An Introvert Takes the Floor

Can you guess which one is the extrovert?

Can you guess which one is the extrovert?

I stood in the crowded airport minimart at two in the afternoon, my face in a book to hide the tears. Between the goodbyes, the airplane fears, the luggage concerns and overall traveler stress, I really don’t understand why everyone looks so calm in airports. Then again I am rarely able to mask my own emotions, even when I think I am; something in my expression always gives me away!

On top of all of this leaving-home emotion, just as heartbreaking as that first goodbye seven years ago, was the devastating realization that I had forgotten my Kindle in my room. On it were the three books I was planning on reading, one for the plane, two for my week alone in Milan.

While irritating, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. On impulse I bought a book by Susan Cain called, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” and for the next ten hours was entertained by Cain’s fascinating journey into the world of introversion and extroversion. Continue reading

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Five Secrets of Great Dressers

Did I say dressers? I meant singers! Oh well; since I already mentioned it in the title, this week I’ll address both singing AND fashion, and hopefully tie them together in some meaningful ways.

Those of you who know me know that in preparation for our move to Milan, I’ve been applying myself to learning the rules and caprices of fashion, partly from necessity but mostly out of an interest which has been augmented by my sudden proximity to a public library (unlike in library-less Thailand, where I was forced to haunt quiet corners of bookshops to read for free, before being discovered and discreetly admonished). I’m sure I’ll be able to expound on the topic much more after spending some time in Italy, which is, perhaps by no coincidence, the traditional heart of both opera and fashion design, but for now, I must admit that there is a lot to be learned from such frivolously-titled books as “How to Look Fab” and “The Secrets of Style” and the glossy magazines that inspired them. A lot of the advice is sensible and practical, and some of it makes me wish I had read them long ago.

Here are a few of my favorite tips: Continue reading

Singing in the Summertime

Contemplating nature and each other

Is it just me, or does nothing kills a perfectly good practice routine quicker than an unlimited amount of sunshine and free time?

I’ve spent this past week revisiting my family in my childhood home, free from virtually all obligations, free to spend my hours sitting on the back porch, basking in the mild sunshine, watching Bill the cat chew catnip and Whiskey the pitbull chase bumblebees, without a single concert on the horizon to kick me back into singing gear.

And it’s therein, I think, lies the problem. Even though I dream all year of all the amazing vocal breakthroughs that will take place in the summertime, when I have seemingly infinite time to practice my exercises and learn new songs, somehow it never happens. More often than not I find myself cruising through summer sales at our sleepy local mall, running in circles around the garden, and making creative snacks out of all the random food my parents keep in their fridge. All this when I could be updating my web site and reviewing audition repertoire, not to mention finding an apartment in Milan and learning Italian.

Truth be told, I don’t actually feel that bad about my carefully selected songbooks gathering dust in my suitcase. Continue reading