Like a number of people in the performing arts – and to oversimplify what is, I hope, a slightly more complex personality than what I am about to describe – I have two energy modes, “on stage” and “off stage.” The on stage mode comes on when I have to be public about what I do: rehearsals, performances, even writing to readers outside a circle of family and friends. The off stage mode is the default mode, the one I revert to when there is no need to present myself beyond the embrace of the inner circle.
After a busy Spring in which I posted almost daily even when there was a lot else to do, with a less public schedule of activities, I lost the mojo to write. Working with choruses and orchestras seems to open the door to my “on stage” persona, and to the notion that anyone would willingly read what I write on my blog.
It will not come as a surprise to you that the first rehearsal of the Burlington Choral Society’s 2014-15 season is tonight, and as I lay awake at 3:30 am this morning, the urge to write (at least the headline “It’s showtime!”) was overwhelming.
Two observations about my two modes. First, my “on stage” energy mode is not a result of a lot of things to do, but who I do them with. Susan and I have had a remarkably busy summer, with about one out of every third day involved in hosting family or friends at our house. We hosted a family reunion and eight singing parties. I have done a fair amount of house painting, gardening, and chain saw work. We even got in a few bike rides. So it’s not busyness that creates the on stage mode, but who I interact with. Things change when I go outside the circle of family and friends.
Second, outside observers, even family and friends, don’t tend to notice any difference between my “on stage” and “off stage” modes. It’s not a jekyll and hyde personality shift. It’s something I feel internally, and I think it’s probably related to forgiveness. I imagine (I hope) that family and friends will forgive a certain lack of preparation for each social encounter, while I am less confident (I suppose) that people I don’t know so well will be as forgiving.
So, to those of you who have been inquiring about why I haven’t been writing this summer, there’s your answer: I beg your forgiveness. But now, it’s showtime, and to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’m back.”