Wow… it’s been over a week since I wrote last! I don’t even know where to start. I guess I will by explaining what I mean by the title of this post: I’m referring to the other major thing I am doing with my life besides writing, and that would be music. I think I talked about this in some of my other posts, but I play the cello and have been playing this summer with the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra for the Fourth of July fireworks show in Bellevue. Well, I just got back from doing that, for the second year in a row. What can I say – it was a blast once again! (No pun intended. My apologies.) For things like this we play “fun” music, stuff from movies and video games, like Les Miserables, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars, and also patriotic music like “America the Beautiful” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” My parents and some of my friends from high school came to watch, and I got to play with some old friends from youth symphony. I have been involved with BYSO in some respect since I was eleven years old, playing in the organization’s summer day camp. In seventh grade, I joined the Premiere Orchestra and got second chair in the cello section – I was pretty proud of that. I moved up to Sinfonia the next year and was in the top division, Youth, for all four years of high school. I continued to play at the summer camps, both as a student and an intern (which is like a counselor, I would say). I won the Charlotte Field Scholarship when I graduated high school. Then in summer 2011, I came back as an office intern (and I also got to work at summer camp). That was useful for understanding how non-profit organizations work. Now I just keep track of the orchestra on Facebook and play for the Fourth. We shall see how much I can stay involved – I owe a lot to BYSO for giving me musical direction. So that’s been my other life this summer. I’ve also been practicing solo music quite a bit, as I hope to do a recital here on Mercer Island before I leave. I have a date in mind but need to get it approved by several parties, if I can just remember to talk about it. Music may be just a minor for me academically, but it definitely takes up as much of my time as any other major would. (Not that I’m complaining about that.)
In addition, I’m also a creative writer. That’s why I became an English major in the first place. Journalism may be what makes my living, but I don’t have to be un-creative with it, as I learned at one of my workshops in Kentucky. At the same time, I do want to keep up with my creative fiction work. I’ve finally gotten the ball rolling with that – last week, I made a resolution to write one short story a day for the rest of the summer. That resolution has morphed a bit, but not because I’ve given up. A story idea that came to me the other day has grown into something much bigger than I’d have the mental energy to do in one day. It’s somewhat autobiographical; or rather, it’s a fictionalized, more dramatic version of something that’s happened in my life. I just started writing on it, and I felt great about where it was going. Today I took a step back and started planning out the rest of the story and how I might want to structure it in the future. Right now I just want to get it all written. I can go back and edit later once I have the content in place. I already know it will need a massive amount of editing… but it’ll be worth it. I’m going to go back and forth between my planning notes and writing the story itself so I can keep myself interested – I frequently get these potent ideas, then lose interest after writing a bunch. So maybe I just have to be moderate about it. That’s no problem – I’ve got plenty of other writing to do.
Now that I’ve talked about my “other” life, I’ll give my usual updates on what I’ve done for Patch since June 27. I attended yet another Battle of the Bands, this time in University Place. Honestly, the Meeker Days one was better. That’s all I’ll say. That same day was my first time doing a teleconference with my co-workers in the Southern Seattle area Patch cluster. We did it over Google Hangouts, which is a great idea but the technology kind of failed us. We all got online and saw each other, but at one point for some reason, I stopped being able to hear three of the people on the call. So I sat there confused. (My co-worker Brent told me to blog about it.) It’s important to be able to do things like this, but also frustrating. We’ll try again next week – thankfully this week’s meeting was in person.
It was also very hot this past week. Hot for Seattle, anyway. Made sitting in traffic not very fun. I got to go back to Gig Harbor a couple of times to visit a distillery and some grocery workers who were picketing for fair wages. In UP I went to a kite festival and met that city’s candidate for Miss Washington. She was wonderful and we actually became friends after we met! So I hope to see her again soon. The least fun thing that happened was that I had to bother UP city hall about a recording of a city council study session. Once I got the recording transcribed, I had no motivation to write the story until Monday. Then I posted it to the top news spot without saying anything to the editors, so then they had to tell me not to post things so hastily, as well as giving me all these suggestions on how to make my stories better. Perhaps I was getting too used to the freedom from copy editors… In any case, though, it was a necessary “roadblock.” I need to receive criticism sometimes and not flip out like it’s the end of the world. Usually I think I do okay, but this time for some reason I got emotional at first. I talked with one of the editors, Lauren, on the phone for awhile and she helped me put it in perspective. Lesson learned: when in doubt, talk it out. Plus the journalistic lesson that Patch’s writing style is conversational – how would you tell this story to someone over breakfast? I’m going to keep that in mind from here forward.
The other annoying thing that happened was that I’d been planning to go down to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to cover a Seahawks youth camp that was going on down there. Getting onto the base requires permissions that you don’t automatically have. I tried calling the Seahawks about it but their phone line was unclear about how I could have accessed the people I needed. The base’s website was unclear too. Since I’ve never been there I had no reference point. I probably should have called the editor for the site down there. In any case, I didn’t end up going to the camp. It’s okay for now – we’ll work out the base stuff another time. Brent has suggested that I cover a soldiers homecoming sometime, which I would absolutely love to do. I’ll make sure to bring it up with him.
Well, I think I’ve just about exhausted my brain. People are still setting off fireworks here, even though it’s past the deadline of 11 p.m. I didn’t get to see the Bellevue show, since I was playing, but I can’t really complain about that. Playing along with fireworks is fun, you just have to watch your conductor very carefully. Which I did. Tomorrow (today, technically) I’ll go to Costco and watch a movie with my old high school friends. Summer life is pretty good – I’m relaxing and having fun while being productive at the same time. My motivation level has been consistently on the increase, and I am happy. Especially now.
Happy (belated) Independence Day!