Hilltop Diary, May 2, 2020

The last couple of weeks have seen the continuation of gradual healing from whatever plague Crystal has, but in the past several days with a pretty nasty relapse. It came with lots of pain, though vital signs and breathing have all been fine. This becomes a mental challenge, and we hang in there as a team, trusting it will finally run its full course in perhaps a few more weeks. It’s sunny and beautiful outside, so we sit out in the sun each afternoon. Today we venture out to buy some fresh strawberries to freeze, for Crystal to make her jams and pies when she finally has enough energy. (Update: We only got a few miles down the road and had to turn back home, due to Crystal’s pain. We’ll try again in a week or so. There will be more strawberries then, too.)

As for me, I wrote another chapter of my book since my last entry. I’m now starting chapter 24 of 28 planned and have composed another bunch of measures on my symphony with a new theme that I like. I finished reading Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” about the nature of fairy stories, and now I’m back to reading the third book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We saw the movie “Harriet” about Harriet Tubman, who worked heroically on the “underground railroad” before and into the American Civil War – very well made, acted, and inspiring!  Being quarantined, for us, has not been all bad, allowing us to rest, contemplate these things, and do creative things – but our salaries have not suffered, so we can say that more easily than many people.

I did an interview (this one wearing my composer rather than author hat) this past week for the fast-growing international, independent news media called The Epoch Times, which is published in 21 languages in 33 countries. They said the interview and their profile of me as a composer will be the feature story in their arts section! I use an exclamation point, because they say a LOT of people in 33 countries will learn about my work. I will add the link as an addendum to this diary entry, if the article comes out soon, don’t know when.

Classical composers don’t have the great PR machine that pop singers have. This kind of thing is how you build a “brand” and a career. A few feature articles about your work here and there, so that some people click on the link to hear your music, maybe tell a friend. Spotify listeners grew 13% in April over those in March, and each month over the past two years they have added about 12% more listeners, bringing us up very close to 200,000 streams. My real goal is simply to write beautiful music, not fame or riches. There is not much of either in classical music, anyway. But you do hope for your music to reach and uplift people and make a contribution to a more beautiful world, if you can. That’s what it’s really about.

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