Our diarist Anthea Kreston is leaving the Artemis Quartet next year. Others might panic. Anthea sees a bevy of opportunities. So many things a violinist can do.
“I really don’t know what I am going to do next year.” Normally a statement like that might instill fear, especially if the person thinking it is supporting a family, not in her native country, and will, in 9 months time, of her own choosing, be entirely without an income. So – what does that person do? She makes lists. Lots of lists – things she is good at, things she likes to do, things she doesn’t like to do, things she has never done before but bets she would be pretty good at, things she has never done before and has no idea how to do but would really like to try, places she would like to live, things that are important for her and for her family. These lists are usually found in the inside covers of various books in bookshelves around the house, by accident in the hands of a friend (I normally leave a rotating pile of free things in our front entrance and more than once someone has written to me “there seems to be very important notes written in the back of this book you gave me!”), on hotel stationary crammed in my backpack. I write and write, and when I am home, I mull and mull, and plan, and search, and talk to my lovely husband over a glass of something tasty after the kids are peacefully snoring upstairs.
They do ask me – “mom – what are we going to do next year?” They are sometimes worried, but immediately we calm when we talk about all the things that we could do – all the exciting places we could go, or what our lives might look like here, in Berlin, but with more Mom around. With Jason I talk about the Big Issues – how we want enough money to be able to visit our kids anytime we want when we are old, environmental/political concerns, who wants to be the next bread-winner, education for our daughters. Whether we want to live somewhere hot or cold, or close to the water or mountains, or in a city or the country.
And so I have subscribed to lists that come into my mailbox – openings for concertmaster, university positions, artistic director of a festival or concert series. And I think of crazy stuff like – how about a radio show? How about leading musical tours? Writing a book? Strangely, Jason is completely not worried. Not in the least. He is, and always has been, so confident in my abilities, or maybe in my ability to land on my feet. I am bizarrely financially conservative – we have a big buffer, I am good at being very poor (I haven’t upgraded my lifestyle even though we could have these last years, we are just living the way we always have). For my birthday yesterday they gave me dried beans, spices and quinoa – they know what I like!
And so – off I go – just kicking the ball into outer space – I will audition for concertmaster of Oslo, principal violin of St Paul Chamber, send in a couple of applications for University positions, and continue to explore and expand the roots which have grown and deepened here in Germany these past 3 years. I don’t really have time to practice all that orchestra stuff, and I haven’t really ever taken an orchestra audition, but I suppose I will just go, play with honesty, and see where it all leads.
Anyway – I still have 9 months. Plenty of time.