Friday, November 9, 2007

Requiems and Recidivism

Well, it has been a long week. The kind of long week that makes me fully re-program my Gmail calendar in order to ensure a lack of Fuck Upitry in my schedule, which forced Erin and I to abandon the weekly grocery shop and hover over bowls of starch before running once again out the door to the snail-like arms of the B line. That is to say that the B line is slow. I don't presume to know anything about snail appendages. (Do you??)

I layed around on Monday and babysat for Erin's baby friend Dylan in the evening. All together, not a difficult day. However, I woke up on Tuesday morning and realized that real life had resumed, with a vengeance. At work, I learned all about those first day mistakes that seem ridiculous to me, even now on my 4th day. Wrong days for the parking garage, price class discrepencies, exchanges set up as regular sales .... oy vey. Oh, the learning process. So that was SuperFun. The rest of work passed rather smoothly, and then I zipped home to grab my Ames/Faure scores and head over to Old South for my first choir tech week rehearsal for a concert of "two moving works".

I love requiems, as you can probably tell from my facebook religious views, so I was feeling like I was in for a fun evening after a tough day at work.

WRONG. The artistic director was, without going into too much bloody detail on the world wide web, not to my liking. He simply seemed to hate working with amateur singers, and I really, really, really, really don't understand why you would want to work with amateur singers unless you liked it. It's a non-profit, volunteer organization. He can't be getting paid that well! He spent the evening barking, mocking, and condescending, claiming that "no one, not a single one of [us]" was prepared, or listening, or doing it right in general. I broke my back for him all night, and he wasn't even technically aware of my existence, in terms of me as a person in time and space.


Damned if I did not miss Doc that night.

It's gotten better this week as I've learned to tune him out. I'm not sure if I didn't notice it as much at BCF because it did not apply to me back then, but I know now for sure that is NO EXCUSE for speaking to amateur performers as if they are trying to destroy the music one is making with one's paid orchestra and soloists, whom you've engaged to help sell tickets.

There are members of the choir who could sing those solos just fine.

So who's concert is this, anyway??

In any case, I had been feeling pretty down about life, future, and the state of things during the middle of the week, and ended up losing it to my mother when I met her at Boston College to pick up my concert skirt. My poor professor mother who had been advising students at Lasell College all day had to listen to me whine and cry about my priveleged life for 20 whole minutes. What really caused my breakdown, as I explained to her, was that my difficulties are all really my own fault. And, although I search and apply and follow up daily, I am still not doing anything Artistic, at least in an official context. Until I do, I will feel as though I am still paying for my mistakes, even though I have forgiven myself.

She was sympathetic, but told me to buck up and volunteer, which I am working on doing. :) She also invited me to something pretty amazing:

Last night at Lasell, my mother hosted an event called "And Still We Rise", which is a traveling troupe of players who are all formerly incarcerated, and all of whom received their masters degrees while still in prison. My father and I were expecting a little bit of sort of hokey performance art to be sure, but what we got was actually deeply affecting, well-directed, and acted so well that even I, who hate to say "oh, so and so doesn't need to act! they can just be!", was saying just that. The performance basically ranged from their life stories/explanations (not excuses) as to why they made the bad choices that they did, their daily routines in prison and how hard it was to maintain self-respect, self-love and dignity, and then the ball and chain which follows them around still, even though the law technically says they have paid their debt to society: the CORI.
These folks, obviously, were all about CORI reform. They were not saying that criminal records were obsolete, only that the CORI are far too descriptive and accessible to employers who don't even know how to read their multi-paged codes. Some states, by law, will not even consider applicants that have a CORI, even if it's for a misdemeanor, or from 50 years ago. It literally follows you around for the rest of your natural life. I know that there are some you who might say that that is fair, and there might not be anything I can say to change that. But, at least from a legal perspective, consider the fact that the law says after X amount of years you are "free". Not to get Valjeanesque about it, but that's not true where the CORI is concerned. You have lost all your due process, and the Masters degree you worked so hard for behind bars is, in most cases, useless. Think about that.

After the performance there was a talk-back, and Lasell criminology students asked questions like "How is it fair that you killed someone and get a free masters degree, and I have to pay and I haven't killed anyone?" The performers and two of my mom's former students answered the questions eagerly and respectfully, and afterwards they talked honestly about how they really loved that the questions were asked, because over everything else they appreciate directness and honesty. Afterwards, two of the fifty-something female performers came up and group-hugged my mother, and I have never been so proud of anyone in my family.

I rode home with Mom, Mom's former student Richard who bounces at Ruggles across the street and lives down Comm Ave., and Mom's other student who has only been out for about 2 months. They're awesome guys, but in particular it was fun to finally feel like I had siblings. When Mom turned out of her own campus and went the wrong way to Route 30, she announced "I went the wrong way." And all three of us responded "Surprise!!" It was cute. All snarkiness aside, what we had most in common was our admiration for this woman who is our mother.

I feel all right going into this weekend. I'm vaguely energized enough for the concert tonight, and I hope the audience likes the new piece as much as I do.

You should come and hear a lot about death. It really makes you think about life.

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