the grocery store, and there I found myself once again in a state of experiencing things in a way that was familiar but also strange. It had been a long while since I can remember last being in that state of curiosity and observation. I think it was important to have made that connection to that experience today, even if briefly, to remember all the other experiences, to reconnect with the impressions and memories from the past, and to once again be in touch with that world of sound…
This past weekend I was once again able to attend one of Lenzie’s workshops. The two days were–as always–filled with a lot of information and great experiences. Lenzie often talks about how we get "little pieces of the puzzle" from all the experiences we have in Tai Chi, from our practice, workshops, camps, and lessons. The pieces of the puzzle at first might not make much sense but that we note it and file it away, and that later the pieces start to link up and we start to get an understanding of all of those gems. Certainly after this workshop I had a strong experience of this as it seemed that a few pieces of the puzzle in regards to articulation of the waist and sinking started to come together.
It was also great to see the members of the school there, both those whom we regularly see and those from out of town we get to see on occasions like this. It was also nice to meet new people as well as seeing other guests (it was particularly nice seeing Veera from Utah). It’s always great to get together with good people to learn and experience Tai Chi and to enjoy community and friendship.