October: looking back, looking ahead

Maybe it’s because late autumn’s path has begun curving toward winter, and the end of the year is in view. Maybe it’s because I’ve entered a new decade and I’m still getting my bearings in this next phase of life. Whatever the reason, my instinct in recent weeks has been to turn inward and live quietly.

Not that it’s been terribly difficult to “drop out,” so to speak: this fall has been the slowest gig season I can remember, and when darkness falls before five o’clock, I need very little coaxing to curl up on the sofa with a good book and a pot of tea. Making soup, roasting vegetables, spending quiet (there’s that word again) hours in conversation with a friend, walking alone through the city, running beneath riotously colored leaves in Prospect Park…these small, lovely moments were restorative and nourishing throughout October.

Oddly, I haven’t been singing much, publicly or otherwise. Gigs or no gigs, I usually at least sing through some vocalises every day (or most days, anyway), but the voice felt battened down, inflexible, and susceptible to strain throughout September and October. My voice and I have known each other for many years, and when it tells me it needs a break, I do my best to take heed.

I’ve been writing more, although not here on the blog, obviously, and certainly not on social media. With the exception of a few Yankees- and Aretha Franklin-related retweets in recent days (C.C. Sabathia and Brett Gardner are both returning! Aretha’s Amazing Grace documentary will finally be released!), I’ve largely stayed off social media, which has of late felt performative and silly, rather than connected. I may very well experience a rush of extroversion as the holiday fervor takes hold, posting and sharing and liking with abandon. But for now, it feels good to be homebound and reflective.

Looking ahead, I’m excited for the whirl and sparkle of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, all of which celebrate hearth, home, and time with loved ones. As far as my part-circumstantial, part-self-imposed chapter of exile from the flurry of gigs, singing, nights on the town, and general busy-ness, I think the proverbial page might be turning: I’ve got a voice lesson on the calendar this week and a handful of gigs booked for December.

In October, I…
Blogged about: September.

Watched: The Man in the High Castle. So much time had elapsed between last season and this one, I struggled to keep up with all the intricate subterfuge in this compelling series, but the performances and art direction were as strong as ever. Lidia’s Kitchen. What can I say? I find cooking shows therapeutic, and Lidia is really good. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I enjoyed the novel by the same name, and the film adaptation (full of familiar faces from Downtown Abbey) was completely charming.

Read: The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. It’s been close to twenty years since I first read this novel, and let me tell you, Lily Bart’s dependency on men, self-sabotaging choices, and [SPOILER] fall from grace resonated very differently with me as a forty-year-old, married New Yorker than when I was a barely twenty-year-old West Coast girl venturing into adulthood for the first time. I read this for (squee!) book club and am looking forward to our discussion of Wharton’s merciless portrait of Gilded Age New York City’s upper crust and women’s lack of agency and autonomy. Edith Wharton’s prose is incisive, forthright, and elegant—she’s long been one of my favorite authors and it was a pleasure revisiting her work last month.

Listened to: Aida Cuevas! Live! The queen of mariachi performed a sold-out show here in NYC and she was a deeply generous, charismatic performer. Tea & Tattle podcast. It’s sew veddy, veddy British.

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