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In a reflective tailspin, as I just submitted my ASCAP+ award application. This ritual is an annual taking stock of the year, in the form of a cold listing of performances, commissions, and recordings, for the purposes of begging for a wee bit more coin from my performance rights agency of choice.

There it is, facing you in black and white—everything you inadvertently accomplished while most likely trying to do something completely else. Looking back on a year like that … in a way it’s quite like tax season (Oh I remember that gig … I made how much?)—but it’s even more similar to the annual Newman Newsletter, a periodical painstakingly edited by my mother. The production of NN requires a forced resume of annual achievements deemed worthy of kvelling to the neighbors and loved ones from all Newman children (both of blood and marriage) … a miserable exercise if ever there was one, usually resulting in stubborn procrastination, followed by the depression which often accompanies detailed self-assessment.

But on its own merits, as an annual exercise, The ASCAP+ application is cleansing in a way. List what you did this year. Who loves ya, Baby? Stare at the sheet and find out. Then move on and start dealing with the (near) future, because same time next year you’ll be doing it again. The trick is to convince yourself that if you work hard enough, maybe next year’s list will look better to you.

I won’t sucker myself into complaining, though. This year’s application looks good. Certainly better than ever before. A healthy amount of performances (amplified nicely by the consortium’s multiple premieres) and recordings, and one surprise project I never anticipated, but am thrilled I did. There are still the gaps, of course … the projects I’ve been eager to tackle for years and for whatever reasons (or not) haven’t yet. I invite Sleep tonight only by convincing myself that those will make next year’s application. Who knew that this modestly-peripheral funding program could be such an annual motivator? … ASCAP+: The Great Kick-in-the-Butt.

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