I. When I began Progressive Alaska in early November, 2007, the goal here really was to "spread the word about the growing presence of progressive Alaskans and their powerful ideas on the web." To some extent, that hope has been fulfilled. For a while it even seemed there was a special synergy here among Alaska progressives who were blogging, as we shared ideas openly. From late August 2008 until late July 2009 - a fairly short period of 11 months - that was certainly the case.
Since then, for me, it has been a downhill struggle to try to describe unifying elements among Alaska progressive bloggers, at least outside of the realm of expanding rights for Alaska's LGBT community, and fighting irresponsible mining and oil development.
It is my fault that I haven't been able to find ways to reconcile differences with a few of my colleagues on a number of minor issues. Maybe time will heal these shallow wounds.
II. Meanwhile, over the four years this blog has existed, I've passed up many opportunities to get music I've already written performed, and have held back on the time needed to create new musical ideas, so as to do research, and to write thousands of political blog articles here and hundreds elsewhere.
I'm in my mid sixties. What I can write as a composer is as good as it has ever been. What I can write as a blogger may be that too, but on most issues, other people can cover the territory fairly well or better.
I only have so much time left to create the music I can uniquely offer. In the three years before Progressive Alaska existed, I created nine new works. Since 2007, I've only finished two. I've since passed on offers for four new pieces, and have four more I'm working on or considering:
1. The Wild Coast: I've been commissioned by the Anchorage Youth Symphony to write the opening piece for their 2012 Winter Concert and European Tour. The piece, dedicated to Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman, is about the portion of their 2007-2008 trek without motorized means, from Seattle to Unalaska that took place between Icy Bay and Cordova.
2. Orchestral Songs: I've commissioned British poet Tina Louise to write lyrics for a song cycle about kids, Chernobyl and Fukushima. It will be for solo vocalists and children's choir, with orchestra.
3. Bootlicking Odes: I'm looking for a lyricist or lyricists to write poems for a song cycle about journalists and bloggers who obligingly suck up to individuals and images, rather than to ideas or ideals. It will be dedicated to Max Blumenthal and Robert Hall (the Big Lake fireworks guy).
4. Valley Marimba: Three pieces for three marimba players, written for Meggie Aube, Eric Bleicher and Brady Byers.
We're fortunate here in southcentral Alaska to have three incredibly talented young marimba virtuosos. This set will showcase their talents, and poke fun at some of the idiosycracies of people where I live. It will be dedicated to the teacher who was pivotal in their development as performers - John Damberg.
III. I'll try to blog about really important stuff here in the future. And share garden pictures and stuff like that.
I can't thank Jeanne Devon, Shannyn Moore and Jessie Griffin enough for helping me to see the importance of moving on, and to going beyond trying to do what Shannyn once described as a positive, collective effort among Alaska progressive bloggers.