Internet access has been rather spotty during my week in Stockholm until an interesting experience brought me to a 7/11 in Stockholm’s Sant-Eriks Plan that has “Sidewalk Express” (Internet Access). So I am taking the time to write a quick plug for my upcoming activities.
The truth is I have so much in my mind to write about that it has been difficult to know where to begin. I decided not to write an official post (Notice this one does not bear the Kashudo logo) because the computer I am on does not have Japanese script and my Kanji script would not appear. Still, as I write in my usual stream of consciousness manner, I cannot help but to include the little story that got me to this computer.
It started this afternoon, with the Stockholm skies mimicking an Autumn rainstorm in Haiti. The rain battered the streets and umbrellas, but was neither cold nor warm. It felt cool and reminded me of my childhood when I would happily anticipate the coming rain so I could shower in it as the children did back then. I skipped my usual walk from Slussen Station to the studio on Fjällgatan, missing the view of the bay that made me fall in love with this beautiful city. Instead I took a bus one stop to the studio. After teaching a few very satisfying lessons, I braved the rain again to attend a very enjoyable performance of Gounod’s Faust at the Folkoperan. Some of the singers I have had the pleasure of teaching here are in the cast. At the bus station this time, I found a set of keys with a USB-stick attached. Normally, I would have left the keys but an instinct made me take them. Having lost a set of keys in Berlin and having had to pay considerably for them, I figured I could spare the owner the expense if I could find his/her information from the USB device. If I found no information, I would return the keys to the main Station.
Long and short of it, I found the information in a file on the USB-stick and called the owner. The chap was relieved, came to my neighborhood to pick up his keys and invited me for a beer. The best of it is that he happens to be a published novelist, Tomas Jacobsson, and brought with him a copy of his book, Morfin. I will have to put Stieg Larsson away for a little while to honor my new friendship. Morfin might be the first novel I finish in Swedish. Tomas ended up signing the book for me in front of the 7/11 here, where I am writing this.
The hazards of running an international freelance studio are many. Many of the students I taught here in Stockholm last time were busy with productions or traveling. The numbers were lower this time and my sleep-deprived hops from New York to Berlin (where I used my two hour stop-over to pick up mail and do some quick banking) to Stockholm left me a little less enchanted with my newly beloved city. But it takes an impromptu experience such as this to remind me of cause and effect and how my evening could have been very different, indeed much less interesting, had I not picked up that set of keys. Sweden is a special place. I keep discovering wonderful people and wonderful possibilities. I am glad I am here again!
Yes, so is singing! How would it have been, if the teacher who thought I might be a tenor years ago actually explored that possibility? How would it have been if I had studied piano at a young age? Or if I had committed all my energies to conducting? What if????
In the end, there is no what if?! Only that which is. Every decision leads to a series of events and so we have to be responsible for each of our choices. We should make them consciously. I was irritated this time because I took for granted that the open internet connection that worked at my flat last time would work again. Well, the connection was there but it did not work, making my daily communication at least inconvenient. A lot of my anxiety over the past few days I think resulted from this inability to communicate as I am used to. On the one hand, I am happy I could survive with less internet in my life, but then I would have liked to decide that rather than fall into it. Word to the wise: “Chose your destiny or it will be chosen for you!”
So tomorrow I will center my energies to write a good post, and I will call my dear colleague, Micaela von Gegersfeld to learn more about her wonderful skills. Right this minute I will define my itinerary here so my students and colleagues know where I will be, since I am hopping like a proverbial rabbit around Europe this month:
Now until 21Sept. midday: Stockholm
21 Sept evening until 25 Sept morning: Göteborg
26th September: Hannover (To be confirmed)
27 Sept-10 October: Berlin
10th -14th: TBA (possibly Reykjavik, Iceland)
15th-17th: Zwikau, Germany
18th-23rd: Valencia, Spain
27th Oct. – 1 Nov: Possibly Stockholm/Götenburg (exact dates TBA)
2nd November to 2nd December: New York City
One may look at this itinerary and automatically think: “Oh what a glamorous life of travel!” I love my life! I chose it. I left academia with a settled heart and I envisioned this time precisely as it is developing. But like my excellent novelist friend said tonight,”From one divorced, freelancer with two children to another divorced freelancer with two children: I miss normal. Don’t you!” With complete empathy, I said: “Yes, I do! But I remember envisioning normal as part of all of this. Whatever our normal is, I believe it will follow just as surely as our envisioned adventures/chaaos have.”
For whoever choses to embark on a professional journey in classical singing (or the arts in general), realize that everything has two sides; for everything you gain, there is something you lose; for every adventure there is danger, the price of freedom is often solitude. There is no light without darkness! Chose your destiny, unless it be chosen for you!