Though my life seems to be mainly a set of weekly tasks mixed in with waving at friends as they days fly by, I do like to look over my shoulder at what we have all accomplished, experienced, enjoyed, and survived. I try, like most of my friends, to have some sort of vague plan, a “big picture” of sorts, and to scribble down ideas, lists and diagrams in an effort to organize the chores of the day, week, month into a game plan, a larger raison d’etre, even if this is mostly illusory.
Standing on a philosophical mountain top, arms akimbo, looking over the past, and then gazing into the hazy future. It feels good to do this periodically, and especially at the end of the year, even if calendars are an arbitrary measure of one’s life.
So, what to say about 2016? Yow. But there were some notable personal advancements, even if the world seems to be sliding off the back of the giant turtle that supports it.
My friends know I have been spending a lot of time with my parents as they have gotten to a ripe old age. They spent last winter and spring with me in Texas, while we made repairs and upgrades to their house. Now they are back in their own home, comfortable, and that feels like a major accomplishment. Those of you helping to care for your parents know what I’m talking about.
I finished 2016 with my annual Festivus Celebration (this was the 5th year!), a benefit for Austin Children’s Sheleter. We successfully raised $600 after expenses, a new record for P.K.S.A.X. and Team Festivus!
Over the last two years I have been involved in a book project, overseen by my friend Robin Moore in the Ethnomusicology program at UT. The topic is music curriculum in the 21st century. He graciously invited me to contribute a chapter as a working musician. The book is now ready for publication and should be out in spring 2017.
As an offshoot of the book project I participated in a panel on music pedagogy at the annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Not only was it intellectually stimulating and inspiring for my own musical research, but I was happy to reconnect with friends and colleagues in academia, some of whom I hadn’t seen in decades!
So as I stand on my imaginary mountain top, staring into the mists of 2017, I’m fairly invigorated, ready to work on music, teaching, writing, moving the ball a few yards down the field. Back into the trenches!