Thursday, June 11, 2009

Great Things (May 11)

Dear Family and Friends,

Almost every day this week something amazing happened.

Monday I met with the director of the MTC for lunch; he got his PhD in Instructional Psychology and Technology (a field I'm thinking about) and I wanted to talk about possible career paths. Our conversation went really well and I felt impressed to ask him about opportunities to work in developing new ideas at the MTC. He put me in touch with the director of the Development department... which is the department that originally wrote the Missionary Guide, then Preach My Gospel, then created the Preach My Gospel DVD's...

Tuesday I realized, after my voice lesson, that my range was good enough to sing "Giants in the Sky" from Into the Woods. In the last month, I've had a few epiphanies as far as singing goes that have extended my comfortable chest voice singing range from being a bass (F2 to E4 - the low F to the E above middle C) to entering the tenor range (all the way up to A4). I decided to practice the new song once or twice in order to make it part of my audition repertoire.

Wednesday I met with the director of the Development department at the MTC; he took me to lunch and brought his entire department to meet me. We talked about the different projects in works in the department and I felt really good there. The people are passionate about their work and they love each other, and I feel like it's something that I could do (or at least of which I could be a part). I asked for the opportunity to work with the curriculum development team. The director said he would talk with his managers about our options and asked me to drop by today (Monday) to see what they thought. He also mentioned that since the Church (and by extension, the MTC) has a blanket hiring freeze, they won't be able to hire me... which is probably just fine for right now. It should give me an opportunity to gain experience and work on a worthwhile project at the same time.

Thursday I went with my grandmother to visit one of her friends in the hospital. As we talk, she asks me about the book that I'm writing. I mention that it's an inspirational book and she smiles and says, "That's my editor! My editor does inspirational books! As soon as you are ready to submit it, just let me know and I'll give it a proper introduction." Just the day before, I had pondered how on earth I was going to get my book past the "slush pile" and to a senior editor. The "slush pile" is a term for all the unsolicited manuscripts that a publishing house receives. Normally, an intern or some other low-level staff sorts through the submitted works, scans the query letters, and, if they like it, stick it in one pile. If not, they send a form letter of rejection. Then it goes on to another person... and another... and another... until, after many, many steps, it arrives at someone who has power to accept the manuscript, not just power to reject it. My grandmother's friend would be the perfect contact to make my book stand out among the crowd. I may also ask for endorsements... but we'll see about that.

Saturday I auditioned for "Pirates of Penzance" - a comic musical that will be playing in downtown Salt Lake City (at the Off Broadway Theater). I took "Giants in the Sky" after buying the sheet music and memorizing the words. The accompanist wasn't able to play it, since it went too fast for him, so after a few lines they asked me to start over and sing a capella. I did, and after a few lines completely forgot the words to the song. I just stopped singing, and kept looking up at the sky, willing the words to come back. The director said, "It's obvious that you can sing... let's go on to scales." A wave of relief washed over me as I realized that she had thought my dramatic pause was simply waiting for the nonexistent music to do an interlude... and not that I had forgotten the words! They liked my voice, my range, and my dancing (and I was excited to learn that the musical involves a lot of tap - that's the one style of dance that I haven't yet studied), so they called me back for callbacks this coming Thursday. I'll keep you updated; the musical plays during the month of August.

And Sunday I got to talk with my missionary brother in Chile, I sang in church in my afternoon ward (I regularly attend two wards - one at 8:30am and one at 1:00 pm), and I simply loved the 11 hours I spent in meetings and everything else. During Sacrament meeting in my second ward, I was listening to the final speaker and suddenly had a vision of a children's book to write. It was the same feeling that had come over me when I wrote Ten Days Until Forever, so I began writing on the back of my program. It's a book about the sacrifices that Mothers make for their families. Happy Mother's Day!

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