Friday, September 02, 2005

And now it's begun

MilongaI got up at 4:50 pm dragged myself to the music department's "mixer" get together today at Oxy. It starts at 5:00, so I'm obviously not doing too well...I called a friend to bookend it -- you call to say you're doing something difficult, you do it, then you call back to say you did it and debrief -- because I really thought I was going to puke.

I had to meet the new composition teacher, the one who was chosen over my dear professor Bruno, the one who looks like he could have been born in the 80s. If I didn't go to this, I knew I would be in big trouble for the weekend of "Labour Day" -- with the "U" in there, HH!

Just breathed in real deep and let myself be present and open. Objective: say hello, introduce myself, don't be too self-deprecating, tell him who I am and my circumstances, and make a point to see him next week. Other than than, JUST KNOW THAT NO MATTER WHAT, I AM OKAY.

One last breath and walk into the quad...and I get the warmest welcome and hug from the orchestra leader and conducting professor! The man who reamed my ass a few years ago because I hadn't got my piece and the parts to him quick enough for his people to rehearse (ooh, I deserved it though). What a shock...really happy to see me.

Then right away I connected with the lovely class piano teacher, whose class I took from to pass piano proficiency from. So lovely...we talked about hand analysis, web design, music... so encouraging and a very wonderful woman.

We eventually ran made our way to Prof Myers, the composition guy... and he couldn't have been nicer and more encouraging! I introduced myself as The Oldest Senior You're Ever Meet (he did assure me that he had been born well before I started Oxy in 1978, but I'm thinking maybe two years earlier at the most!). Poor man, he's only been in California for two weeks so I'm sure he was shell-shocked, and he's obviously the youngest man on the team here...but he is very, very nice. I asked about office hours and class times (if I wanted to be around other composers) -- but even as I write this, I don't want to use my time like that, I need to focus and write.

I told him that I needed to finish so my mom could die in peace and not have to haunt me to finish the darn thing! HAHAHA, I thought.

"Nothing like a little pressure." Calm. Grounded.

"I know."

"But you know, we'll just focus on the work. That's how things get done."


That's it, plain old relief. Focus on the work, stay in the moment, and that's how things get done. This can work. I AM OKAY!

I left him with an assurance we'd meet next week, and proceeded to get another great big hug (when the hell did I get so "huggy" I don't even know!) from my prof buddy Simeon, who promised me we'd BOTH graduate this year as he was in the middle of writing his dissertation at UCLA. I also met the jazz improvisation teacher (how cool is that?!) and the new electronic music teacher, a very beautiful woman, strangely enough. (And yes, they did have to split Bruno's job in two. ;) Feeling very comfortable as I walked with Simeon out to the parking lot, and relieved that the "hello" from my advisor, the department head, went okay as well.

And who do I see in coming into the parking lot area to get his car? The Man himself -- Bruno, looking fantastic -- happy, healthy, relaxed, in his skin. He obviously didn't mean to run into all of us -- and I was feeling incredibly disloyal in being there NOT to see him -- but he sure handled himself well as everyone, EVERYONE was waving hello and warmly greeting him as well (except for... well, I best leave that part out). And the new comp guy came by too, and there I was standing with my composition professors, past and present. (Did I mention that I'd also said hello last year -- and hugged! -- my first professor from 1980?! His wife and Bruno are good friends (she's the French prof and it's fab to hear them speak French) and she's been one of his best supporters through the whole tenure search -- so I guess my world is just coming together, eh?

(I love that I'm saying "my world" again about college, about Oxy. Again, more relief. More comfortable in MY own skin.)

Anyhoo, assured that I'm not on his shit list (why would I be that?! Au contraire, I'm on a GREAT list with Mr. Bruno), I left, happy, with a worldwind emotional breakdown working it's way up the further west I drove on the 134...

Called dearest Heidi to bookend and just get support, but those tears wouldn't fall. That's okay, it's just okay to feel... good.

I'm going to take myself to see The Constant Gardener, which Heidi and Andrew say is terrific, and will give me a large perspective. I just want to see something GOOD, something GROWNUP and ADULT, to be inspired by good work and be taken away by a story and to visit another world (Kenya). Hand Teacher calls it "filling the well."

So I've begun. (And yes, that's the piece I'm working on now :)