Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Backing Away and Moving On to Create Music

 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.


ManxMamma said...

Your voice will be heard loud and strong through your music. I do hope you remember here in blogland from time to time. I enjoyed your perspective.

Anonymous said...

For more than a year I read all four blogs (You, Shannyn, Mudflats, and IM) every day and sometimes multiple times during the day. Gradually, I watched bloggers become more 'personalities' than reporters and winnowed down to your blog and IM. I have appreciated your unapologetic take on Israel's actions most of all. I hope you do venture your political opinion occasionally , but I commend you for moving on to do what makes your heart sing - making music.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's good to let the younger folks keep the (political) wheels turning. People like you are the guiding light, and have talents to contribute to the betterment of community/society/world in other ways. We only have so many years, and need to put them to good use. - And one-on-one persuasion/education often works best. One person at a time. I'm sure you will have opportunities to educate. :-) Look forward to posting about your music and garden!

Anonymous said...

It is time you move on. You sound like a whiner and a disgruntled old fart who is pissed that nobody visits your blog.

Philip Munger said...

"It is time you move on. You sound like a whiner and a disgruntled old fart who is pissed that nobody visits your blog.:

-- Nothing could be further from the truth. A lot of the initial traffic this blog had before Palin was selected in 2008, has remained. If I write three stories about Palin in a week, the traffic here doubles to quadruples. I'm really, really tired of writing about her.

As to not having scads of comments, mostly by people who sign on as "anonymous," with repetitious stuff, or nasty remarks about people they don't really know, or snide shots at people who live in Wasilla or Sutton or Alaska, you've got to be kidding. I never wanted that sort of a commenting community, and those that have them can keep them. To an extent that was never the case here, their blogs are important to how they are perceived as people. I'm fortunate to be heavily committed as an environmental activist, educator and artist quite independently of anything having to do with Progressive Alaska.

I am a disgruntled old fart, but not because of what you claim. Human selfishness is killing the ability of this planet's ecosystems to sustain life as we know it. That's what disgruntles this old fart.

Celia Harrison said...

I have enjoyed your blog and hope to hear from you on occassion. I completely understand how blogging can take away energy from creative pursuits. The blog will always be there if you want to say something. You are truly a progressive, I apprecicate everything you have done.

Anonymous said...

There are so many other grassroots efforts that help the "progressive" movement. i.e.: Youth for Environmental Action is a very active group with clubs across the state and need the support of older folks. When they go to Juneau, they are effective in getting the attention of legislators (maybe more so than adults).

Keeping up with Sarah Palin is an icky "job."

Anonymous said...

I came here for the Palin info and kept coming back because of how much I appreciated your wider views. Most of all I enjoy the heck out of your garden, lake, dog, mountain pics. I hope you'll find time to update your blog with how the composing is progressing and all those beautiful things that make up Phil Munger's Alaska. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Phil, it's been a pleasure reading your blog, and I strongly support and salute your decision to devote yourself to your music and other things that make you happy. Good luck, best wishes, and I hope to meet you someday.

Ennealogic said...

May the force be with you, Phil. I've always respected your blog and your viewpoint on things ranging from the environment, through music and even politics. Life is too short to not focus on one's primary talents and gifts, so I am happy you are following your heart on what you blog about into the future.

I'm in my mid-sixties too, and there is no better time to take stock of how we spend our remaining time. :)

Daisydem said...

God speed Phil. Good luck with your music. You are headed for some good times. Will miss your blog;hope you will continue to add your input at IM and the other blogs from time to time. And please do keep sharing the garden pictures with us. Namaste.

Anonymous said...

You are a rare individual; talented, involved, brave
and extraordinarily intelligent. Best wishes in whatever your future holds.

Another disgruntled, for the same reasons, old fart

crystalwolfakacaligrl said...

Dear Phil,
Your blog is the first blog I found about Palin...I've enjoyed your Saradise series and maybe someday can be made into a book. Sarah is fading away :)
Today I read that people might be interested in her...if she was being tried for murder...!
My Boyfriend is a musician and believe me I understand what you are feeling trying to balance the music world and doing other stuff.
Will look forward to your updates on your wonderful music.
Make wonderful music & thank you for all you have done.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Munger-
Yes, go for the music now. You have been a leader, giving voice to principles and ideas. It's time to "follow your bliss." Thank you for all you have done for us. And thank you for all you will do. I hope you keep blogging--about music, your garden, etc. I have enjoyed your blog and photos so much.

alaskapi said...

Am glad you are taking on the music projects. All of us can talk, few can sing, fewer still can make music from the ground up.
It takes a blend of skill and imagination I wish I had so am out here rooting for you. Have spent long hours over the years with songwriter friend being the "poet's ear". I can hear what is wrong or doesn't fit but cannot make any of what is right about it myself. That is a special gift - run with it!
I visit here daily.
I often agree with you.
I often disagree.
What I think or feel about this and that really has nothing to do though with how much I've appreciated and enjoyed stopping by here to read what you have on your mind so
thank you for all your work here and very best wishes for this next set of adventures.

Anonymous said...

I too used to read IM, Shannyn, Mudflats, and yourself...and slowly eliminated all but your blog from my feedreader. I'm 33. I didn't always agree with you but my favorite thing is that you have been courageous enough to change your mind from time to time. Thanks for everything, Phil.