Continuing to go through everything in my office... preparatory to moving.
Which will be delayed a few days (hallelujah) and will be to a relatively large office at the quiet far end of a corridor... hmm my luck seems to be improving.
(Don't get too excited, I'm only there for two years, then they move us back to probably distinctly smaller offices... though if they're like the ones on the second floor they're also very pretty. If all too open – the modern boss's fear of not being able to observe the wage slave.)
The books and scores – handled. About 15% removed, to the university library, students, or trash.
But papers, now...
My old compositions, and arrangements. Yes, my late 1980s decision was appropriate: they are small, often flimsy – and it is now obvious that I kept trying to move from writing small, brief pieces directly to multi-movement monuments: a shame I couldn't figure out that I needed to work through a range of mid-sized works...
Or perhaps, more simply, it wasn't within my range of abilities.
A rather strange but obvious interpretation: in the four years in Hong Kong, I was ambitious, energetic – I didn't finish everything but I did a great deal. It surprises me how many projects I created, or worked with, that came through, that were successes, public events.
The collapse of Sydney, the year when John took kindly care of me and my disintegrating expectations, when I kept doing professional things but in a more fragmented way... and then I landed here: and the truth is, I fell into a certain amount of background depression for some years. Though Newcastle is an intelligent, energetic department, funding and major urban musicians have never come through as much – big cities still suck up culture (and regard themselves as generating it).
Or, in any case, I, at least, was no longer able to connect to interesting projects...
(I do always remember that RMA conference in London, a couple of years before I left Hong Kong: I was, not to put too fine a point on it, the Flavor of the Month – surrounded with postgrads who wanted to know what I thought of many things. A few years later, in Newcastle, they didn't seem to remember my existence...)
and yes tedious meetings (all of that can be instantly dumped; but the swell and ebb of meetings in the British academic system is also marked in these piles of papers).
Fragments of the personal – people I barely remember (and sometimes people I don't remember at all, sorry about that). Others I remember with great affection, sometimes loss. Cards, letters...
Folders, well-made or dusty. Flashes of creativity and fun, or of collapse and diffusion.
And it's true, many projects and people were tied to my sense of self: no surprise of course.
But these spikes and thorns barely catch on my skin: it's true, I am less (or, somewhat less?) anxiously attached to my own success. But the memories of these processes and feelings in my life...
(We already know the worst of the seven deadly sins for me was always pride. Or, in times of failure, envy – but for me they're two sides of the same thing.)
Is all this stuff why this week's analysis session was – well, unexpected?
I had walked in, already a bit pre-bored with myself, feeling diffuse and as though I didn't know where this was all going – dream fragments not very interesting, dull and vague irritations over move not at all interesting – when suddenly a different, bigger picture began to appear:
I could see the shape of the space wherein these things are happening – and suddenly any dullness seemed a predictable part of a process....
Yes, even that counts as a vision.