1. Working on long-form pieces for NewMusicBox! I’ve discovered that I am, in fact, still capable of writing things that are longer than 500 words. I’ve also discovered that it takes more time to do so. I’ve never been more grateful for the fact that I don’t have a car. 45 minutes on the Metra can mean getting several paragraphs done.  I’ve got an article about the Spektral Quartet (they let me come to one of their rehearsals!) coming out next week, and I’m currently working on a piece about Classical Revolution. I’ve got an article in my head about the new music criticism crisis in Chicago (is there one?), and as always, I’m eager to get your tips and ideas for things that need covering.

2. Reading Alex Ross‘ ridiculously excellent, joy-inducing, thought-provoking, excitement-generating book Listen to ThisI am planning to buy about fifteen copies of this book for people’s Christmas presents. You’ve been warned. The reasons that this book is so good are: (1) Alex Ross adores music, and (2) Alex Ross is a truly great writer. I think he could write about the contents of my CSA box and it would be fascinating. So when he writes about Radiohead, Bjork, Esa-Pekka Salonen, or the effects of technology on music … yeah. Get this book.

(Sigh.)

3. Meditating. Today will be my fourteenth day of meditation in a row, which means I’m almost halfway through the thirty-day challenge I set up for myself. It’s definitely, definitely changing my brain and thus, my life.

4. Going on a weird binge of freelance gigs and feeling like I have multiple personality disorder. In the past couple of weeks I’ve worn the following hats: quartet violinist, quartet strategic planner, quartet grant writer, principal 2nd violin of a chamber orchestra, teacher at a community music school, teacher at my apartment, alto in a church choir during High Episcopal Mass, career advisor, music writer, and beleaguered violinist sawing away fortissimo during a gig at which no one can hear me. “It’s like miming!” I said to my colleagues. Sometimes you have to laugh. Sometimes you have to stop taking certain gigs.

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