Time Travelling with Chopin

This morning, I am sitting at my desk trying to clear out my email file. As usual, I have WETA on the radio. Chopin’s Scherzo #4 in E Major is playing, and I am transported back to Boston in 1979.

Although I was a student at Northeastern University, I lived closer to Boston University and used their library almost every weekend. It was quiet and there was a large selection of geology journals and reference texts to use. In the process of finding a good place to settle in and write papers or memorize paleontological species, I stumbled upon the best place for deep thinking, ever.

BU’s library had heavy wooden desks and tall windows overlooking Commonwealth Avenue through which the sunlight streamed, making it a delightful place on a cold winter day. The desks had headphone jacks embedded in them because BU also had a large selection of vinyl LP records (that I even have to qualify the type of media makes me laugh) to listen to while there. One could browse the records, hand them to the student DJ, and hear them through the headphones plugged into the desk. My study atmosphere was complete.

Being a former music major, I was delighted to discover plenty of favorite music there, but I also discovered composers that were new to me. The music of Ravel, Debussy, Satie, and others, all part of the Impressionist Movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s, was as emotion-evoking as the paintings of Monet and Cassat. Their pieces instilled a deep yearning for home and sense of nostalgia in me, but none more than Chabrier’s “Pièces Pittoresques.”  I was perplexed that I enjoyed them because they were not the orderly pieces of Mozart or the Rose’s Etudes that I’d played as a teenager.

Almost every weekend I checked out the same album to start my afternoon of studying, and it started off with Chopin’s Etude #4 in E Major. Whenever I hear it on the radio now, one of two things always seem to happen: I am transported back to those simpler days of studying at the library before computers and cell phones, and I am called to attention to get back to the tasks at hand and quit procrastinating.



Room 801: A Place Where Hope Resides

I’ve been a contract worker for a few years and recently took on some freelance clients, but I have always wanted my own business identity.  I started attending some workshops offered by the Maryland Women’s Business Center and began to feel more empowered. Last week, after chasing my tail a few times, I finally felt possessed of enough energy and motivation to get my writing and editing company off the ground.

I began with establishing a limited liability company, Koozmin Enterprises LLC,  that would cover both my and my husband’s businesses. I drew up a standard operating agreement and filed it away.

Next, I filed Articles of Organization for the LLC with the State of Maryland and obtained an Employer Tax Identification.  Both steps were simple and done completely online.

Then I got a bad case of schpilkes. Having received instant gratification for the preceding steps, I was not willing to sit patiently for approval of my individual business name. So, I jumped in the car and drove to 301 West Preston Street in Baltimore.

Room 801 reminded me a little of the Motor Vehicles Administration office, except it was a bit smaller and the atmosphere was quite different. There was one long counter divided into eight sections, behind which were clerks who worked for the Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Nervous excitement filled the air. People came in, their arms loaded with briefcases and stacks of files. They filled out forms, joked with the clerks, and talked with each other about their businesses while they waited. Yes–people were talking with each other instead of staring sullenly at the floor or fidgeting with their cell phones. No one was complaining, at least on the day I went.

Many were people like me. They had an idea, they’d laid the groundwork for making that idea become a reality, and now they were ready to hit the streets and they were unstoppable. Nothing was going to ruin their day or their future–not politics, not their status in life, not anything, it seemed. They were so filled with hope and the vibe was contagious. I gladly paid my fees and received approval to do business as Catoctin Editorial Services.

The last steps were anticlimactic compared with that day. I filed for a home-based business permit, started building a web site, and ordered business cards. I know there will be many ho-hum days ahead or days when I am glued to my computer in order to make a deadline. However, I am committed to remembering the great energy I discovered in Room 801 whenever I feel mine sagging.