Part One: A Little Context

by Megan M. on September 8, 2009 · View Comments (Blog) |

Okay, now look.

It’s very hard to write stuff like this down. It’s like trying to write down a dream you had three days ago. Once it’s over, you’re in a different dimension—a different mindset, a completely different universe with different physics and laws of nature and so on and so forth. So don’t let the fact that I never wrote a recap for my Orlando win get you down. I’m getting to this one. I’m just… a little bit off kilter. Just, ah, bear with me.

Let’s try to come at this from the beginning.

A Little Context

In 2005, I competed at the North American Festival of Wales in the semi-professional division for their David G. Morris memorial award (no relation). This was in Orlando. I won first place. They handed me a trophy and a check for $3500, and I started filling out forms for the 2006 National Eisteddfod in Swansea, Wales (the competition for which the award money was mandated). That was awesome. I know it’s horrible that I never wrote a recap. Believe me, I am kicking myself now, when I’m trying to gain perspective on this whole thing. You can give me a whack later.

In 2006, I packed my absolute minimum of personal and office stuff into Marty’s Buick (filled the car, completely, to brimming) and we moved to Austin. I think we had $200 to our names. One of the windshield wipers broke. There were monsoons. Angel let us move in with her for eight months. Angel is a DOLL.

In Austin, I found a pianist, filed my applications for entry, and started doing a lot of singing. That fall I hauled something like eighty-seven pieces of luggage across the country, over the Atlantic ocean, through the Dublin airport, into a taxi, onto a ferry, I think there was another plane or three, and a bus, there was a bus, and a train aaaaaaaallll the way down to Swansea, do not critique my recollection of travel options through Britain, it was a solid 36 hours of not being allowed to sleep and it was the most bizarre and wonderful pain I have ever endured in the name of musical-cultural expression. It’s okay that I don’t remember it clearly. End of story.

I checked into the Dragon Hotel (how I finally got there, I’ll never remember) and slept like the dead for about a week. I nursed my travel-inspired sinus infection, and managed to get myself back in working order before the National Eisteddfod got underway. (Point of interest: The Dragon Hotel also did not have working wireless in the rooms, so I spent an alarming amount of time sitting on a couch in the lobby—in my pajamas, because I’m shameless like that—with a laptop. The hotel employees got to recognize me pretty quickly!)

I navigated the amazing and terrifying landscape of the Welsh National Eisteddfod, sang like a loon (well, not exactly like a loon), made it through the preliminaries into the main stage event, talked to people from newspapers and radio shows and television shows, sang on an enormous stage in an enormous pink pavilion, and won second place in the Over 25 Mezzo-Soprano division. Stride la vampa in Welsh, can you imagine that!? (To this day, Marty can sing the first two lines of “Gwridog y fflamau” on cue.) Another competitor was kind enough to translate for me when they announced my name and shook my hand in front of all those people. I grinned and said Thank You and floated home in a haze of shock and delight.

Then I did other things for a few years.

Marty and I moved into an apartment. I blackmailed him into quitting his job. (I KID, I kid.) We continued to build our individual empires from the ground up, learning and relearning just how challenging (and rewarding!) it is to make a living when you don’t have some larger institution promising to take care of you. I launched That Idea Blueprint Girl, and started to get seriously intense about where I was going and what I was doing. We did a lot of stuff. It was interminably cool.

And then…

And then… there was this. The North American Festival of Wales, 2009, in Pittsburgh.

To be continued. (Please don’t hurt me.)

  • stevendreamweaver
    You DID warn us that it's only part one... so only a light spanking if you don't deliver part 2 soon!
  • spinhead
    I have drifted away. I now drift back.

    You're amazing, M. Oh, not that; anyone could learn to sing opera in a complex language they don't even speak. Cake. No, I mean, you do *do* stuff. Life comes at you like a runaway bus and you don't jump out of the way--you jump *on*

    Hey; you're that scene in Lord of the Rings where Gimli comes up behind Legolas on their horse, and the elf just grabs the harness *from behind his head* and swings himself up into the saddle.

  • CoCreatr
    Hmm, I feel I dimly know a part of this early part of the story. Late response but eager...
    Ah -- That Idea Blueprint Girl
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