Let me start off by saying how much I love summer. If I could write a song to summer to let it know how happy it makes me, I would. After my first year of teaching in the Community College system in New Orleans, I now understand why summer is such a relief for teachers. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy my job. I absolutely love teaching at Delgado Community College, but it is hard, hard work. Grading and lesson planning and generally trying to be an engaging, intelligent person all of the time is exhausting. All of this being said, I am enjoying my dog’s very low expectations of me as I revel in my mornings and early afternoons off before my private students. The other thing that summer has taught me is that I am not very good at not being busy. Of course, this is something I have always known about myself, but it becomes much more screamingly clear when I am faced with extended periods of time off. Luckily, there are a lot of things that did not get done during that year of teaching that have been filling my time.
Let me back track a little here by saying that I moved into a fantastic house last year where I have a very sought after, but elusive thing called a “home office.” I had heard about it in tales of yore, but only discovered it last year. My little home office is the most magical thing in the world, as I can finally sleep in my bedroom and not work in it. Unfortunately, having a home office also supplies the baggage of having to keep the thing organized to find all of the stuff you put in the home office. Easier said than done, and this has been my summer project. I am proud to say that my desk now has empty surfaces, I have filed all of my paperwork and receipts, and I have a filing system that includes real file drawers and everything. That’s right. I file my receipts according to category…because it only took 10 years of being self-employed to figure out that it might be a good idea. I also have *gasp* actually caught up on my taxes in preparation for a house hunt in the year to come. My CPA must be so proud. I’m sure, at this point, if you haven’t stopped reading already, that you are wondering why you care and what this has to do with making music? For me, this has everything to do with making music.
The business aspect of teaching, playing, writing, and really being involved in music in any professional capacity is time-consuming and mentally taxing, at best. It can become overwhelming, so much so that it sometimes eclipses the actual music-making that is supposed to be taking place. Personally, I am not a particularly organized person by nature. I have become more so out of necessity, but it does not come naturally to me, and I do not enjoy it. Interestingly, the past few weeks of frantic organization parties with my dog have yielded exceptional productivity at the piano. Now that I am able to see clear path towards my financial and personal goals, I am able to start realizing some musical goals. Getting the mundane out of the way allows space for the creative, and being more creative inspires us to keep the mundane tasks in perspective.
Now, I am not promising that I won’t be back here in two months complaining about the mounds of paper that have piled up on my desk, but I believe in taking steps in the right direction. For me, finding balance and finding literal and figurative space to create is ultimately most important. I feel best when my “space” is at its best, so I guess that’s on me.