Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Solitude

I'm sorry I haven't written anything substantial since I've been back in the States. I guess was feeling a little lost, and then I got busy, and I also felt like my life got a lot less interesting. Plus I've been dealing with the depression that always seems to follow after a big gig ends and I have too much time on my hands. I was momentarily distracted by a wonderfully fun and unusual gig doing this avant garde "project" with french directors at a downtown theater here in New York. But now that's over, and I found myself falling into a downward spiral of feeling sorry for myself tonight, which only seems to happen when I know I have a long time off with no singing gigs to make me feel like a productive member of society. It seems like time off should be a blessing, but when you love what you do as much as I do, it feels more like a curse, especially because it gives me way too much time to think, and being alone with my thoughts for too long each day can be dangerous for me. I started to feel so upset tonight that around 10 PM I put on my sneakers and took a walk down Broadway to clear my head.

When I got outside, I was reminded of something I really do love about new york; the fact that there are always people on the streets - lots of people - and the city is teeming with life at all hours. Just walking down the street is a great distraction from your thoughts because there are so many people to watch. It's also a great way to collect your thoughts as you get a sense that you are one among many. I ended up wandering into Barnes and Nobles (which was still open - hooray!) and for some reason found myself browsing in the books about New York City. I started flipping though this book about all the great things to do in New York City that are totally free, and I suddenly had an idea.

I have the month of July completely off. My only "job" this month will be to learn two new opera roles because once I start going in August, I have back to back gigs pretty much until Christmas. And while I am glad to have this month to learn these two new roles (one is Musetta which will take me all of 5 minutes to learn, but which makes me feel like my larynx is going to escape through the top of my head because it's a soprano role, and one is this rarely performed Donizetti opera which will be a bigger challenge, but one I'm really eager to get to because I loooooove his music), I find that I have trouble motivating myself to learn music when I have nothing but time. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but when I have a full schedule is when I get the most done. When I'm free I don't know where all my time goes, but nothing seems to get done. I thought about the possibility of getting a little job just for the month, just to keep me busy and on task, but the pickings were slim and the money would be terrible for my limited skill set. So instead of getting a job, I am giving myself the opportunity to have an adventure.

I have decided that for the month of July, I will do something I have never done in New York City every single day, and I will blog about each activity. I will try to keep the activities on the free/cheap side, since money doesn't grow on trees when you're an unemployed opera singer. I mean, I have lived in new york for almost 11 years now, but there are SO many things I have never done, so many places I have never been, and untold adventures to be had out there. So instead of complaining about having time on my hands (again, I apologize for the ridiculousness of this complaint, especially if you have a very time consuming job) I will look at this as an opportunity to have a month long vacation in New York City, and a personal challenge to put myself out there in the world and try new things. And hopefully the new things I'm trying will inspire me to keep on track with the new music I'm learning, and I'll learn some new things about myself in the process. Not to mention the fact that when I do new things (like trying to go a bank in Italy for example) is when I seem to get myself into the funniest situations, and they provide perfect fodder for me to be able to mock myself on this blog.

I'll start July 1st, and try a new activity/restaurant/experience every day. I'll have the next week or so to plan it, get some books to help me think of ideas, and I'll happily take any suggestions from any of you. And I thank you in advance for reading this because sharing new things makes them all the more interesting for me.

3 comments:

sabauda said...

Sestissimo! Please keep blogging - you write beautifully and get right down to the truth of so many things.... and very entertainingly. Don't worry about this slump - it is about UNSTRUCTURED TIME as I am sure you realize. So many of us don't do well with this - one of the givens of the opera life, as is the post-triumph slump! Su! Forza!
Sending you a big hug from (finally not rainy but now kinda hot and muggy) Torino -- Laurie

lacriticacritica said...

Welcome back Jenny!

Don B. said...

Jenny, start at the Cloisters, and work your way south. If I didn't have a family, I'd definately live in NYC! I travel there for work every chance I get.

Looking forward to reading your adventures! Your Italy posts are poetry.