Saturday, April 16, 2011


I got prompted to blog today by a dear friend who I will be seeing in a week. It felt great to be reminded to write when in no time we'll be chatting in person, so nice for my ego! I was buoyed by her nudge but couldn't get started, so I read some of my old posts, just to see where I'd been.

I can tell you what I've been. Ridiculous.

Back the day before I started work at the STOP, I was all about how there'd be very little work in this blog, nope, this is going to be my outlet to talk about life. Except my life has been nothing but my job, and this space has revolved around the Haus am Ring. It was disappointing to clock how little of life in Vienna I've shared apart from the drama of my first year at a tough company.

OK, it has been a struggle, a real one, but still. I'm sitting here in my apartment after the opening of Faust, which was everything from terrific to disastrous: gorgeous orchestral playing with a couple of big clams, two incredible moments of feedback during the miking of the offstage chorus and organ, some singing that I hope goes viral (well, opera viral) on YouTube and some that was more like Meditations on Themes By Gounod. At the end, the ovation was rapturous. Did the audience miss the imperfections? Not likely. But they thanked us and then thanked us some more.

Then I rode my bike home, the Ring still full of strolling people, and filled a glass with MtMn's homemade ginger ale. He and his horn are somewhere being awesome tonight. Tomorrow morning we sleep in and have no plans.

What I mean is: I forgot to say, many times, how good this is.

I want to copy for you something from a friend's recent journal post. He is a beautiful writer and a rather remarkable person. When I read this post today, part of my brain was thinking, "my friend is such a wise person, and his advice applies so beautifully to me! In this incredible journey of my transition, I would do well to remember his insightful words." The other part of my brain was saying, "hello, I think my friend is talking about his catastrophic bicycle accident that left him a quadriplegic, and MAYBE these words are about a bigger journey than I have ever been on in my lucky, ridiculous life."

1.    Things in your life happen for a reason. Something good can come from your injury experience that will be beneficial. If your faith tradition undergirds this insight, you are fortunate. If not, try to believe it anyway. In either case, be attentive to discover the beneficial reason.
2.    You will be surprised how helpful and courteous people are prepared to be to you. You are going to need help. Accept it gratefully.
3.    If you strive, you are likely to accomplish much more physically than your doctors have said. The human body and nervous system have way more capacity than science gives them credit. In the early going, you can expect to be tired and weak. Stay engaged; it will pay off.
4.    We know that some people are by nature emotionally positive and others are naturally less so. If you are in the positive group, congratulations, go with it. If you are in the second group, consider carefully points two and three above. It is in your power to maintain the goodwill so many offer to you. For the sake of those others and their important future contributions to you, fake it if necessary. Real misery awaits those who repel their helpers. When you make the effort, a virtuous cycle of improvement in care and attitude will result.

So tonight I guess I am grateful for the luxury of being ridiculous, for the dizzying examples of strength, beauty, power, and absurdity available in each hour of each day, and for the tendency of life, friendship, tolerance, and love to look ever forward. And I raise a glass of ginger ale to the virtuous cycle of improvement.


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