Sunday, May 08, 2005

Showing Off the Baby

The spring jazz concert at the college was last night. All of the groups played well; I was very happy with the job done by my two combos, and it was enjoyable (and very weird at the same time) to sit in the audience and listen to the big band instead of being onstage.

The high point of my night came at the close of the Combo Too program when they played my new arrangement of "Nature Boy." It's probably still not a finished product (composers and arrangers are always tweaking; indeed, I made the last change during the dress rehearsal), but it was at quite a presentable stage of development. The guys played it well and the vocalist totally wowed 'em.

I said something in rehearsal a while back about composing/arranging being the closest thing that any of us of the male species could ever come to having a baby (though, in retrospect, any creative endeavor would probably fit this category: art, prose, poetry, etc.). You labor over a tablet of staff paper (or Finale file, as it may be) to put your "baby" in writing, and then, the first time it's played, it's like a birth of sorts, because what has thus far only existed in your head and then on paper has finally turned into something tangible. The rehearsals are like the early days in the nursery, and then the first public performance is akin to showing your baby off to the world. When I get a copy of the CD of the concert, I'm sure I'll play it for everyone in sight, much like the proud new dad who shows off baby pictures (or, nowadays, posts them on his website).

(I realize that this almost seems like sacrilege, being written on Mother's Day as it is. I'm certainly not trying to marginalize the efforts of true mothers--after all, I'm the son, brother and nephew of some very good ones--but rather using the birth idea as a metaphor for the unusual relationship a creative person has with his or her creation.)

So yeah, I'm happy. I think I'll arrange and compose more now too; that usually happens, as I said last night, at a glacial pace, but the reward is definitely worth the effort. And now, all that's left of college teaching for the semester is to listen to juries on Tuesday and attend the "final exams" for the combos (since the true exam was last night's concert, we just meet up for a little bit to discuss the semester and then go eat somewhere). Since I have some things to teach at the college this summer, I'll enjoy the little break for a few weeks; with any luck, it'll be both relaxing and productive.

How do you not call Mom on Mother's Day and not get grief for it? Simple--have her be in another country on the big day. My folks are in Ireland for the first half of the month, so the usual things--calling, sending flowers, and even snail-mail cards--were not a possibility this year. I did send a nice e-card (they're able to check their email and do so regularly), but everything else will have to wait until they get back.

The machine thought the election was over already: Yesterday, I voted in the local election in Garland; the only thing on the ballot in my precinct (besides the mayor, who ran unopposed) was a couple of wet/dry provisions (namely, being able to sell beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores, and being able to sell mixed drinks in restaurants without using a "Unicard"). I did my civic duty and deposited the ballot in this little fax-machine-looking device, which was supposed to read it and take it in for storage. Mine, however, had trouble being read, and a little message appeared on the screen: DATA READING ERROR. PLEASE REINSERT AFTER BEEPS. That made sense and all, so I did in fact wait for it to beep at me...but not before being confused for a moment, because the all-caps LCD display made the word BEEPS look more like BEERS. (That would indeed be funny, and it would probably increase the signup rate for election workers by a large margin.)

Hey, jackass, stay off my tail, will you? Donkey schoen! I forgot this one yesterday: on Friday afternoon, while driving on a country road (yes, there is a "back way" between a few of my schools), I got stuck behind a truck pulling a trailer with a sign on it that read "CAUTION: SHOW MULES." I was amused by that at first, wondering how many people would actually attend a mule show. But ultimately, I realized what a big mess it would be if someone actually knocked the trailer over and the mules got out, though Eric and his fellow traffic reporters would probably get a kick (heh) out of reporting a "mule spill" instead of the usual fuel spill.

And oddly enough, when the road widened and I got alongside the trailer, no mules were to be found. Either "ol' Jenny" was asleep and out of sight, or the mules were already at the show and the driver was just joyriding with the trailer...weird.


Eric Grubbs said...

Mule spill? That would be interesting.

One morning a few months ago, cows were all over I-35W in north Fort Worth. They were rounding them up during the rush hour and traffic was all jammed up.

Kev said...

Cows in traffic, huh? Bet it took a while to get everything moo-ving again. ;-)

I remember reading a while back about a truck that overturned near LBJ and I-30 in Mesquite; the truck was carrying 256 goats! (To continue in the corny vein from above, that would be a baaad situation. Thank you, I'm here all week.)

Jazzy G said...

We should drop 3 big tuba-sized dent balls on the foot of your choice. That way any mothers who come across this won't complain that you didn't experience any extreme physical pain during the creative process.