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09/23/2011

a bit of calm before the...

Today I am home, resting up, mostly. There is something going around: a sniffly kind of annoyance. I think my body is fighting it off, so I need to give it a fighting chance, especially considering that Sunday I fly to NYC at 6 AM - and the ride begins. 

Sunday we rehearse with the string quintet.

Monday I get to sing three times - a special radio performance, a video-taped performance for Converse and topping it off, an Apple Store performance in the evening.

Tuesday, as far as I know, there are two performances - a taped radio one, and the show with string quintet at Dominion NY to kick off my EP release, and the iTunes Single of the Week.

And we also premiere the Dreamer music video! I am beyond excited and a bit nervous.

Fortunately, Wednesday is off... and I get to sleep in and actually enjoy NYC a bit. After I get back to Los Angeles, I re-group a little bit, and then October 3rd is my performance at Bardot in Hollywood - also with string section. I feel so spoiled - performing with strings is a whole other level of experience.

There are other things in the works right now, including Europe in late October, more performances and radio things.

But today, I get to just rest a bit and give myself a break. I also get to reflect a little on how fortunate I am, really, to be living my dream.

Yes, I have worked hard - and living is not unlike being a farmer: you sow the seeds, tend them - sometimes you despair, because they appear to die - only to find out later that against all odds, you have a rare fruit or bloom on your hands. But so much of the process is also instinct and good fortune. And another huge part of it is persistence - sometimes to the point of absurdity.

And sometimes you are simply surprised - like today I was watering the plants/flowers in the garden, and I saw that one of the two bushes of lavender I had given up for dead was actually green again and on its way to health and general well-being. While the other was a dry husk.

Who can tell why? Both of them certainly got the same blues and started dying off - they both got transplanted, so they would get more sun. Both received the same amount of attention - or non-attention. And yet, lo and behold, one of them managed to shake off oblivion, while the other gave up its ghost.

These days I often get people telling me things such as: 'Wow, you are really doing it". Or: 'Congratulations, you are making your dream come true. It happens so rarely'.

Is it true, then? Or do most people give up halfway through? I do know one thing: at some point, a few years ago, it was my sheer stubbornness that kept me going forward with music and art. I would have these long talks with my mom, who would attempt to dissuade me, in order to spare me more pain of rejection and certain doom. She meant well. Of course, I never listened. I am not good at following parental advice, in general.

I don't know whether I kept going because of sheer spirit of contrariness, or something else. Certainly it was the love of the music and my natural affinity for it. But sometimes I think that it really takes so much arrogance, as well, to believe that you can make a living out of making art. I mean, you have to presume that someone - or many - will love what you do, and not only love it, but want to give you money for it. Wow. Put that way, why would anyone want to become an artist? And am I, myself, really that arrogant?

Anyway, all I am trying to say, rather long-windedly here, is that today I am reflecting on how fortunate I have been. As a person who strives to move forward at all times, I often get into that state of: 'ok - got here, this is done. What next??' and don't really savor what is on my plate at the moment, because I am already looking to the next thing, and calculating the odds of surmounting the next obstacle.

Someone just told me the other day - a new friend, who knows a few people in the spotlight - 'Make sure you notice the moments now, because things will get so hectic and crazy, and moments will fly by. And it is really about the moments. Focus on the here and now and savor them, or they will be a blur in your memory just months from now'. I think she is right.

And so I am grateful for this blog, Missy's sketchbook, the iPhone that takes great pictures... so I can catch moments in my nets, like little shiny fish and revisit them later.

...I am thinking of the long drive with Missy to the Valley the other day, discussing the many uses of scarves and giggling.

I am thinking of going mountain biking the other day, blowing my tire almost right away, and being rescued, 15 seconds later, by a Russian biker, who was almost military in his precision, efficiency and possessed all necessary accessories. Two minutes later my tire was fixed and we continued on. What were the odds that a Russian mountain biker would show up seconds later to bail me out? Maybe he parachuted in. Indeed, his Russian was a bit too good for someone who has lived here since he was five. And he said his name was Vadim. Ha! Probably a code name, like 0-0-7.

And then there's the fig tree in the yard, that has been working hard this year, and every morning I go get fresh figs. But yesterday there was a squirrel having his breakfast in the tree. We had breakfast together. It was cozy.

As my release is coming to fruit, so are the tomatoes, and there are so many.

So right now, as I wrote even a few of these things down, I am sitting here and smiling, because gratitude is a bit like a warm bath. As we are entering the Autumn Equinox, I am saying thanks for harvesting what I planted in the recent year, and before, too. And also for lucky shiny bits of treasure I have randomly - or not so randomly - gathered into my nets throughout this journey.

I think if you can, do the same thing today for yourself. Find at least five things you are grateful for and write them down.

It is worth it.

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About

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NYC-born, raised in Russia, spent some time in an Italian monastery, arrived in the U.S. & studied opera. The rest is history.

Album 'Beatrix Runs' out now on iTunes worldwide.

New EP 'Hero' out in the spring 2014.

Contact: elly@elizaveta.net

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