Storytellers

“You really should tell your story.” I’ve heard this a number of times. The story the person wants told depends on who is asking and what they actually know of me. It could be the story of the girl with the meager beginnings who goes on to get her doctorate. The story of the girl with a dismal upbringing that goes on to… well, do anything. The story of someone who wandered into Santa Fe and became the conductor of four beautifully satisfying choirs. The story of a girl who wandered into Santa Fe and remembered how to compose and write songs. You get the idea. The list goes on.

The difficulty is, sometimes the part where we begin to really tell our story is where we get ourselves into trouble. Truth is not always terribly welcome. Sometimes, yes, the focus is on the wonderful things that can happen if we just hang on. Sometimes, however, the focus has to be on the times when things are not so wonderful- the times in which just finding the strength to take the next step is a miracle. In my life, I have found that these moments have been the ones that have made me, and these moments have just as much a right to be in the light as any other. They show the reader not only the moments where we’re okay, where everything has worked out for the best, but also the moments that many of us try to hide- the moments in which we’re broken. The breaking is temporary, but one does not always realize that when one is in the situation. Speaking from our weaknesses and our struggles, as well as our moments of strength, reaches out to others like no other medicine I have ever encountered. It shows, in a world that suggests that it has no tolerance for darkness, that in your own darkness you are, in fact, not alone. Someone has walked whatever road you are on. And you will see the end of it- or at least the continuation into another landscape.

Amid the thorns, there is a bud. Photo by Karen Marrolli

I started writing this blog upon my arrival in Santa Fe because I was so fascinated with the way that, during the writing of my doctoral dissertation, I could consult the blog of composer Michael McGlynn as a scholarly resource. I thought it was revolutionary that I could get into the head of a composer and see what really inspired him and made him tick through his writings on the internet. I suppose I hope that someday someone might want to write an article or dissertation on me, and that said person would look at what I have written and use it to place my works in a sort of emotional continuum or landscape, as well as to document what has gone on with my life artistically and professionally. That was the original intent of me beginning this blog, that has always been the thrust of each post that has been written, and that is what I intend to do from henceforth. I have needed to take a step back from writing prose, but I have sensed that now is a wonderful time to continue my quest for writing meaningful posts that examine that various facets of my artist-hood: examinations of the songs and compositions, revisiting of the choral programs that permeate my life here in Santa Fe, photo blogs of the landscapes that not only inspire my compositions but also anchor me professionally to this place, thoughts on subjects that are vitally important to choral music in general, and posts that elaborate upon who I am as a composer and a musician- what has formed me, what continues to shape me, and what supports me along my journey.

So I will continue to tell my stories, as should we all. I know in my own life there are beautiful stories to be told- stories of things that looked terribly dark but turned into miracles that no one could have imagined, stories that show the universe is unfolding as it should, stories that show that we must never, ever give up, stories that reveal the kooky, uncanny nature of “the source,” “creativity,” or whatever you’d like to call it.

Personally, I’m currently settling down with a good book known as “life” to see how it unfolds.

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