Friday, November 2, 2012

On Minioperas, mentoring, and rubbing shoulders (okay, emails) with famous artists

It's been a while since my last blog post.

Here's why: 
1. I was too nervous to post because of the Minioperas event. We (writers, composers, and filmmakers) were waiting and waiting for the results.
2. I was revising a novel manuscript that was actually based on an opera, and I was scared to hell that my amazing agent would say "Meh," and ask me to start over on a different topic altogether.
3. It's fall semester, and I'm mentoring several kick-ass graduate instructors who are lovely people, but the paperwork and preparation take a lot of time.
4. My younger son broke his arm in a spectacular way (and by spectacular, I mean haunting) that required surgery and a week of attentive love and care and pillow-positioning and no sleep.

But here's the good news, my friends! 

1. Two days ago, the results of the Minioperas contest were announced. Before that, I'd been having lunch with a friend from grad school (Maryam Baig--daughter of this amazing man) whom I hadn't seen in years and who is the best Puck I have ever seen on stage (and ever will, I suspect). While walking back to my car, I started getting tweets and emails congratulating me on winning the Minioperas contest. I won the mentorship, folks, and I've been walking around in a kind of shock and awe ever since. To briefly recap:
  • I wrote a miniopera script based on Neil Gaiman's character, The Sweeper of Dreams. Please click on the link to hear him read this mesmerizing character prompt.
  • There were over 500 entries. Neil Gaiman chose the top 4 scripts based on his prompt (the other two artists chose the top 3 each, for a total of 10 finalists). I was a lucky finalist with "The Lingerer."
  • Composers then composed minioperas for their favorite finalist. Three Lingerer composers made the finalist round, too! (I literally memorized Max Perryment's composition, I listened to it so much. My partner teased me about my narcissism, but it couldn't be helped!) You can listen to all of the incredibly talented composers here.
  • I exchanged a few brief emails with Neil Gaiman, shocked (again) that my inbox says "From: Neil" and grateful that such a talented and busy artist takes the time to write an email when his time could be better spent making f*ing good art. 
  • The ENO event at BMI in London was cancelled for the finalists, so I cancelled my flight and non-refundable hotel. I was a little sad because I really wanted to shake hands with Gaiman and Terry Gilliam, but on the bright side, I could stay home with my son, who had just had surgery. 
  • Then we waited and waited to hear the announcement of the winners of a year's mentorship with a professional artist in our respective fields. Jeremy Sams is the mentor for the script writer. My God. Look at his work!
  • This morning, Mr. Sams emailed me, and this 9-month adventure with learning a new craft begins. 
Thank you, English National Opera. Thank you, Neil Gaiman. Thank you, Jeremy Sams. I feel very lucky.

As for the rest of my list?
2. My agent loved my manuscript. (Big sigh of relief and a pinch of giddiness.)
3. I just finished the syllabus template for the spring semester for all my grad students. It rocks.
4. My son is back to school with a purple cast and lots of loving attention from 4th grade pals and teachers. And Maman et Papa slept through the entire night for the first time since the surgery. Life is good.

To my friends on the East Coast: I'm thinking of you and hoping life gets easier this week, particularly in the form of electricity. Email me if you need (or just want) anything.


  1. Congratulations on winning the mini-opera contest!!! That's fantastic! It's been fun following the progress of the contest on your blog :)
    And ouch, sorry about your son! Hope his arm heals quickly.

    1. Thank you, Rachel. I'm really looking forward to the next 9 months. I feel very fortunate.

  2. Congratulations Lori. My name is Helgi and I´m a postgrad composition fellow at Guildhall, School of Music and Drama in London and I have a proposition for you. I´ve been commissioned to write an opera and need a libretto. Drop me a line for more information:

    My homepage is