July 1, 2014

Chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp*


It was going to be a really bad day.**  The ME is using me as a punching-bag again*** and I got out of bed in stages, saying, it is Monday, and I am going to my voice lesson.  I am going to my voice lesson.  All I have to do is crawl to the car, unlock the door, and put the key in the little hole.  Wolfgang knows the way.

It has been a really bad week for—not for singing, see previous about singing for sanity, but for attentive practise, so that I don’t feel a total fool going to sing for Nadia.†  After my voice slammed shut on me last Monday—which was actually rather alarming—I gave it two days off anything but folk songs and Leonard Cohen†† . . . and then I had stomach flu and all those deep breaths and gut-disturbing diaphragm action for singing seemed like a pretty bad idea, although I could (maybe) stop worrying about the slamming shut, which was probably germ related. †††

I did sing over the weekend—a little—and I noticed at church last night that I was making a noise.‡  But this morning, warming up, I felt like I’d Never Seen Any of This Music Before in My Life‡‡ and did not set out for my lesson in a very positive frame of mind.‡‡‡

But fate and body parts are often perverse little creatures.  I don’t even know how to explain what happened;  if I try it’ll sound like gibberish to non-singers and will probably make those of you who would understand what I was talking about if I could explain it properly fall down laughing.  The point is I made what Nadia herself called a Technical Leap Forward having to do with waking up the ‘mask’ sinuses and persuading all the various bits and pieces—tongue and soft palate in particular—to clear out of the way and let the sound resonate.   Gleep.  And she took me up to the high B-flat I need for both Batti, Batti§ and I Want to Be a Prima Donna—I didn’t know it, of course, although I knew we were getting up there—and which I do erratically have at home when I’m focussed on not paying attention and shutting myself down because I Can’t Possibly Do That, so I know the frelling thing exists.  And as she pointed out, grinning, I sang it with no strain and no muscle tension.  It’s the lack of tension that was so astonishing—she said, yes, your support has come a little adrift, but we can fix that.§§  You’ve made real progress today.

And . . . golly . . .  you know . . . I may yet make a singer.

* * *

* Although everything is relative.  See next footnote.

** It’s been a bad hellhound day for weeks.  With the very, very occasional exception, Darkness more often than Chaos, neither of them is eating.  The only reason they haven’t starved themselves to death by now is because I keep force feeding them.  They haven’t eaten a scrap of anything today, voluntarily, for example.  This is utterly demoralising for me even when the ME isn’t bad.  It’s not the taste of the drug;  they get three meals and only two of them are dosed.  If they are having a unique nauseous reaction to this stuff—nausea which lasts through the third meal—that would explain it, but I doubt it’s that simple, and neither the vet nor I can ask them how they feel or why they’ve decided food is the enemy.^  Meanwhile although their output is improved it’s still far from . . . um . . . a neat pick-up so we persevere.  Wearily.

^ Although if it were that simple, anorexia in humans would be less scary and less difficult to treat.  I remind myself of this sometimes, on my knees beside the dog bed, stuffing cold sticky food down recoiling hellhounds.

*** I did survive^ my first official Samaritan duty shift, thank you for asking.  It was a relatively quiet night which given that I was not at my best is probably just as well,^^ although I need some demanding shifts to get through the list of things your mentor has to support you through before you’re turned loose to function mentor-less.  I did write a few texts^^^—and I hope you eventually get over that initial shock of, oh, you poor thing, let me give you a cup of tea and a biscuit.#

The next fortnight is going to be a little unnecessarily exciting however since I’m still at the tremulous beginning of learning Sam weekly duty-shift stamina and I’ve got Street Pastor shifts two weeks in a row too.  This is from the swap with Eleanor—she took my Friday night before a Saturday-morning Sam training in June and I’m taking her Saturday in July while she’s touring great swathes of America with her husband.  Meanwhile the ME needs to clear off.

^ . . . I’m here.  I’m writing a blog entry.  This is not the new Zombie McKinley.  Breath on the mirror and everything.

^^ And I’m going to assume that hang-ups are not in response to my American accent.

^^^ My mentor, whom we will call Pythia, has a very good line:  if you had written what this person has written, is this the response you’d want to read?  —Since ‘I have a magic wand and I’m about to make it all go away’ is ineligible, like the cup of tea, if for different reasons.

# Tricky, of course, since they could be texting you from anywhere.  New Guinea.  Mars.+


~ I have no idea what the cup-of-tea-and-a-biscuit equivalent is in either New Guinea or Mars.

† Although I continue to be tempted to take . . . probably Matty Groves in to Nadia.  Some folk song with drama.  I told you, didn’t I, that I asked her how you sing a maddened nobleman who is about to off both his wife and her lover when you’re a soprano?  And she said it’s all in how you release the consonants.  And.  Glory.  Yes.^

I may not have told you since I don’t remember admitting that I’m not a big Sandy Denny fan^^.  I know.  Heresy.  I am, indeed, so lost to all finer feelings that I wonder if the Sandy Denny cult might be somewhat based on the fact that she died young.  Nice enough voice but . . . eh.  Give me Maddy Prior or June Tabor or Norma Waterson.  The Matty Groves take that makes my blood beat hard and my hair stand on end is Fairport Convention after Sandy Denny, with the blokes singing.  And they can roar, which is not an option available to a soprano.

But I think I’m still not quite up to eating the scenery for Nadia.  Maybe a few more weeks.  Months.  Years. . . .

^ ‘ . . . And I shall Strike the very next blow, and I will Kill you if I Can.’

^^ But when the ME is this bad I don’t have any memory either.

†† Famous on twenty-three continents^ for having a vocal range of two and a half notes, and tends to write songs accordingly.

^ This includes Mars

††† Your Body Is Your Instrument.  Why didn’t I stick with the piano?

‡ I mean . . . singing.  Melodic.  More or less.  Probably.  I wasn’t in the band this week so it didn’t matter.

‡‡ Mozart?  And he was—?

‡‡‡ Although the presence of non-eating hellhounds in the back seat, looking forward to their Monday afternoon post-lesson walk somewhere interesting, probably was not helping.  They like me wrecked by ME:  I’m much more willing to noodle along while they investigate every clump of grass for the recent presence of other dogs and/or fascinating pieces of litter.

§ Oh—that Mozart

§§ She also said that if I can’t do this free resonating thing at home this week—don’t panic.  But that I should only sing new music—stuff I’m working on for the first time now—if I break out Che Faro, for example, which is absolutely my longing and desire, I’ll just revert to old habits.  Wait a little now, she said.  We’ll go back to Che Faro later, I promise.


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