Friday, December 16, 2011


So this year, I accidentally became a music critic.  It was definitely not something I set out to do.  No one grows up dreaming of hunching over her laptop at 6:00 AM trying to translate whatever-the-heck-it-was she scribbled on a notebook in the dark into comprehensible copy.  You don't wake up one day and think, "for my next act, I'm going to earn piddly amounts of money being judgy."

But I've had a policy, for a while now, of saying yes.  (I've ignored that policy recently, too, but that's another story.)  There's a lot of self-help literature directed toward folks who don't know how to say no, but that's not my problem.  No I've got covered.  No, too hard.  No, too scary.  Nah, I'll just stay right here, thanks.

Not surprisingly, my affinity for no got me....nowhere. So, at some point in my early twenties, I started scolding myself into yes.  Yes, I'll schlep to the party.  Yeah, OK, here's my number.  Yes, fine, I'll give it a shot.

Yes is not infallible.  I've attended lousy parties, been on lousy dates, played some lousy concerts, and ended up helping more people move house than I really would have preferred.  But yes has also made life a little more interesting.

Yes, I'll try my hand at music criticism, despite a lack of anything resembling qualifications.  And do you know what?   It turns out to be fun.   I'm naturally judgy (sigh).  I like to write, especially when someone tells me what to write about.   I know some stuff about music.  Since I've started, I've even been enjoying concerts more.  Two hours of music gets...boring.  Two hours of trying to translate what you're hearing into words?  Much more interesting.

But here's what I don't like and didn't suspect -though should have suspected- would happen.  Artists are using my quotes.  "Harmonia Mundi just tweeted you," my husband informed me this morning.  I'm on this soloist's website, that ensemble's blog.   I'm plastered across the world wide web saying stuff it took me five minutes to write.

I've been trying to dissect why it makes me so uncomfortable.  Lord knows I have enough press quotes strewn across my personal page.  My ensemble quotes numerous critics and we've got the full text of several reviews available for download.  I get it.  It's just...scary.

I suppose it's kind of like becoming a parent.  Suddenly you realize your own parents were regular people who didn't know what the heck they were doing.  Doctors are human.  Critics are plain old folks.  The world is not safe.

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