Saturday, 30 May 2009

Wow... and a serious invitation.

So. Future Housemate, Sweetie and I went to view one house today.

It's... well. It's not perfect. But I don't think we'll find something that suits our needs better, not at that price. It's... Future Housemate referred to it as dignified, and that it is, with a bit of history and character. It's in reasonably good nick. The amount of storage space is wonderful, and will be even better once we get bookshelves in. There's room for my teaching studio. There's one more bedroom than we were looking for. The location couldn't be better, literally around the corner from one of my dearest friends, with a wonderful grocer at one end of the road and ancient parkland at the other. I can't tell you more than that without sacrificing anonymity.

I know it's hasty to rent a place without having looked at other houses in the area. I know it's a renter's market and we have the clout to find something really spectacular. I know they may decide not to replace the shower, and might balk at our request for a gas hob rather than electric. I know the kitchen is a bit smaller than I'd like (but there is an Actual Dining Room, something I've long yearned for, and I think that will make smallish kitchen okay). I know the rent is a teensy weensy bit higher than we'd planned. I know the garden is north-facing and not as large as I'd hoped for (though it is not without promise... the roses, jasmine and honeysuckle can all stay, in any case).

But I'm rather smitten. I know what houses in that general area are like, having visited a few friends, and this one does feel special. It seems to just be begging us to move in and fill it with life and music. It feels like somewhere that will become home. Future Housemate feels the same. Sweetie likes it too, especially the flexibility of having the extra bedroom.

I may not make it to Evensong tomorrow at Default Option Church. Last week I had a rather dismal and discouraging experience there involving sexist comments, being accused of stealing a hymnal and another sermon I couldn't quite follow (not all the same incident I might add!), but that's not the reason for staying away. I have a friend who had surgery last week and the only time I can get up to visit her is going to be tomorrow night after I'm teaching, so if she's feeling up to visitors I will be going there instead of to church. I figure God understands these things.

That said, I didn't want to miss it entirely. So today I went to St Paul's Cathedral for Evensong there.

The tube was running late of course and I arrived just after the last stroke of five, almost too worried about disturbing things to have the nerve to go in at all. I've lived in London for nine years but for most of those I was chasing Judaism or not really engaging with any structured spiritual practice... I'd not been to a service in a cathedral before. I needn't have worried, it was full of tourists. After I sat down I realised there was an area nearer the front where people actually had service sheets and so on, but I was feeling a bit too shy to go up and join them. So I sat, and I stood, and I sat, depending on which part of the service we were in--I could hear enough of the music to keep track and the spoken prayers were on a speaker system. It's also very echo-y in there and I didn't hear everything clearly, people around me were talking a lot which didn't help much.

But I'm very glad I went, and I'm glad I participated on some level.

Once in a sermon at Leafy Suburb Church, the vicar mentioned a blog I read and comment on. I had a slight panic and then realised that no, she probably doesn't follow back to commenters' blogs and read them all, she might not be able to identify me for sure from what I write here, and even if she did I don't mind her knowing who I am. And it struck me today in St Paul's that I wanted to write about being there, but any number of you lot could have been there too. Do I identify myself or not? I'm trying to remain somewhat anonymous here because it gives me a freedom in my writing that I do not think I could have if my professional life and my blogging here were to overlap much. I'm less clear about where my social life and my blogging are allowed to overlap, and how comfortable I am with the people I meet on my in-person spiritual explorations having access to my more vulnerable, private musings. Do I say that I was there, I was the rather tall lady in the purple skirt and dark blue top and the rather dirty light blue hat? What are the chances? This is London... chances are rather high. I'm undecided. Only I've gone and done it now, haven't I?

This leads into a slightly knottier problem.

One of the things that is very much a part of who I am, no matter which online identity or personal or professional role I'm stepping into, is my work as a student and a performer of music. It's unavoidable.

Not too long after my Big Final Exam Recital I'm having a more personal, celebratory recital. I don't want to put the place and time online, but it'll be in London, at a church reasonably close to a central location. I've struggled somewhat with making this event personal but not exclusive; I don't want to turn away anyone who would like to come, but I want it to be clear that this concert is primarily for me to have the opportunity to play for colleagues, family, teachers and friends, new and old. As concerts should be, it's a gift I'm making to the audience, not a product I am selling. So I've invited pretty much everyone I know, though I'm late getting invitations sent out. And every time anyone says, "Oh, can I bring so-and-so along?" I say yes, of course.

I have been surprised and delighted by the guidance, support, encouragement and, yes, friendship, that I have found through blogging here. So if you are in London, or think it might be possible for you to be in London during the summer, and you would like to hear me play: please contact me, and if I recognise you and trust you not to blab all over the internet about who I actually am, I'll send you invitation details. I mean it. I am absolutely serious about this. My getting this degree (okay I don't have it just yet, but you give me a few more weeks...) has been very much a group effort and I am honoured to include some regular readers here in that group. You might not think you've done much but a kind word here and a bit of encouragement there have been lifelines, and then there is everything that I have read... even when I can't keep up, these words on screens are important, are necessary. It would be a joy and a privilege to play for you. It's the closest thing I have to sacrament, in this line of work.

I'm happy to give you the option of remaining anonymous yourself. I know lots of you have higher stakes in the anonymity gamble than I do, and I respect that. Lots of people at this concert will be people I primarily know online, though many have gone on to become wonderful in-person friends; everyone there will understand if you say, "Oh, I know the performer from conversations we've had on the internet". For that matter, you don't have to talk to people at all if you don't want to, you can leave the second the music stops or even slip out early. Hiding in the vestry for the entire concert is another option, although of course if I get many of you all wanting to do that it won't work very well as a hiding place!

But please, if you read this regularly, consider coming if it's at all practical.


Ostrich said...

I was there too.

it's margaret said...

I was not there. But I wish I hadda been.

And, music is sacrament and prayer, especially as an offering. --and it takes your whole mind, body and soul...

I am sorry there is not even a chance I could ask to be there--at your recital. Many many blessings upon you!

it's margaret said...

PS --the house sounds wonderful!

Song in my Heart said...

Hello Ostrich!

Margaret, I'm hoping to record the recital too, but I don't know whether I can distribute the recording freely--copyright stuff is a bit of a bother and some of the music I'm playing is very definitely not in the public domain.

Song in my Heart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Song in my Heart said...

(Sorry, posted same comment twice; too impatient!)