I both love and hate the lifestyle of the composer.
I'm not sure I can describe the mind-numbing pressure of the past couple of weeks. Except for short breaks when I posted online, I was too busy to do anything but proofread, proofread, proofread, and write, write, write, rewrite and proofread some more. (Right now there are dishes piled up in the kitchen sink, and I haven't done laundry in maybe three weeks. I guess we can see where my priorities lie.)
Yesterday, the morning of the recording session, I had to print, copy, and tape all the musicians' parts, as well as print my scores. Naturally, I didn't have enough paper, so I had to rush out of the house to finish copying at school. Only when I got to school, I had about seven minutes to finish copying. And I needed a total of 22 scores. (I actually needed 24, but more on that below.)
I managed to make it, thanks to the lovely technology of new copiers. But when the recording schedule started, I found myself worrying over the conductor's score, of which, in my haste, I had forgotten to make second and third copies, wondering if I'd screwed up the page order when I taped it. So I couldn't enjoy half the recording. (I managed to take a peek at the conductor's score during break - pages were right).
All the worrying was for naught, as the musicians played through my pieces without incident. (Three or more mistakes in the score supposedly would have resulted in my score being rejected, although thankfully there apparently weren't enough mistakes in my score to find out! Or anyone else's, for that matter.)
It's amazing to me how dependent a composer (or writer, I suppose) can feel at the end, when the piece is done, on other people's opinions. Was it strong? I kept asking myself. Would it work for the scene? But a classmate raved about it, and our orchestration instructor also complimented the work. I was so tired, though, it didn't feel like a triumph. I just let out a sigh of relief and looked forward to the end, when I could go home and sleep.
Another classmate was pretty awesome in proofing my work. (He's the guy with MAJOR conducting credentials, and he's turning out to be a really good composer and an excellent, helpful classmate, too.) The really cool thing about school—the only thing that helps me through it, in fact—is how we all work together as a team under pressure and help each other as much as possible.
So tonight I came home and watched a little TV and took a guilt-free bubble bath and fell asleep at 7:30 p.m. on the sofa. Another classmate was having a shindig to celebrate, but I didn't feel like going. It worries me a bit that I can't seem to celebrate when all is said and done. But maybe I was just too tired.