Chance Encounter Blog

note from underground

wow that was a whole month! i was, in fact, in compositional lockdown, finishing the score to 'chance encounter.' a month ago i was working around 12 hours a day, taking a break early on to run a couple of miles. three weeks ago i was working 14 hours a day but still cooking food at home. two weeks ago i was working 16-17 hours a day, ordering indian food, not answering the phone, never leaving the apartment. my friend ellen saved me from myself for four days at the very end, hosting me in her beautiful pennsylvania home replete with food grown in the garden, and kindnesses of every sort from both her and her lovely husband nick. they made me feel totally comfortable taking over their living room and working all day all day all day. but there i could take a break and have nature! human company! beautiful food! thank you guys!!

so - the score is 75 pages long, a half-hour total, with four topical sections and instrumental solos in between. shall i share some of it here? let's start with the words. at certain points in the score things have been left open so newly-found text can be sung, but here are the ones that are etched in laser-ink. i'll post again soon - after a few forays into the real world, re-acquainting myself with the gym and the grocery store :)

CHANCE ENCOUNTER TEXTS (All overheard in transient public spaces)

Topos Nostalgia

They never plant trees on this street, and if they do they’re dead within a week.
I used to live on this street, but everything is gone.

Do you ever go to your old apartment?
Where are all the things that I remember?
Remember? It was snowing horribly, and she was holding the dog?
Your old neighborhood, right? You always go back.

I used to live on this street.
We used to have a house there, but my father lost his job.
I never go there now.

There were rowers on the river, and we walked.
What kind of place are you looking for?
Do you have friends here from home?
Remember these?
Remember them?


No, no, no – you just can’t get there at this time of day.
You’ve missed the last train.
I just can’t wait any longer; I’m starving to death.
It’s not my problem.
How come we’re not moving?

Like I said, I try not to complain.

They used to give you a paper bag with a sandwich and an apple, and that was the beginning of the end.
If we were in India right now, we’d be sinking.
Do you solve everything by crying?
That would be worse than you not caring.

Always on the weekends the trains are screwed up.
I’m always on the wrong side.
It’s not my fault.
I missed the announcement.
Oh no!

People don’t know what we went through. People today just don’t understand.


You don’t know me.
I’ve never been here before.
I might be doing scientific things.
I was asleep when we took off.

I won’t be staying long.
I’m about to go back underground.
It doesn’t matter.

I have done nothing. Nothing has happened, nothing will happen.
As much as things change, they really don’t.

Are you by yourself?
You’re sitting there looking at people like you cannot understand.
Where you want to get to has to be more desirable than where you are.

What do I keep on saying? What do I keep on saying?
I have done nothing. Nothing has happened, nothing will happen.
You don’t know me.

Aimlessness Song

Where are we?
Is this the right way?
Where’s the guy with the directions?

This is East. You want to go West.
Maybe we should all relocate.

Do you know how many blocks it is from here?
Ten blocks seems like a journey to me now.
You’ve missed the last train.
I think I should take a day off.
I already waited in this line.
I hope they know what they’re doing.

It’s on my desk, waiting to be signed.
Where are we?
Now we’re gonna miss the movie.
Maybe they missed their connection.
So then I was back in line and now I’ve been rerouted.
Do you need an appointment or can you just walk in?

I thought of five hundred ways not to make this trip.
We both headed for the same guy.
He thought we were talking German.
We gotta move around a lot. That’s how it is in the resistance.

We need to know where the party is.
No one had any idea what I was talking about.
I don’t remember where this conversation was going.
I don’t do anything to it – it just comes out like this.

I’m trying to catch my breath.
I hope they know what they’re doing.

I found a place where we can sit together.