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She/her. Lover of books, road trips, and playing D&D. I also write for Review Geek: www.reviewgeek.com/author/suzannehumphries/
Photo by Huỳnh Đạt from Pexels

It’s about 4 pm and I’m only about an hour and a half into what promises to be another miserable 12-hour closing shift at this stupid pizzeria. The dinnertime traffic hasn’t picked up yet so I’m stuck manning both front- and back-of-house until my night shift cashier comes in. I’m taking orders, bussing tables, answering phones, slicing pizzas, checking inventory and temperatures, helping the line cooks, and trying to protect this house of cards from an inevitable gust of wind.

I’m still dead tired from working the same exact shift yesterday, which wasn’t so bad and went down pretty smoothly…


YouTube button logo behind wet transparent wall
YouTube button logo behind wet transparent wall
Photo by Adam Fejes from Pexels

Believe it or not, there’s more content on YouTube than makeup tutorials, sports highlights, and random rich people doing inexplicably wasteful things with their money. After spending over a decade poking around the many — shall we say, unique — corners of YouTube, I found a few truly excellent channels and series that actually make it worthwhile to be on the site.

The channels that caught my attention (and have managed to hold it all these years) all have one thing in common: they are chaotic neutral. What does that mean, you ask? Chaotic neutral is one of nine character…


Aerial view of winter scene with winding road. Photo by Flo Dahm from Pexels

Every winter afternoon, around 4:30 or whenever it’s just before the golden hour, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos float through my mind. The pretty violins and woodwinds and brass weave their melodies effortlessly and the cold bite of winter reminds me of the memory I have of the first time I heard them 25 or so years ago.

The memory is one set at an after school orchestra rehearsal for some regional honors orchestra program I was in. Mom was running a little late picking me up that day because the school hosting the rehearsal was somewhere on the far edge of…


If someone made me choose between only having tea or coffee for the rest of my life, I could never give up coffee. It doesn’t matter that I prefer to drink a cup of Earl Grey every morning because it’s a gentler wake-up for me. And it doesn’t matter how many times you tell me about the notes of melon and raisin or plum and currant or milk chocolate — I’ll always tell you that tea has more flavors and that I like it better.

But I could never give up coffee.

***

We haven’t been on many dates yet…


Person’s hand holding a brown violin
Person’s hand holding a brown violin
Simon Leonardo/Pexels.com. https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-s-hand-holding-brown-violent-963113/

I wouldn’t be much of a violinist if I didn’t have some good violin pieces to recommend after playing the instrument for nearly two decades. I’ve spent my fair share of time fawning over the most exquisite recordings and the world’s most amazing virtuoso violinists, and trust me, the best violin pieces are the ones you probably haven’t heard of.

You’ve undoubtedly heard Massenet’s Méditation from Thaïs, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and the one of the world’s most annoying pieces of classical music — Boccherini’s Minuet. …


Musician playing piano. Photo by Darius Soodmand on Unsplash
Musician playing piano. Photo by Darius Soodmand on Unsplash
Musician playing piano. Image credit: Darius Soodmand via Unsplash

The glazed-over look that’s always in people’s eyes when I try to talk about classical music with them breaks my heart. The world of classical music has a bad rap for being inaccessible, stuffy, boring, and dominated by white people, and all of that does a great job of preventing people outside that world from ever experiencing what it’s really about at its core: the music.

One of the biggest problems in trying to bridge the gap and get people interested in classical music are the recommendations. It can be daunting to jump into a new world without knowing much…


It is always a pleasure to travel, and especially a pleasure to eat while traveling. Seeing strange sights and engaging with the denizens of a new land always makes for fond memories. But having a plate of something weird and wonderful set in front of you after a day of navigating airports or crowded museums or lengthy walking tours always has a way of setting things right again. …


It was during my third year in the Music Education program at my university that music stopped being fun for me. I realized that, despite playing violin for 13 years and despite having countless amazing opportunities and experiences open up to me because of it, there was no art or inspiration left in my playing.

Elementary Excitement

I started playing violin when I was eight. There was an assembly at school one morning introducing the new orchestra program and every fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grader was invited to join. The lady who would be running the program introduced us to the…

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