Saturday, September 24, 2011


Lately, when the phone rings, I rush to get it.  It could be my husband, carping about how the grocery list is out of order.  It could be my boss, who calls at odd hours of the night.  But maybe, just maybe, it will be a number I don't recognize.  I'll pick up the phone and say "hello."

" this Anne?" the voice on the other end of the line will ask.  And then, just barely possibly, "Congratulations."

Instead, it's my mother: "You left your camera here."  It's my dentist: "Your husband has an appointment."  It's our contractor, wanting his check.

But I keep running for it.   I hop off the exercise machine.  I scrabble frantically beneath the couch cushions.  I haul myself out of bed and dodge an awkwardly placed pile of shoes trying to stop the bring bring bring.   My chamber group, which learned in July that we were in the finals of a national competition, has spent the last 2.5 months waiting to learn our fate.

On Thursday, I stumbled downstairs.  I thought: "Husband.  Groceries."  The unknown number flashed across the screen.  I picked up the phone.


I've felt, ever since...strange.

It's taken me awhile to figure out why.  I've won my share of stuff, in life.  Probably more than my share of stuff.   I've won essay contests and poetry contests and fiction contests and scholarships and grants, mostly when I was young, but on into my twenties as well.   Winning always felt good, but it was a superficial kind of good, especially if I'd worked hard -as I often worked hard- to win.

Turns out there's a difference between winning as a goal and winning as a byproduct.  Between winning for something you've deliberately crafted as a vehicle for winning, and winning for something you do because you love to do it.

It turns out to be a powerful distinction.  This particular chamber group has its share of the business of being human, but it is, in my life, something I'm unmitigatedly thankful for.  It's good music-making with good friends.  I work hard at it, and I believe it in.

It turns out I can't say that for very many things.   Usually, in my world, it's one or the other.  I work hard at speech therapy, but I don't always believe in it.  I believe in writing, but I often let it slide.   Throughout my life, probably out of some combination of self-protectiveness and perversity, I've tended to work hard at things I don't believe in and half-ass things I do.

I work hard it, and I believe in it.

It's radically simple and unbelievably complex, and it makes me feel, more than good, more than anything else, vulnerable.

On the other hand, it's nice to have someone else believe in it, too.  Look for our debut CD, to be recorded and released by a major label.


Ellie said...

Anne! Hooray! Congratulations! Where do I order the CD?

I'm proud of you, my friend.

Kelsey said...

Oh Anne, I am so proud of you guys. Congratulations congratulations congratulations! I wish I were there to make you a hundred celebratory drinks.

Noa said...

Congratulations, Anne!

Andrew said...

Very cool. Congrats. Keep us posted on the CD release.

Mara said...

Yay! I'm so excited about the CD. I kept listening to those excerpts on your website but it's kind of unsatisfying.
By the way, yesterday I was thinking about those T-rex impersonations that we used to do. Will you take a picture of yourself doing one and post it on your blog? Pleeease?

Susan said...

If this were Facebook I could like Mara's comment, but since it is not I will only second it and say "yes! yes! yes! dinosaur impersonation pictures!"

And congratulations!!!!!