June 2006 Reflection

The past month has seen a doldrumic lull in my compositions, with only two medium-size works being written (and one pop-song – a guilty pleasure). Fortunately, not all things have come full stop, as I have been busying about with various and sundry in non-musical spheres. Most Mitchelly, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Dublin, Limerick, and Dingle with Mitchells past and present. In addition to a great catching-up/getting-to-know-you experience, we were introduced to various Irish and Northern Irish leaders in our respective fields. Already from these introductions, I have a few potential avenues for collaboration and continued contact, which was one of my yet-unfulfilled goals this year. While Belfast is an amazing place to learn, I have found it difficult to create work there with other artists. So, needless to say, I left the Dublin meetings like a kid being dragged from a candy store.

And then there’s life in Belfast. The idea of leaving has started to cross all of our minds – an impending tornado that will break up friendships, relationships, and age-old pub seating arrangements. While I am sad about all three, the first two are affecting me the most. The only silver lining is that, in my sadness, I will probably write at least one good and one mediocre piece of music. Other than that, though, I must admit that things have been pretty tough. It was somewhat foolish of me to assume that, going into this year, I would be able to mentally relegate Belfast to an experientially-valid year-long life-entity without any loose ends or frayed edges that needed time to develop. Now that I realize this is not the case, I am instead brainstorming ways to return as soon and often as possible. I hope that this will be part of the Mitchell experience as well, allowing me to live a postlude that sufficiently complements what has proven to in fact be a prelude.

The next two months will hold more goodbyes, a few performances, a trip to Europe, packing, and the composition of my monolithic Irish work. My wall currently has many small bits and two large sheets of paper with scribbles and sketches that will magically materialize into a final product. I feel a little like John Nash, and at times worry that I may not fact be in Ireland, that I have entirely fabricated the images of those I love and care about, and that I do not really write music for the CIA. Realizing that performance prospects for the piece are slim to none, I have instead chosen to focus entirely on the writing process while I can and worry about actualization later. It seems like the intellectually and artistically honest thing to do and the most fitting way to begin my American-Irish memoirs.

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