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Like some Indiana Jones adventurer emerging from the thick jungle to gaze upon the uncluttered valley below, I have emerged from a frantically busy period into the bliss of two days free from work. Free for somebody like me is a relative term, of course, so after this morning’s visit to my German dentist with his The Great Escape cufflinks, I have settled down to some of the administrative duties associated with the modern composer.

My latest PRS statement arrived this morning, less ample than the last one, sadly, but I have sent out six pieces to a Festival for consideration and begun the rewrite of Why Should We Not Sing? I began the piece with the ensemble I wanted in an ideal world, and it now needs to be tightened up a little for practical reasons, but, to be honest, this is a challenge I enjoy and the piece is unlikely to suffer much because of it.

The task for the next couple of days is to complete this rewrite and get some of the parts sent out. It is still over a month until the first performance, but, as Messengers taught me last Monday, fortune favours the prepared mind, and one hears so many stories of composers who cannot hit deadlines that simply being efficient is a great way to mark oneself out from the crowd.

As the year draws to its close it is time to reflect a little, of course, and I was asked on Monday how my year off had been by somebody who had not seen me for a year. I have so easily accepted my life change that I had forgotten that, a year ago, it was anything but certain that I would survive into a second year. Well, here I am, and it was remarked by somebody this morning that I am more rested, relaxed and happy since leaving the teaching behind. At these times of year things can still be rather busy, but it is by some measure different from the way it was, and there are quiet periods too.

Meanwhile my momentum is picking up ever so slightly, this fortnight’s clutch of performances bringing new visitors to this blog and to my website. The one thing I have learned this year is that the promotional side of being a writer is crucially important, and, while a publisher might deal with that (if they were interested enough), I still have the time and inclination to do it myself. Days like today give me the opportunity to catch up.