In February, a good friend visited, and though he was technically here on business, I tried to orchestrate an ideal bay area vacation for him. I dragged him to important local haunts and temples and comped him a great seat to a "new performance work" ... that I played ... that I created ... that I programmed. Oops. I somehow forgot to separate the work from the play. Melding the two for T created a unique but true perspective on living here, one with a more contemporary focus than the ubiquitous guidebook sights and sees perhaps, but not lacking historical and social contexts. The picture was complete and integrated and, I hope, indelibly memorable.
Blurring the distinction between projects and dreams, work and endeavor makes things feel very 3+ dimensional. I never know what might inform or inspire or revise the next composition or dance step or thorny passage in a piano piece I'm learning. I muddle it all together, with the result that what matters most to me is kept in constant and immediate focus. (My behavior confuses others, however. Are you taking class or playing class? Fifty percent of the time no one knows for sure, not the desk staff or the ballet instructor or the other students. I keep 'em all guessing.) This intertwining of work and play smoothes the edges of a multi-faceted life and keeps me quite satisfied.
I do not suggest that the let's-play-where-we-work attitude is always ideal; if artistic projects are not coming together, I'll slink glumly about town. By contrast, I have long admired a certain fabulous pianist for her ability to disengage from her art (her work?) now and then. She and her husband (also a classical musician) retreat to the Sierra foothills for a few weeks every summer and enjoy exotic vacations: they've gone on safari in Africa, climbed ruins in Mexico, and wined and dined their way around the Italian countryside. I never hear her fret or worry about "not practicing" or "missing rehearsals" during these vacations. She is able to separate her piano-self from her tourist-self, and thus her life seems composed as a very beautiful card catalog, with each experience kept in a separate drawer. The aesthetic is clean and definite, and not at all knotty and entangled like mine.
Or, mine of the moment. It is spring, and entanglements are fun, and lately I'm finding all kinds of new ideas and positive critical feedback when I take the equivalent of a busman's holiday. So, all I have to say is: I'm off to the barre!