On Love

10 April 2019 in Heather, Writing

Sometime one summer when I was almost or maybe ten, I found a bird under one of the lilacs behind the house. I watched it gasp a few last breaths and knew it would die. I kept watching. My little brother swooped in, hollering, and scooped the bird into the bowl of his hands. It’s what I had wanted to do but wouldn’t allow myself. My brother and I examined the bird, from the flutter of the smallest feathers around its neck, soft as love, to its round eye, hardening like spilled ink. I stared into it, and the eye seemed to expand. I observed the point of its beak and was tempted to see if it might pierce my
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Literary Audio

29 December 2014 in Heather, Writing

In 2014, I tried my hand at audio journalism, editing several pieces on music and new media. Highlights included one-on-one interviews with impresarios, composers, and music directors: — A profile with Chris Rountree, artistic director of wildUp — Behind the scenes at REDCAT, including a post-performance interview with David Rosenboom — Looking back on Invisible Cities with Yuval Sharon, artistic director of The Industry — Contemplating astronomy, data visualization, and music composition at Pasadena’s AxS Festival These pieces reflect my passion for investigating the praxes of media arts on the West Coast.

On Xenakis

20 October 2014 in Heather, Music

I remember how I held my breath as my dad pounded each nail halfway into the square piece of wood we’d covered in black felt. I watched as two nails became three, then five, then eight, until the last completed a perfect circle. Dad handed me the board and I returned to my desk to consult my math book, which described how to wind string from nail to nail at measured intervals around the circle. The lines of string began to create a web around the perimeter of an inchoate circle, this one hovering magically in the center of the board over the black felt. I repeated the process twice more, using different colors of string to mark intervals of
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Art Is

2 October 2014 in Heather, Theater, Writing

You could park a big ol’ Cadillac inside Grandma’s walk-in pantry. To a child, the great windowless room stocked with jams and sauces and pickles and puddings was nothing less than a theater. The rows of metal shelving parsed the space into my very own backstage, wings, proscenium, and house. And on a shelf at the back, below the neatly indexed cake mixes, rested a simple cardboard box— the costume box. The pantry became an escape from chores—from pulling weeds, picking green beans, and hanging laundry on the line. Grandma, perhaps knowing the futility of wringing work out of a girl on Christmas or spring break, would allow me to spend hours playing dress-up. I made tiaras out of tinfoil
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Brahms Ballade, Op. 10 No. 4

8 June 2013 in Heather, Music

The middle section of this piano piece conjures a moment from one of my past lives. An early morning. Mist thick as cobwebs. I’ve wandered from the small stone house to the water’s edge, and in spite of the blindfold of vapor, I see it. A lake monster, moving as an alto voice in a murk of harmonies. It swims and sings against the current, toward me. The A section returns, resting an invitation on my shoulder, and I go back to it, leaving an outline of myself at the water’s edge, watched and watching. A long time ago.

Mahler 9, Not to Be?

14 March 2013 in Heather, Music

I wrote this piece two weeks ago in anticipation of tomorrow’s SFSymphony performance of Mahler’s 9th Symphony at Davies Hall. The orchestra musicians went on strike yesterday, and I half expect that Friday’s concert will be cancelled. All is not lost if it is, however, as I’ll be able to join my fellow Grotto writers at the Book Passage in the Ferry Building for an evening of three minute readings. Mahler in March reminds me of Mahler in September and the last time anyone wanted to see the symphony with me. In all honesty, the symphony is best à seule. No one talking through the warmup. No one asking pressing questions at intermission. I will wear blue silk and the
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