I know it has been almost a month since my last update, so let me take some time to fill you in on the whirlwind of these past few weeks. Conferences came and went. Auditions for the musical concluded and rehearsals have started. Quarter 1 term ended along with a final grading sprint for me, which resulted in lots of late nights as my preps had been booked with meetings.
Then on the side I have accompanied seven vocalists in four weeks on music ranging from French arias, to musical revues, to early Christmas tributes, to pop ballads, to crooners like Sinatra and Crosby. Note to self: never again take on seven vocalists at once, no matter how much I love playing the piano. Any moment not grading papers, planning a musical, or doing life things had been spent practicing all the music. It had gotten to a point where I was waking up at 3:00 in the morning with nightmares about chord progressions and being asked to transpose keys on sight (yes, you can laugh all you like, but the concept of transposing on sight is enough to give any pianist a heart attack).
In between all of this, I have attended musicals, weddings, birthdays, and family gatherings. It's been a fabulously wonderful - and obviously busy! - past 4 weeks. But my mantra for 2017 has been "make time to live," so that is why I have kept all my plans, canceled nothing, and enjoyed the time with all of you. I am a much better educator, director, pianist, and friend when I make time for these important events, big or small. So keep it coming with the holiday visits ahead, the coffee gatherings with friends, etc. etc. etc!
You can see why, then, Letters from Marilyn had been placed momentarily on hold. It's okay, loves! I have not forgotten about Marilyn. She is always on my mind, as is my December 1st deadline on sample chapters to a potential literary agency. I always told myself when I started this project last year that I would be patient and take the time to do it right. All good things to those who wait. And for those who know me, patience is not always easy for me when I am exceptionally enthusiastic about something, someone, anything really. A former student once equated my energy level to that of a tornado when I am excited (thanks for the visual there, kid, that's not disturbing at all).
I am planning to use the Thanksgiving break to really iron out the details in my drafts. Right now they are more loose outlines and notes, because my sleep-deprived, music-nightmares, can't-be-quiet brain has been too frazzled to write anything coherent. Indeed, this post itself is likely very scattered, for which I do apologize profusely. You all asked repeatedly for an update and you're getting one, whether it's any good or not.
But the good thing about Thanksgiving break is that I can solely focus on Letters from Marilyn if I so choose. The musical is in a good place, thanks to my borderline insane summer planning and a fantastic production team (and many more individuals offering their time and help). Grades have quieted down now that it is the start of a new quarter. I only have a few holiday accompaniment obligations ahead, all music I could easily sight-read on the spot. To my vocalists reading this: I do promise I'll practice! So without further ado, I present a very, very small snippet of a written draft below in bold. Consider it a teaser more than anything, as it's a bit dry right now. Love always, readers. I appreciate you. Have a wonderful holiday season ahead.
September 12, 1950
Nearby lights gleamed, reflecting on the glossy locomotive that pulled in late to the station. College students bustled by on the busy street front as Minneapolis glowed brightly in the September evening.
A young woman stepped briskly off the train steps, taking in her surroundings, unsure of what to do or where to go first. Her brunette curls bounced, skirt swishing rapidly, as she hurriedly approached a worker handling baggage.
"Excuse me, sir!" she exclaimed. "Can you direct me to the nearest phone booth? I'm arriving late, and I'm worried my dorm headmistress has locked up the hall for the evening."
"Certainly, miss. I'm Bernie Matherson. Let me show you where to go, I can help you with your trunks," he replied.
"I'm Marilyn. Marilyn Solberg."
"Well Miss Solberg, what brings you to Minneapolis?"
"I am starting my first year at Augsburg college," she replied.