It seems like years since I posted here — it’s only been five days, but things have been a bit crazy, and I’ve been consistently sleep-deprived for a couple of weeks. Why? Well you probably all know that I married into Red Sox fandom. And The Stations That Be insist on broadcasting baseball post-season games with start times after 8:00. It’s enough to make me move to the Midwest…
But in between the baseball games, there’s been other stuff going on.
On Thursday, I headed over to the Foreign Service Institute, which helps retiring Foreign Service Officers find their next life steps. The Institute runs over a few weeks; one session is a “So you think you want to be a writer” type thing. I’d done the panel once before and had a *wonderful* time. This time, the panel make-up was a bit different, and there was some pretty blatant shaming of genre writing, which made the session a bit less enjoyable. Still, several FSOs came up after and thanked me for sharing my knowledge, so I think I reached some folks. (And seriously — can’t we all get along? I don’t slam people who write in Serious Genre X or Y; why do they feel the need to sniff at me?)
On Saturday, I headed up to Catonsville, Maryland, to teach two sessions of a class on novel writing. The class, sponsored by Maryland Romance Writers, was timed to help out folks who are doing NaNoWriMo this year, and sure enough there were a few NaNo-ers in the audience. There were about 25 people overall, which was a nice turnout, and everyone had truly insightful questions, which made for an even better day. I spoke about Beginnings and Middles (and I thought I was going to be speaking about Ends, at the last minute, but a previously-scheduled-but-unknown-to-me speaker saved me at the last minute ) All in all, the class was a great chance to meet some new writers, see some old friends, and give back to MRW.
On Sunday, I attended the first of this year’s “What Makes It Great” workshops — where a music educator, Rob Kapilow, takes apart a specific piece of music (with the assistance of student performers from local conservatories), then the musicians play through the entire piece once we’ve been all educated. The piece for last night was Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. Alas, part of “what makes it great” is that the first movement is wildly innovative and new and muscular and violent and the second and third movements are staid and traditional, which made for a bit of a skewed class. Also, the sonata features a violin (and piano), and I’m not a huge fan of violin. Or sopranos. Or small shrieking bats. ::shrug:: But I did learn some things, and Kapilow was energetic and enthusiastic as ever.
Alas, I’m grappling with a real problem: I am driven to DISTRACTION by people who talk around me during public performances. We’ve had a particularly bad streak lately — the half dozen tweens who talked non-stop during GRAVITY (including, ironically, the beginning of the film, where Ryan says that she’s attracted to space because of the silence.) And during last night’s class, one couple chattered through the first ten minutes of the class (but finally quieted when glared at by me and others), and the woman behind us spoke during the class *and* the performance, with such vital observations as, “She’s really quite excellent, playing that piano!” and “She’s actually reading the music, will you look at that?” and “Can you believe how good this is?” — all spoken at normal, conversational levels.
I’m not sure what to do. I’ve essentially decided not to see any movie in the theater, unless it mandates a huge screen (e.g., GRAVITY), and for those, I’ll try to go to weekday performances. But I’m not willing to give up live music and live theater. But the problem of talking audience members is getting dramatically worse, not better.
Thoughts? Plans? Options?
For now, though, I get to dive into a day of writing. Poor Zach. Poor Anna. We’re heading toward the Black Moment, and they don’t even know what’s waiting for them…