Day 117

Written 17 July, 2020.



Every morning we listen together to the ABC’s Coronacast with Norman Swann and Tegan Taylor:

“Norman says” is heard most days in our otherwise dysfunctional but entire loveable house. “Norman says” to wash the virus off the shopping with a soapy cloth. “Norman says” that they now know the virus spreads not only in big drops, but tiny drops, which he calls aerosols. So we must wear a mask. Not should, but must.



Victoria is in the midst of a second wave. I text my  Melbournian composer friend, Wendy, to check if she’s in a hot spot. A long time ago, she emailed me out of the blue, commissioning me (for no money) to write a libretto for an opera set on my novel The Secret Cure”. She’d do the music. I said yes just for the adventure. I hadn’t a clue how to. At first, what I wrote was a  play with songs- a musical, she said indignantly. There were speaking parts. That shows how often I’ve been to operas. So i went to Madame Butterfly on the harbour. Actually, my friend Rhoshel, now a psychiatrist with her own clinic in New Mexico, took me. I still didn’t get it. Then W gave me a recording of the opera for Dostoevsky’s The House of the Spirits, set in a prison, with the prisoners singing about their tragic livesI got it. Within a few months, I’d written it. But by that time, W was finishing up a Phd at ANU, at a time when ANU music was in such chaos that lecturers were leaving and a professor jumped out a window. Somehow, W graduated, and about 12 months later, my wonderful professor came to ANU and soothed the troubled department and it took a new life. Now he’s taking on me and my neuroscience sleuthing. He wants to inspire his composing PhDs.



I began wondering if I could invite W to the course. She wouldn’t have to leave Melbourne, because it’d be on zoom.

This afternoon, I emailed all my creativity and neuroscience readings especially for composers to my professor. There are seven modules with 4 or more eadings in most , to be read over 12 two hour sessions. One two hour session is going to be devoted to Liane Gabora, my pin-up neuroscience who’s composed a piece of music. Then, exhausted, I pulled out hundreds of dandelions and just before dark, I raked the mud. Perhaps if we lose the mud, the birds won’t come fishing.





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