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The cats have been misbehaving again. Cat 1 managed to get into yet another scrap with the very aggressive black and white number from two doors along, and lost a chunk of his tail in the process, but also suffered the indignity of being handed back over the fence by my builder, who is working next door. Thankfully he (the builder) had not tried to patch him up with Gripfill or some other lethal concoction. We think that this specific feline, having done the whole drug thing after his last severe fight, has had a narrow escape from the lampshade-on-the-head job, for we bandaged him up briefy like some kind of extra from Holby Kitty, saving the day, we think. Cat 2, on the other hand, did nothing particularly wrong yesterday, but his past caught up with him as we found evidence of his – ahem – doings at the bottom of a wardrobe. At least these doings had become fossilised, but the clothing underneath them is dead to the world. Rubbish collection day soon, thank goodness. Do they take cats?

How Cat 1 sees the world

Apart from the normal domestic chaos instigated by our feline friends everything ticked along fairly decently on Tuesday, although I was tired all the way through. At home I was involved more with musical admin than arranging, the consequence of a few busy days spent out and about followed by a day off, and there were rehearsals at either end of the day as well.

Wednesday and Thursday consisted of a couple of days in a cat-free zone, part of the aftermath of A Significant Day at the weekend. This was a clearly delineated patch of rest and relaxation, hence no blogging, no emails, and no composing. Instead I ate copious amounts of wonderful food, drank moderate amounts of fruity red concoctions and passed the idle hours exploring or facing off over quick games of Hive or Backpacker, without much success.

The Hive takes shape...

At the very least, though, this mini break proved that a change is indeed as good as a rest, so much so that I overslept hugely this morning, my tardy emerging from the bedroom causing me to be nearly late for my rehearsal, although I should point out that this was not an evening booking.

While I was away relaxing a couple of compositional stories broke as well.  Firstly, it appears that there has been a cancellation of one of my concerts later this month, taking a performance with it. It would not be helpful to write about it until the cancellation is officially confirmed, but these things happen and hopefully I will be able to secure some work from elsewhere to fill that specific gap. Secondly I received a pile of music for my next arrangement project. As I got back late last night I have not had a good look at it, but it does appear as though it will keep me busy for a while at least. Lastly, the silence was finally broken and I received an enquiry about a new commission. This is always good news, and, as I realised when the email arrived, something I prefer to arranging by quite some margin. If it comes to fruition this will be a choral work for September, but, as with Peace, My Heart there are hoops of copyright to jump through before we can go a-setting, so I am keeping my powder dry for now on this, but am optimistic.

Copyright is necessary to protect the artist, but need not be a necessary evil.

All of this arranging allied to a potential new commission means that I am actually well on course to hit and even exceed my target for earnings from composition this year. What only last summer looked a rather optimistic estimate appears now to be rather on the low side, and it is the small chunks of work done here that are adding up, although small chunks tend to lead to bigger ones, or course. By the end of the year I am aiming to have replaced an entire day per week’s worth of teaching earnings with those from composition, turning something like 450 lessons, plus all the associated travelling, report writing, fetching and chastising, into pieces people can rehearse, perform and, with luck, enjoy.

Of course, this could just have been a very good start to the year, but pieces sometimes lead to more pieces, and I really am hopeful that the momentum is picking up behind the scenes. It is certainly helpful that I now have the courage to describe myself as a composer, rather than anything else, also that, even in my playing work, my biography is almost exclusively slanted towards my writing.

Momentum. I Hear, And Am Elated led to Peace, My Heart which might lead to...

Over the Easter weekend I will be taking part in the rush of playing which descends upon organists at this time of year, also hopefully doing a bit of desk cleaning in preparation for the arranging and writing which awaits me on the other side of those hot cross buns. I feel good about things at the moment, and the sun is out as well. That balance I have sought for the past six months is starting to come together all on its own, my finances are stepping back into order, and I have projects on the table. At this rate I won’t be needing to ask for my jobs back come September.