Arts Rodeo: A Year-End Round-Up

Friends, it’s either write this year-end post or clear out the basement and, honestly, one of my 2019 goals is to become that person who is productive when procrastinating, like cleaning or baking, instead of someone who re-reads fantasy novels when procrastinating. (Editor’s note: Libby has re-read two fantasy novels in the last two days.)

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kansas

So here’s the year-end round-up that, in all honesty, adds nothing to the national discourse, but DOES fall under the header of “work-related” so it’s semi-productive and doesn’t involved shifting old boxes and knocking down cobwebs. Win-win.

Somehow or another, 2018 ended up basically the same as it started: parenting, working, and writing. After a sort of down end to 2017, this past year has been a steady hustle of deadlines and opportunities and has allowed little rushes of growth pocketed throughout it.

At the end of 2017, I had stopped writing for The Star and started contributing to The Pitch and KCUR, along with KC Studio, not really knowing what would happen. Each publication reaches a different, if semi-overlapping, audience and it’s been a puzzle pitching the right story, writing in different styles and tone, working with different editors, balancing coverage for genres and organizations and artists, and finding the time to manage it all. But somehow it all worked out. I couldn’t write every story I wanted, but I covered as much as I could.

My goal all along had been to get information about our area’s music and dance in front of as many eyes as possible, especially considering The Star’s coverage was so drastically reduced, so that people are aware–whether they hit upon an article as they looked for KS government updates, or flipped to a story about chamber music after reading a restaurant review–of the incredibly varied and dauntingly busy scene we boast here in KC and the surrounding region, not just the big name stars that everyone covers.

And boy, did I write! I had about 66 pieces this year. It was incredibly fun, if somewhat boggling, to learn about baroque chamber music, Shakespearian pronunciation, wine glass tuning systems, WWI-era poetry and contemporary ballet all during the same deadline cycle. I listened to scads of music.

This year, I had my first images published, recorded and edited my first video, recorded and edited my first audio interview, wrote my first book review. I worked Tom Selleck into a lede. I had no poetry published, but I did have some encouraging words on my rejections. I made very small headway on getting my children’s book pitch ready, but I gathered advice from friends and colleagues. (Now I need to actually implement it!)

This isn’t really a year-end round up. I don’t have a list of favorite pieces I wrote or concerts I attended. Each piece had its challenge and most concerts were a joy.

OK, so maybe Janelle Monáe during Open Spaces was amazing. And all the music and art generated from Open Spaces. And it was fascinating learning about Norman Corwin and altar spaces and Gerald Trimble and supernumeraries and the Kansas City Philharmonic and Mary Lou Williams and the trans community and … and … goodness gracious, you get the idea.

I’ve read as much as I could get away with. We traveled more this year than last. I ran (semi-walked) a 5k. I learned about my adopted home state.

I contributed to the growing conversation about diversity in classical music and watched as organization after organization made concerted efforts to enrich their programming. Representation matters.

Thanks to KC Studio and the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, I’m reviewing again.

It has been, friends, a year. I could not have fathomed I’d end up, like Dorothy Gale, right back where I started, but in a different way. Not everything was good this year, not by a long shot, but if I can keep learning, writing and contributing for a while longer, I’ll keep at it.

Best to you in 2019. Keep at it.



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