letters to the patronopolis - june 17, 2011

June 17, 2011 - Friday

Howdy Patronopolis,

I forgot the power chord for my computer this morning. I might have drunk my tea outside even if I’d had the chord, but then again, I might not have. I might have stayed inside, listening to what I worked on yesterday, making mental notes.

But, my computer had no juice, so I sat outside, and listened to the birds. The meadowlarks, especially. They were going bonkers. I loved it. I’m always amazed that such a tiny creature can project such a clear, resonant, loud sound. They were singing back and forth, doing their call and response thing, and I was drinking it in, along with my English Breakfast (with honey and cream).

Then one meadowlark did something differently. They change up their songs all the time, varying the notes, altering the rhythm slightly. So I’m not saying that what I heard was anything unusual or miraculous. It was just….lovely. They are very melodic birds, but this little phrase felt particularly singable. Quietly, under my breath, I hummed along. Then I had two thoughts at once: I want to use that in the musical! and I want to record this bird!

Slopping a little tea on myself in my excitement, I went back in, grabbed my portable recorder, and went back out. And…nothing. The bird had flown. Or, more likely, it was just hanging out. Waiting for that noisy human to settle down. Or just taking a breather.

It was sort of chilly, so back in I went, to my piano. I found the notes and started goofing around with playing them over different chords, in different rhythms. In my ear-magination, I could hear a whole orchestra swooping and swirling, highlighting fragments of the melody, dispersing in different directions and then flocking back in around this simple little phrase. It was really fun. I’m pretty sure it will end up in the musical.

So, thanks, meadowlark, for singing, improvising, co-creating with me. I’m glad I forgot that power chord.

— Amy

P.S.  I’m taking next week off because my sister and nephews are coming to visit (yippee!), so I’ll talk to you in two weeks.