I need a valet or a personal planner or. . .

Whose fault was it?

Whose fault was it?

Getting ready to do anything that requires a modicum of organization is nearly an impossibility for me. Always has been. Trips especially.

My favorite class at the University of Redlands was the Physical Geology class I took as a Junior. Honest. It started out as a pain in the backside—memorizing types of rocks and names of the “elements” and geological periods (it’s The Cretaceous, not The Cretaceous Period, by the way). And then the fun started. Within an hour’s drive from the campus is an example of every kind of geological formation such a class would ever want to study. Including the San Andreas Fault (a crack of which transverses the campus).

On a Saturday near the end of the semester the class went on a field trip to see the most famous and important formations. The date was announced the first day of class, and we were told not going on the trip meant failure. Period. For most of us (the music majors, at any rate) the class fulfilled our one-physical-science-course requirement. It was one of only half a dozen classes I took outside the School of Music.

The day of the field trip, I woke up early (as always) and rejoiced that I had nothing on my calendar and had an entire day free to practice for my Junior Recital which was fast approaching. I much of the day, and only when it was much too late, realized I had forgotten the field trip. Long story short, I eventually convinced the professor (Dr. S. W. Dana) that I had not just blown it off. He agreed that if Dean Umbach would allow me to take the field trip the next semester, I could have an incomplete and finish the course then and graduate on time.

That was by no means the first nor the last nor even the most important such experience of my life. It comes to mind every time I’m getting ready for a trip.

Two weeks in Scandinavia is a trip almost incomprehensible to the organizational part of my brain. Don’t get me wrong. I have lists of things to do—the first task when I finish writing this should be to consolidate the lists. But there is no way I can figure out how to do everything on the listS.

When things throw me off—yesterday I discovered boarding my diabetic cat will cost $616 instead of the $280 I thought I had been told three weeks ago, for example, and I have to figure out some other way to get him his insulin shots—I become not more efficient, but less.

Is this the result of bad parenting? I wish I could blame my over-organized, incredibly efficient parents (my father’s library was shelved and catalogued by the Dewey Decimal System), but what I logically should have learned from them is not borne out in my reality. Is this the result of sloppiness? Is it the result of not caring about details—thinking I’m too special to have to do anything as mundane as get organized? The result of TLE that has made my world seem all too often like a dream? Laziness? Forgetfulness? You decide. I can’t.

A California Alluvial Fan

A California Alluvial Fan

All I know is that I have too much left to do before Thursday, and here I am trying to make a recording of the “Meditation on Jesu meine Freude,” by Gardner Read. (I want to record it because that’s the best way I know to simulate an audience to practice for public performance.) I’ve finally discovered a work I want to record on my little practice organ that I can’t force onto the instrument. Purists and real organists most likely shudder at many of the recordings I post, but . . . (I won’t say what I think about that).

I had the privilege of knowing Garner Read. He was an old man by the time I met him—retired as Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence at Boston University. I don’t remember how we met, but I knew who he was because many generations of music students, including mine, used his textbook on orchestration.

Honored to Know Him

Honored to Know Him

In about 1990 I played a recital including three of his “Chorale Preludes on Southern Hymn Tunes,” and he attended. It was great fun. He gave me an old copy (original, from 1940) of his “Meditation.” It is an intensely sweet melody spinning out over a simple harmonic accompaniment. I wish I could record it. Perhaps if I get myself organized enough to get on the plane Thursday, I’ll record it on one of the organs I’ll play in Scandinavia. I hope so.

About Harold Knight
Retired English prof, SMU. Old man. Musician. Passionate about justice, equality, freedom. Therefore, I am a fervent supporter of and advocate for the Palestinian People as they struggle to survive genocide. That also means, of course, I have no use for US 45.

One Response to I need a valet or a personal planner or. . .

  1. Pingback: “You look like a god. . . Why don’t you try writing. . . “ | Me, senescent

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